Miners' Stories

A miner with a banjo and a guitar

A miner with a banjo and a guitar

When he was thirteen, he was asked by Plavci, Zelenáči and other country and folk bands to play with them. Radislav Jelínek, just like many other boys of his age, bought a Spanish guitar, the book “How to play guitar – fast and easy” and started to bang out his first melodies. Contrary to the others, however, he discovered in himself not only a talent, but also the will to continue working hard and to improve.

In order to translate his dream into reality he played with a number of bands and formations, the names of which he can no more remember. In the end he formed his own band three years ago. It is called Countrybazar and aims to become a band playing music at dance parties,
which people can listen to or dance to and sing. With the band he tours the country, performing at country balls, dances, feasts, celebrations, simply wherever they are invited to play. They perform the greatest hits by Plavci, Zelenáči, Michal Tučný, Věra Martinová, Pavel Bobek, Waldemar Matuška and others, on and off they also play folk or pop music. Their repertoire also comprises their own compositions. Nonetheless, the band prefers to play the classical Czech country music which is a heart thing for Jelínek and the other members of the band.

An interesting aspect of the story of Radislav Jelínek, a fifty-three year old head of the drilling and degassing section of the North plant of the ČSM Mine is the fact that his music life has always been associated with mining, or rather with his pals – miners. And this has been true  ever since the very beginning. At the age of fifteen, the boy from Šumperk was lured to attend the mining secondary vocational school of the then Dukla Mine in Havířov-Šumbark, namely the then experimental four-year vocational training programme with the Maturita exam
for mine electricians. He was attracted by the possibility to learn a trade and at the same time to have the door open to university studies. He exploited this opportunity and graduated from the Faculty of Mining and Geology of VŠB-TU in Ostrava.

“As concerns my music-related activities, it was important for me that at the dormitory of the vocational school I met a few boys, who were country music fans just like me. Together we set up the first country band and started to camp out. In the traditional way, with a guitar, around a campfire, where I for the very first time encountered real music. Later on, with two schoolmates from the vocational school, we proceeded to the university and created another band, with which in 1988 we made it to the national finals of the Porta contest in Pilsen. At that time, one of the band members was also Petr Horák, the former chief engineer of the ČSM Mine, the current head of the production engineering department,“ recollects Jelínek.

His music ambitions were slowed down by his taking care of the family and three children and a several years long trip into the world of music and music carriers business, which was destroyed by the development of Internet, offering basically all music production for free. The
experienced miner therefore came back to the mine, where he once again met his friends which whom he resumed playing. He experimented with several formations before eventually, with couple of musicians, he formed the Countrybazar band.

“The life of a musician is a challenge. You have to be surrounded by people who are willing to develop and to also set to playing compositions which years ago they considered beyond their abilities. Moreover, if a band is to function properly, it must be a good team, which holds true for a mine as well. We are pretty lucky at Countrybazar because we are a group of people who have always something to talk about and enjoy each other's company. And this, apart from my love for music, constitutes another reason why I continue to play music. I am surrounded by people whom I like to meet,“ says Radislav Jelínek.

If you wish to listen to Countrybazar, just pop in the Pod zvonkem pub in Žukov near Český Těšín on November 26 and attend the traditional country ball. You can also invite the band to play at your place. All the necessary information is available on the website of this band -www.countrybazar.cz. “Do not think we do it for money since all we earn we invest in the equipment, not to speak of the fortune we have spent in order to release a promotional CD,“ concludes Jelínek, aka Eman.


Bohuslav Krzyžanek

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