Waldemar Matuška

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Waldemar Matuška (Czech pronunciation: [ˈvaldɛmar ˈmatuʃka]; July 2, 1932 - May 30, 2009) was a Czechoslovak singer who became popular in his homeland during the 1960s and 1970s. In 1986, he emigrated to the United States.

Early career[edit]

Waldemar Matuška was born in Košice, then Czechoslovakia (now Slovakia), and spent his whole childhood in Prague. His mother was a singer in the Vienna operetta theatres. He worked as a glassmaker and performed on various musical instruments with many different bands. In 1960 he recorded his first song Suvenýr (Souvenir). Later he became an actor in the theatre Semafor. On the stage he performed with Karel Štědrý, Jiří Suchý and, starting in 1961, with Eva Pilarová. He won the Zlatý slavík ("Golden Nightingale") music poll twice, in 1962 and 1967, and placed second several times.

As his popularity grew he started acting in movies and writing songs for movies. Waldemar and Eva Pilarová left Semafor and joined the ensemble of the theatre Rokoko. But Pilarová soon returned to Semafor, and Matuška began singing with Helena Vondráčková, Marta Kubišová, Jitka Zelenková and others. He participated in other projects besides the theatre, mainly duets with Hana Hegerová and Karel Gott.

Emigration[edit]

In 1976 he married singer Olga Blechová. His popularity at home was high, and he also gave concerts abroad. In 1986 he left Czechoslovakia and settled with his wife in Saint Petersburg, Florida, United States. Meanwhile, in Czechoslovakia, the Communist party banned all his songs, destroyed recordings of Jsem svým pánem ('I'm My Own Master'), deleted his opening song in the popular television series Chalupáři (just the melody remained) and changed the title of the series Rozpaky kuchaře Svatopluka ('Doubts of cook Svatopluk'). Matuška continued to perform in the United States, mostly for emigrants from Czechoslovakia.

Velvet revolution[edit]

After the 1989 Velvet revolution in Czechoslovakia, his songs were returned to their proper place in the television series. He lived in Florida, at times performing in the Czech Republic.

Death[edit]

He died in Florida on May 30, 2009, of pneumonia and heart failure, aged 76. Asthma may have contributed to his death.[1]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ "Czech pop singer Waldemar Matuska dies in Florida". Czech News Agency. 30 May 2009. Archived from the original on 21 June 2009. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Ota Ulč. Political Participation in Czechoslovakia. The Journal of Politics, Vol. 33, No. 2 (May, 1971), pp. 422–447.

External links[edit]