Copyright ©2011 NPR. For personal, noncommercial use only. See Terms of Use. For other uses, prior permission required.

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

On this program we regularly get stories from NPR correspondent Don Gonyea about politics, but sometimes Don finds something a little different for us,like this story about a touring Bluegrass band from the Czech Republic in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

DON GONYEA, BYLINE: Sometimes in this job you just stumble into something pretty cool. That's how I know a band called Druha Trava.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

DRUHA TRAVA: (Sung in foreign language)

GONYEA: This recording is from my first time hearing them. It was April, 2009. I was covering President Obama's trip to the Europe. There was a big outdoor speech in Prague. And there was this band playing Czech versions of Dylan songs.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

TRAVA: (Sung in foreign language)

GONYEA: I did a short postcard story back then, figuring it was the kind of experience that every music fan knows. You stumble upon a great band playing live somewhere and never see them again.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

TRAVA: So now it's the fall of 2011 and I'm chasing candidates around Iowa, and who should be doing a show at the Czech and Slovak Hall in Cedar Rapids.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "CRYING HOLY UNTO THE LORD")

TRAVA: (Singing) Crying home to the lord, crying home unto the lord. Oh, if I could I surely would stand on the rock where Moses stood.

GONYEA: This time there was time to say hello.

ROBERT KRESTAN: I am Robert Krestan, Robert Krestan in our language and I am a singer and a mandolin player.

GONYEA: Others play guitar, bass, dobro and banjo. Inspiration comes directly from Bill Monroe and other American bluegrass greats. But Krestan says they don't just mimic the sound.

KRESTAN: I don't just do American music. I write my own songs. I write my own songs since I was 12 years old. So, it's kind of natural for me and it's natural for me to combine American influences and my Czech roots.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "SHUTTLE TO BETHLEMEN")

TRAVA: (Singing) I hear nothing, just a barking and a seagull's cry. Bells are ringing, friars humming, and the crows whiz by.

GONYEA: On this tour, Druha Trava is promoting its first ever English language CD. This song is called "Shuttle to Bethlehem." But there are also old favorites, including the Rolling Stones.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "JUMPIN JACK FLASH")

TRAVA: (Singing) I was born in a cross-fire hurricane. And I howled at my ma in the driving rain. But it's all right now, it's all right now.

GONYEA: Druha Trava, on the road in the U.S. They play tonight in Wichita, Kansas tonight. Don Gonyea, NPR News.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "JUMPIN JACK FLASH")

ROLLING STONES: (Singing) I was born in cross-fire hurricane....

WERTHEIMER: You're listening to NPR News.

Copyright © 2011 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.