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Released: 05/01/05





Iva Bittova



  1. Maliai V Paaizi
  2. Bolis Me, Lasko [ MP3 ]
  3. Ladna Celadna
  4. Ladna Celadna
  5. Hopahop Talita
  6. Zapishej
  7. Elida
  8. Presto
  9. Nejsi


Iva Bittova, the unparalleled Czech violinist/singer/composer, has teamed up with the dynamic Bang on a Can All-Stars for an unforgettable recording.

Her first major US release since her eponymous debut on Nonesuch in 1998, Elida (the name is a brand of soap from the composer's childhood) finds Bittova using the All-Stars as her orchestra. Sweeping piano lines meet full string ensemble settings, while clarinet improvisations meet electric guitar noise. The music is sophisticated, direct, yet also edgy and nostalgic. Elida mixes Eastern European classical music and folk traditions with angular string writing and heart-breaking Czech vocal melodies.

"Her sound is invigorating, urgent, and also soothing; it is a fusion of Old World and new-music sensibilities."
- Alicia Zuckerman, New York Magazine

About the Music:

I once received a book of poetry from a fan in Prague after a concert. The book was written by the Czech poet Vera Chase, whose work tends toward feminism in my opinion. A few years later, I was searching for inspiration for my new music, and I found her poem "Elida." I was inspired by the provocative and somewhat erotic nature of the poem. Also, I feel there is some humor in the lyrics, which I always like.

No one has touched me like you so far
I haven't met that right one yet
With a look and scent that is pure through and through
No one equals your smoothness
Made out of bones and perfume
The purest one

Just you
Oh, so gently you, mine
May touch me

I thought about this person in the poem. Then, surprise! I remembered that my grandmother's favorite soap was called "Elida." Perhaps this poem is not written for a person after all. I have tried without success to contact Vera Chase to ask her if I am right. I think I am. It's fun to wonder.

The piece "Ladna Celadna" is a waltz inspired by trees. "Presto" is a talk show of instruments.

- Iva Bittova


Maliri v Parizi (Painters in Paris)
-words by Richard Műller

Maliri v Parizi za slunecni zare
v Parizi maliri maluji lidske tvare.
Vsechny tvare od oltare i ty hrisne z nas,
chudase i milionare, ktery z nich se kresli snaz?
Maliri v Parizi za slunecni zare
v Parizi maliri maluji lidske tvare.
Jezise na krizi, nebo tvar rytire,
slecinku upiri, chlapka v cerne dire.
Je to az k nevire, kolik je tam tviri,
tvari se jak zvire nekteri lhari.


Painters in Paris in the sunshine
are painting human faces.
All faces with faith
all faces sinful
poor fellows and millionaires
who is easier to paint?
the face of Jesus or the face of a knight?
the devil lady or a man in deep black hole?
It is unbelievable, how many faces there are,
they look like animals, some of them liars.

Bolis me, Lasko (You're hurting me, babe)
-words by Richard Műller

Boli me lasko
z tebe hlava
pali me oci
z tvych pohledu

Huci mi v usich
zleva zprava
kdyz se mi ztracis
z dohledu

Boli me lasko
z tebe nohy
ruce zada i sije
prosim o pomoc
vsechny bohy
tak tezko se mi
s tebou lasko zije

Boli me lasko
z tebe kridla
jsem jak mrtvy ptacek
v kleci
ja te vsak prosim.
Prosim zustan
zit bez tebe lasko


My head hurts
'cause of you babe
My eyes are smarting
'cause of your stares

Roar in my ears
from all sides
when you leave
from my sight

I feel a pain
'cause of you babe
legs, arms, back, neck
I'm asking for aid
all gods with me
it's so hard
to live with you babe

I feel an ache
in my wings
like a dead bird
encaged I can't sing
I beg you to stay
stop going away.
Without you babe
my breath is ceasing.

Samota (Loneliness)
-words by Richard Műller

Na prst si ta namota
jedna mala samota.
Boli, picha, ako taka vcielka
a zrazu je ta samota celkom velka.
Trpim bez t'eba, jak ryba bez vody,
jak maslo bez chleba, dobre sa mi nevodi.
Trpim bez t'eba, jak pluca bez vzduchu,
ako ftak bez neba, mam cudnu predtuchu.


Around my finger loneliness
is bound.
it hurts and stings like a bee,
suddenly loneliness is so big.
I suffer without you.
Like a fish without water,
like butter without bread
I don't feel so well.
I suffer without you,
like lungs without air,
like a bird without sky,
I feel a strange presentiment.

Zapiskej (Whistle)
-words by Vladimir V?clavek

me kosti
me kosti jsou fletnou
Polib mne
ma usta chutnaji
po hline
Pohlad je
ma kuze napnuta
na buben
Zabouchej a Zazpivej
Nelze vejit s prachem na strevicich ani odejit.


Look at me
my bones are like a flute
Kiss me
my lips taste good
like the earth.
Stroke me
my skin is tight,
like the skin on a drum
Beat and sing!
It is not possible to step inside
with dust on your shoes,
it is not possible to step outside
with dust on your shoes.

-words by Vera Chase

Tak se me dosud nikdo nedotknul
nepotkala jsem toho praveho
skrz naskrz cisteho zjevem i vuni
co by se hladkosti vyrovnal tobe
-z kosti
a parfemu -
tomu nejcistsimu

Jedine ty
- ach tak jemne ty moje -
se smis me dotknout


No one has touched me like you so far
I haven?t met that right one yet
with a look and scent that is pure through and through
no one equals your smoothness
- made out of bones
and perfume -
the purest one

Just you
oh, so gently you, mine
may touch me

Iva Bittova on Herself:

I come from a musical family. My father, Koloman Bitto, came from southern Slovakia and was a truly versatile musician: his principal Instruments were double - bass, trumpet, guitar and dulcimer, He played folk music of the time, but he also spent several seasons as double-bass player with the Zdenek Nejedly Theatre opera company. My mother, Ludmila Bittova, nee Masarova, a native of Moravian Slovakia, is a teacher. However, she has spent all her life singing in stage choruses and other vocal ensembles. l am the second of my parents' three daughters. l was born in the town of Bruntal, in northern Moravia, on 22 July, 1958, As my father changed jobs quite a few times, we kept moving from one place to another. We even moved to Slovakia, then back again... Anyway, we mostly lived in Moravia. After a considerable period in the city of Opava, we eventually settled in Brno, where I completed my studies at the drama college and for over ten years (from my first year at college) l worked as an actress in the avant-garde theatre company Husa na provazku.

This year is my seventh in the heart of the country: l now live in the village of Lelekovice near Brno, in a small house with a garden, close to a wood, with my two sons, Matous (1982) and Ton?k (1991). When l was a child, our whole family lived for music. l took ballet lessons, sang, played the violin, and acted children's parts on stage. After we moved to Brno, l put the violin aside and devoted myself wholly to drama studies. l had the chance to appear in several feature films - The Island of Silver Herons, Rosy Dreams, Outlaw Ballad, The Diary of One Who Disappeared - as well as in various television and Brno Radio productions. l acquired my formal and practical vocal training while a student at the drama college and was given basic Information about voice and singing techniques. Having spent some time working as an actress, l began to feel a renewed inner urge to express myself through music. l found a violin teacher. His name was Rudolf St'astny. By then my father had become seriously ill. He died three years later and, in many respects, professor St'astny became a second father to me. l have continued violin lessons to this day, with special focus on the classical literature written for this instrument, which is so abundant that it could easily serve me until the end of my life.

Apart from playing the violin, l also sing, creating my own music and earning my living as a professional musician, giving concerts at horne, in Bohemia and Moravia, and worldwide. The violin is one of the finest musical Instruments. It shapes and transforms me, awakens my feelings and emotions, it fulfils me in the aesthetic sense of the word, and illustrates the highest values in my attitudes to music, to other people, and to myself. That is why l love the violin - and to love means to live!

For more information on the composer and performers please visit the artist pages for Bang on a Can and Iva Bittova .