Bob Dylan, Obama And A Moment In Prague

Sometimes on a Presidential trip, there are little moments that stand out that don't make the news of the day. NPR's Don Gonyea was traveling with the president for Obama's first overseas trip — when he encountered a band in Prague that sounded oddly familiar.

Copyright © 2009 NPR. For personal, noncommercial use only. See Terms of Use. For other uses, prior permission required.

LINDA WERTHEIMER, host:

President Barack Obama recently concluded his first trip overseas with stops across Europe and into Iraq on the way home. This week he takes another trip. He'll go to Mexico and then attend a summit in Trinidad. Sometimes on a presidential trip, there are little moments that stand out that don't make the news of the day.

NPR's Don Gonyea found one this past last week in Prague.

DON GONYEA: The president's speech was still more than an hour away. Some 20,000 people packed the beautiful square near Prague Castle. I first heard the sound as I carried my gear to the media viewing area.

(Soundbite of music)

GONYEA: This was classic American music, country music, played by five guys who could've stepped right out of Austin, Texas, that is, until they started to sing.

(Soundbite of song, "Girl from the North County")

Mr. ROBERT KRESTAN (Druha Trava Band): (Singing in foreign language)

GONYEA: I had no idea who they were, but they were really good. Then I realized I knew the song. The opening act for President Obama in the Czech Republic was singing Bob Dylan.

(Soundbite of song, "Girl from the North County")

Mr. BOB DYLAN (Musician): (Singing) If you're travelin' in the north country fair, where the winds hit heavy on the borderline.

(Soundbite of song, "Girl from the North County")

Mr. KRESTAN: (Singing in foreign language)

GONYEA: Next up, more Dylan. This one more obscure though - a song called "Senor (Tales of Yankee Power)."

(Soundbite of song, "Senor (Tales of Yankee Power)")

Mr. KRESTAN: (Singing in foreign language)

GONYEA: A confession here: I've probably spent a lot more time listening to Bob Dylan than your average well-adjusted human being, so I find myself singing along in my head in English. Then we get to the line that goes, do you know where we are heading, Lincoln County Road or Armageddon? Now, at this point, the president hasn't arrived yet, but he hopes to offer an answer to the song's question. His speech is about nuclear non-proliferation.

(Soundbite of song, "Senor (Tales of Yankee Power)")

Mr. KRESTAN: (Singing in foreign language)

GONYEA: The president's speech was well-received, but this day offered a reminder of the other ways we connect with the world. Sometimes it's about music and a country band from the Czech Republic.

Don Gonyea, NPR News, back home from Prague.

(Soundbite of song, "Senor (Tales of Yankee Power)")

Mr. KRESTAN: (Singing in foreign language)

Copyright © 2009 NPR. All rights reserved. No quotes from the materials contained herein may be used in any media without attribution to NPR. This transcript is provided for personal, noncommercial use only, pursuant to our Terms of Use. Any other use requires NPR's prior permission. Visit our permissions page for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR's programming is the audio.

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.