Poetické společenstvo (Poetic Fellowship)

Poetické společenstvo

This story has started long time ago, and its outset is shrouded by a mists of oblivion. I would like to ask every reader in advance, to turn a blind eye on this story, and -those personally involved- to be tolerant to my sentiment and mistakes.

It is impossible to fully understand the story of Poetic Fellowship without mentioning the Nový Hrad <New Castle - a small castle at Moravia, first mentioned in 14th century> and other consequences. To be honest, my view is certainly biased by emotional pledge to the place where I spent one of the most beautiful parts of my life.

It all began in a year 1992, when I was studying 2nd grade of secondary modern school. My classmate (or better say, neighbor) was reading a book, during education breaks. He lend the book later to me, I guess the name was Three (Two?) Towers or something along these lines. I got interested, but cannot say that I was absorbed, really no. But in the same year, Dungeons & Dragons type RPG by Altair Publishing was released on Czech market - and it has been a different story. Sooner or later, groups of a people wanting to live for a moment in different world started to form by centripetal forces. In the end, I started to play the Role Playing Games in city of my birth, Kutná Hora.

Soon, in August (1992), a Prague-based Society of RPG Games named Hexaedr has organized an "open air" D&D game. I do not remember the event name, but I hope everyone understands what it has been about. In these days,  there is a bunch of similar events happening every year,  falling under "LARP" category, but in those days, it has been a first-of-its-kind event. Nobody knew how to organize such a big event - Michal Bronec will probably agree, if he will read this. As far as I recall, the event was announced in local magazine Golden Dragon, I guess.

As the place for event, the (almost) ruins of Nový Hrad - a medieval castle between Adamov and Blansko, north of Brno were selected. Ownership of these ruins was (during well known twists after the November 1989) moved from Agricultural University to 21st Organization of Czech Union of Protectors of Nature <sorry for tongue-twisting translation, definitely it is not Green Party>. This organization (9 persons in total) decided to start renewing this castle again, from ruins. No one can imagine such a operation without backing up by rich uncle, today. But OK, in those strange times, everything was possible. Worth to add, leader of that 21st group at the time was a man named Robert Kraft, nicknamed Bob - and this sounds terrible yet, to many. But he was not stupid, and had a big charisma. In times of forementioned D&D event, it was possible to see that somebody is working on castle ruins. But what really amazed me (as the urban guy), was the fact that so many youngsters were visiting the place, working for no money and enjoying the hardwork together! But let the story continue.

Hexaedr's D&D event ended in absolute fiasco, in last moments before start it has been recalled, due to dispute among the organizers and already named Mr. Kraft. There is no space for explanation in this story. What the unexpected result was, some of those who arrived for the Hexaedr's D&D event had stayed up there, until end of vacation period. Still I can name some of them, till now: Čírí, Lasík, Katka, Radek, Pavel, Jirka, Jirka.

Then things become less clear. Among others who stayed on Nový Hrad was also small group of girls, which formed Indian tribe then, and there was a girl who was (as I have learnt later) not so much belonging to this tiny group. While sitting around the campfire in the evening, this group of girls sang by their beautiful voices songs, which will remain, I believe, in my memory until end of my days. These songs, as far as I recall, had names like Song for New Castle (although at the time, song was either unnamed or named somehow differently, do not know), Minas Tirith, Middle-earth (I), Moria and Snow-White. Fatal combination of a hot evening beside a campfire, beauty and fantastic impression coming out of these song made the fire flaring for next years suddenly awaken.

The lead singer of these songs was Katka. I got her home address and as soon as I arrived home, I was up on my way to give her a visit. It took me a long time to find small concrete house, located in one of Prague suburbs. First visit ended with me borrowing a songbook from her; songbook written by ink, in a lovely handwriting.

So the things started to be, and story continues. I bought remaining two volumes of Lord of the Rings (1st Czech edition, bit rare now), visited one of first conventions of SPDJRRT (Czech Tolkien Society), arranged at Brno city, started to visit and to work every 2nd weekend on Nový Hrad... I became totally into the world of imagination. I think that everybody, who has been truly enchanted by Tolkien books, remembers the splendid flight of eagles over the Misty Mountains, and heart clutching as the story comes to the tombs of Sammath Naur. Dungeons & Dragons gaming was forgiven, simply unable to fulfill my needs imagination - unable for me to create an illusion of a real world, where the elves are leaving Middle-Earth one by one, filled with bitterness. I dreamt a dreams of Middle-earth, awaking in middle of night, recording the lyrics coming from my mind onto paper pieces.

The strange thing was, I was not playing any music instrument. But one of my friends at the time (then, I brought him to the Nový Hrad, he met one girl there, got married and was not my friend anymore) was playing classic guitar, although not very well. So, I started to give a visits to him and learn how to play guitar. Nothing special, but good as a start-up. We tried to perform Katka songs and I will regret this until the end of my days, as this friend was performing them then, on every occasion without improving interpretation significantly. As my parents loved me, and saw that there is something in it, I got my own guitar for Christmas. Today, I would not be brave enough to venture it, but in those days, the guitar was cheap. And because I never drunk a beer from that guitar, it stays with me till now. To be shorter, beginning Christmas 1992 I started to commute to Nový Hrad, visiting Katka, making her desperate by my figments, playing her songs on college, commuting to Nový Hrad with guitar, visiting Katka, making her desperate by my figments, playing her songs on college, composing my own... and so on and so on. As a marginal note, Katka herself has been to Nový Hrad three times since 92, I guess.

Following two years, 1993 - 95, are hard to describe, as there was nothing so important, maybe with an exception of singing on a stairs that do lead to Jan Hus memorial, at Staroměstské náměstí (Old Town Square in Prague) on the occasion of well remembered Czech Tolkien Society party that took place at Troja college. Meanwhile, at Nový Hrad the 'core' group of people has stabilised, I mean those commuting there really every 2nd weekend, entire year, for a week in a summer, once a month in a winter. If you do meet same people in such extreme conditions for few years (there was no surprise to have sudden 'outdoor quest game' in a night, in any season), you will get used to them, and become like siblings. Frequently, there was evening session of guitar playing and singing (of course songs that fit the evening campfire, like ... and ... .... <useless to translate, local Czech songs>), and when asked to, I was playing the songs I knew - Katka's and mine. I have thought I am more than others, if I know more that the others do. Somehow Jitka appeared from time to time on Nový Hrad, playing guitar as well, and her songs Celup from Ukaňhab , Tark song captured our attention... More and more people were joining, playing flute very well, like Jitka, Radka, or guitar, like Dároš (only men whose guitar skills were comparable with Katka). Simply put, non-violently and above all, the group of people willing to and able to improvise, to try new variants on old theme (four-part voices were favorite in those times) and actually to enjoy the music and the Tolkien-inspired lyrics has slowly been formed.

There was an intermezzo meanwhile, about music band foundation - I am afraid, that my feverish visions of Klíč or Asonance <a Czech medieval-style bands> alike band, with foolish name Blue Rose, were unable to survive the time.

Retrospectively, it is important that whenever that specific group of people met, only Tolkien-inspired songs were played and sung, with rare exceptions. For sure, several non-Tolkien related songs do exist (for example, lovely Dároš arrangement of Tlachapoud <character from Lewis Carrol's Alice in Wonderland>); but if I recall well, such a songs were not very popular, ever.

Slowly but surely we came to realize that having meetins at very remote Moravian place is not very flexible, and in addition, as stated above, Katka was not visiting Nový Hrad anymore. Thus, we got an idea to meet somewhere else. There were some such a meetings before - at various cottages, at cellar that belongs to Honza Vorlíček's house, at my flat etc. Some of these moments were the best - we started to preserve our figments for future times, in the end many compact cassette were created. Actually, many cassettes over that time, and they do circulate around the world in x-th copy. In time of writing this article, I was surprised by learning there is a guy, who is having VIRTUALLY ALL those cassettes, including recordings of concerts - and I can not say the same about myself! Note, that none of these cassettes was of any good quality, this was often causing disputes.

Well, also Katka Garcia joined because Poetic Fellowship has caught her attention during Bilbo Birthday Party on romantic Ketkovák castle. I would like to express here my tribute to her, for a beautiful songs.

End came silently. At least in my case, my employment got to cut my free time short, so I have had less and less chances to see the others. Some did start to study on an universities, quite intensively. There was practically no time left to visit Nový Hrad community, new people started to replace our 'generation' and were creating their own groups of interest. Dároš was lost for years, and nobody heard of him. Few from Moravia has arrived to a meeting arranged in far, far Bohemia. Less and less new songs was created. No, it is not right to say that Poetic Fellowship was broken - if it was never formally created, how it can break? This circle of friends connected together by love of music has simply vanished into the morning air, similarly to as classmates do, once the school year comes to the end. Anyway, since 2001 I do not know about any contacts among the "members", at least contacts related to music.

And like Spanish say, es todo. Or not?

Lindatirion  - written early 2003



Web of the band


Authors and members

21 Jitka Žídková

2 Kateřina Schwarzerová

14 Katka García

1 Petr Bohdan