artery: noun. 1 any of the tubes carrying blood away from the heart to all parts of the body. 2 an important transport route. 3 the freshest sounding trio to hit Prague in quite some time.
Who are they and where do they hail from? What important transport route brought them here to Absurdistan? Recently I caught up with the three of them at Marquis de Sade and had a couple of beers. Artery is Yanko, Chiko and Hubbi, and they've been together in the current line-up for the past one and a half years, coming here from different cities in Bulgaria, hoping to escape the bad scene there.
"It's very bad now, the situation with politics, with the police and everything. Everything is very bad. We are dreaming of the old west and America you know, so we leave. " laughs Yanko.
"We want to go to Holland someday [they have been located there now for several years], or the States, and if we can't do it, we'll stay here forever, because we will never go back to Bulgaria! "
And why not? They're gaining in popularity in this techno overdosed city, and the turn up often at the Marquis on Friday nights, where they play to a loyal following of dedicated and genuinely happy fans, where the energy gets to the boiling point and everyone needs to cool down quick. usually the shirts come off when they play, revealing interesting tattoo work, then the cold beers get poured down and they're off on another set.
On a little less humble, but none-the-less cookin' night, you can find them at Radost FX Cafe, wooing the crowds, and as of December 2nd and onwards, they'll be getting their chops in at the cozy jazz grotto known as "Little Glen's", a proving ground for those lucky souls with a musical spirit. And if you just got paid, why not take your wallet and a date to Diogenes Greek restaurant somenight and fill up on good food and good tunes?Yanko, the charismatic and most tattooed frontman, is the only cat who knows his way around English; his mates Chiko and Hubbi do all right with the czech, but all three speak World-Beat most fluently. Their musical style spans the globe for influences; spirited Spanish fandangos, soulful folk ballads that I've personally seen bring a tear to the eye of an old Yugoslav, working their way all the round to songs by Nirvana, that hardens the nipples of pretty young Amexpats.
Yanko plays an unusual classic Greek instrument called the "Buzuki", which sounds banjo'esque, and Hubbi accompanies him on a bass guitar while Chiko, the percussionist, plays the hell out of a star shaped tambourine 'coz he's still earning his drums. They play popular covers, the fun stuff that gets the crowd in the mood for their original pieces, which speak volumes in hot, emotive sounds, arousing the listener like an eager young Casanova on his first date.
They've developed this polished style and virtuosity through many years of practice, Artery has actually been around in various manifestations since 1989, born in the dawn of long denied freedom. And while the line-up has evolved over time, the inspiration for their name reflects Yanko's views on life.
"The inspiration for the name means something living. It's life. I thought about this word I learned in school, and thought 'this is the name,' said "OK, this will be it, like half joking, and the guys said "OK."
And in keeping with this simplistic philosophy, the band has tow tapes of their earlier works from Bulgaria, where CDs are impossible to make, and are shopping around to finally produce one here. "It's good here in Prague. There is hope here, and that's different for us, 'coz in Bulgaria we don't get folks coming to see our shows regularly, and we used to just play for fun, not money. Our music is the stuff of the world, and we like it."