From Eastern Bloc with love. Bringing western music from the Eastern European countries during the 1970s and 1980s, Jiří Andrs, 2. – 3. 6. 2016

Popular Music in Eastern Europe, University of Debrecen

It is a common notion that the illegal music markets were a dominant channel for the importing to and distributing in Czechoslovakia of unofficial gramophone records in the seventies and eighties. But the spectrum of methods of importing musical records was in fact very wide. One of the important channels within this phenomenon was the import of the western-made music from other socialist states, especially from Poland, Hungary and Yugoslavia.  In many of those countries licensed versions of western LPs were released much more often than in CSSR. Compared to original western LPs it was easier for Czechoslovakian citizens to obtain them—because of better possibilities of travelling to socialist countries and also because of the relatively low prices of eastern LPs. This part of the unofficial import was mainly performed privately and it is almost impossible to research detailed information on it from the archives. I, therefore, worked through oral history and recorded some remarkable testimonies. (The presentation will also include selected examples of eastern-made LPs.) Through this perspective it is possible to show differences within the eastern bloc’s cultural policy that might be otherwise observed as a monolith.

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