August 27, 2014

Nice Verdes - playing at Alchemy 1 September 2014

Nice Verdes are Sally and Jesse, who have been performing together since first meeting at a peace march in Vancouver in 2003. Nice Verdes have toured and performed over the years, continually honing their craft relentlessly. They have toured the east and west coasts of Australia, Canada, New Zealand and Guatemala; and this is their first European tour. 

The music of Nice Verdes is uplifting, sunny and takes a fresh approach to original world folk music, with inspiration from Cuba, Colombia, Africa, Europe and Latin America. Nice Verdes plays combinations of Cuban tres (a three-stringed guitar), accordion, ukelele, and guitar, accompanied by vocals.

They have always been drawn to collaborating with artists from all countries, and they enjoy most of all the parties and festivals that celebrate a strong sense of community and equality in diversity.

May 24, 2014

Aleš Macháček and Jane Kirwan

Tuesday 3 June at 7.30pm

Aleš Macháček was born in Prague and after university worked as an engineer. In 1977 he was sentenced to three years in prison for helping distribute books and periodicals banned by the regime in Czechoslovakia, in 1985 he was bullied into exile in London as part of a secret police campaign to get rid of troublesome dissidents. He was given a Gratias Agit in recognition of his activities in 2001 by the Czech foreign ministry and first published in a collection of texts by political prisoners in 2002 Bytem v Hruze.

Jane Kirwan’s poems have appeared in magazines and anthologies, and her poetry collections Stealing the Eiffel Tower (1997), The Man Who Sold Mirrors (2003) and Second Exile (poems with prose by Ales Machacek (2010) were published by Rockingham. Born in the NHS, co-authored with Wendy French, came out from Hippocrates Press in 2013. She won an Arts Council Writers’ Award in 2002, has been commended and given prizes in many competitions and read at poetry festivals in the UK and abroad.
The two met in London in 1989 and Second Exile was put together when Ales decided to give his version of those of Jane’s poems that had started from his stories.

May 5, 2014

Julian Stannard and Leah Abramson

2013’s May feature Julian Stannard (UK) is back in Prague with new poems, thoughts, and words – Julian will open the show with a 15-minute reading.

Following Julian will be Leah Abramson of The Abramson Singers (CAN). Leah hails from Vancouver and released her first solo album, Bedroom/City, in 2006. The band’s latest album, Late Riser, was released 14 May 2013. Produced by Colin Stewart (Dan Mangan, Brasstronaut), this album finds the Singers with lush band arrangements, relatively upbeat tempos, retro organs and catchy melodies. Begun at the Banff Centre Indie Band Residency with Howard Bilerman (Arcade Fire), Tony Berg (Jakob Dylan) and Shawn Everett (Weezer), Late Riser explores new pop and indie rock sensibilities, but not without a firm grounding in folk songwriting.

Thematically Late Riser is a continuation on the subject matter of their previous self-titled album (2010), with songs of longing, loss and heartbreak alongside historically inspired songs about the Métis rebel Louis Riel (the French-English hybrid, “Marguerite”, and beautifully somber “Red River Valley”).

The event starts at 7.30 - see you there!

April 7, 2014

Tom Draper

Tom Draper has been writing poetry since the age of five. He has won poetry prizes both in the United Kingdom and abroad. He is considered to be influenced by the Prague School of poetry. His hallmark is the postmodern use of established quotes and styles, in original work. He currently divides his time between London and Prague.

Praise for 'Traveller in an Asphalt Land': 'Sometimes shocking, often beautiful and always thought-provoking, this cornucopia of poetry has an honesty and freshness that is both exhilarating and unnerving in its audacity'.

 Tom will be performing at 7.30pm - see you there!

February 28, 2014

Jan Kotouč

An award-winning Czech writer, Jan published six sci-fi novels in Czech and has contributed to numerous anthologies. In 2011, Jan’s novel Tristanská občanská válka (Tristan Civil War) won the Aeronatilus Award for novel of the year. In 2012, he was awarded the Encouragement Award from the European Sci-Fi and Fantasy Association.

Recently Jan has stepped into the English market with his novella-in-translation Command Decision, available on Amazon. His first novel is currently being translated.

His author website (in Czech) is available at

Come to Napa Bar on Monday, March 3,  2014 at 7:30 pm

February 3, 2014

Shaan Joshi

This month, we were delighted to welcome Shaan Joshi, a resident of Prague and editor-in-chief of The Prague Revue. A graduate of Indiana University, Shaan formerly served as education coordinator for Ecole Shalom school in Haiti before coming to the Czech Republic. In 2012 he helped to re-launch The Prague Revue, a literary journal originally founded in 1995 but dormant since 2008. The huge success of the online version of the Revue, with its associated stream of bold, contentious and often provocative writing, led to a decision to return to print in 2014.  Shaan read from his own work in progress as well as two pieces previously printed in the TPR stream.

January 6, 2014

Ken Nash

To kick off 2014, Alchemy was delighted to feature Founding Father Ken Nash as our first performer. Ken played selected tracks from his new album, released November 2013, Human Creatures.

Following the sell-out success of his earlier disc, Magic Squirrels, Human Creatures showcases Ken's inimitable 'anti-folk' style. 'If squirrels is Nash's Sergeant Pepper,' one critic has written, 'then Creatures is his Abbey Road.'

A sample playlist of this album is available here

December 2, 2013

Buenos Aires, Final Destination!

This month's Alchemy featured extracts from a fantastic new production called "Buenos Aires, Final Destination!", currently playing to packed houses in Vinohrady. The play captures the life stories of people who emigrated to Argentina during the years 1900 - 1946. Using short stories, it attempts to show what was felt and experienced by Europeans in the 1st half of the 20th century.

What compelled them to emigrate? Was it the economic situation during crises and world wars, overthrowing of political regimes, persecution, lost love or only their desire for change and better life in their dream country?

These stories are about a strong and courageous group of people who were able to change their lives overnight, leave everything and undergo a long journey on a ship with an uncertain end. These people gave foundations to what is called today the Argentine tango.

The actors playing in this drama are advanced dancers and teachers of Prague's Buenos Aires Tango school.

See more about the play at

The Facebook event page for this Alchemy special is Please give us likes and share with friends :-)

November 4, 2013

Alexander Jorgensen

Alexander Jorgensen is a writer, visual artist, instructor, and adventurer. His writing and visual poems have appeared in such publications as Diagram, e-ratio, Big Bridge, VLAK, Drunken Boat, Noon: Journal of the Short Poem, Shampoo, Otoliths, and others.

Additionally, selections of his work appear in The Return of Kral Majales: Prague's International Literary Renaissance 1990-2010 and The Last Vispo Anthology: 1998-2008. "Letters to a Younger Poet," correspondences with the late Robert Creeley, appears in Jacket #31. He is currently completing a text-based installation for the 2014 Text Festival in Bury, UK.

October 7, 2013

Vinnie James

Vinnie James is hailed by music critics as one of today's most insightful singer-songwriters, having already received widespread critical acclaim for his groundbreaking soul-folk debut, "All American Boy (RCA/BMG),” as well as slots on major world tours, with artists such as Sade, Tina Turner, STYX, Carole King, Bonnie Raitt, and many others.

A soloist in his father’s Baptist church choir at the age of 8, and nurtured on songs such as: “Oh Happy Day,” “Jesus, Lover Of My Soul,” and “Let Us Go Into the House of the Lord,” Vinnie (the "son of a preacher man") developed an earthy, raw, dusky vocal style, and a vocal delivery that is often reminiscent of his father's raw pulpit preaching style.

Mike Bohem, music journalist for the L.A. Times, describes Vinnie James’ voice as: "a husky, soul-tinged voice..." that, "...bristles with vigor, alarm and a prophet's conviction..." And in another L.A. Times article, Bohem describes Vinnie James as being: "Full of fire and in your face passion."

Described as "a master wordsmith," by Maxine Jewett, President of the Southwest Acoustic Music Association, Vinnie James pens songs that take you from deeply moving, folk ballads, to powerfully raw, full-blown foot stompers, cradled in the soulful groove of drums, bass, church organs, and gospel choir backing vocals, all laced with Vinnie's soulful vocals and his signature "acoustic jackhammer" style of guitar playing.