In only six years, Gothart evolved from a historical music ensemble focusing on the Czech Gothic period to a hot East-European folk party band. Its main features are the technical prowess of the musicians, their use of medieval instruments, and the fact that all six of them sing, allowing for stunning harmonies.
Gothart was founded in 1993 by five friends sharing a love for all things medieval: Petr Kolácek (wind and reed instruments), Jan Klima (guitar instruments), Veronika Neundorf (fiddle), Helena Lehká (fiddle), and Ivana Vanková (percussion). Their first objective was to restore the Czech Republic's musical heritage.
Soon the group expanded its horizons, first through medieval Spain, and then the German minnesingers and the French troubadours. Their first two CDs, Por Nos de Dulta (1996) and Stella Splendens, focused on songs from the Spanish repertoire, mainly the collections Cantigas de Santa Maria and Llibre Vermell (the Crimson Book). That bought them an instant ticket for the European medieval festival circuit. The group's meticulous approach and superior artistry garnered much interest in this circle.
Between 1998 and 1999, Gothart went through a fundamental change. The group's interests expanded to the music of the Sephardic Jews, gypsy songs, and Balkan dances. Recruiting bassist Karel Zich to anchor its grooves, it recorded Adio Querida (1999), a fabulous transitional album in which the female vocal trios of Sephardic laments met a newly found energy and desire to communicate the joy of playing. All of a sudden the group was as fit for serious music halls as for nightclubs. With the new album being released on the important alternative Czech label Black Point, Gothart reached new audiences. For Cabaret (2001), influences from Greece and Romania were added. By then, the medieval side of the band's activities had been all but dropped to concentrate on fast-paced party numbers. ~ François Couture