My cousin from Germany was in Prague visiting me for the New Year and I only had three days to show him the best of Prague. On our last night, we were both wandering around Stare Mesto, cold and exhausted from the New Year celebrations the night before, when we stumbled across Sad Man’s Tongue Bar and Bistro. Allured by the ’50s and 60’s pin-up art outside and good music roaring from inside we decided to poke our heads in for a beer. We ended up staying there for a few more pivos, the most scrumptious mouth-watering burger ever (vegetarian roasted pepper portabella burger), and very rad atmosphere and live music.
Loes van Schaijk, a musician & songwriter from Holland was setting an awesome ambience jamming to all-time favourites and originals. The whole bar, guests and waiters alike sang to Weather with You by Crowded House and drummed to some Irish classics.
It was an unforgettable night, and I’m grateful to Loes for providing good vibes on my cousins last night in Prague. I caught up with her for a few pivos after the show :
Who are you? Describe your sound?
When I sing, I sound pretty much the same as when I speak, I hope! I do my best to avoid frills and fluff that would only serve to show off technique. My job is to serve the song and its story.
I accompany myself on a D1A custom Collings guitar that I am completely smitten with. Sometimes I bang out a rhythm on the bódhran (Irish drum).
I stumbled headfirst into the Europe bluegrass scene and with a Slovak bluegrass band, I started travelling to small festivals in the most obscure and gorgeous places. I gave up trying to sound like Melissa Etheridge, stopped dreaming about Broadways and stadiums. Instead started focusing on sharing stories with the audience in intimate settings.
What was it like playing tonight at Sad Man’s Tongue?
It was amazing, one of the best experiences I’ve had playing solo!
The vibe was great. I felt like I had a really good connection with the audience tonight where we exchanged positive energy.
Where are the best places to listen to live music in Prague?
There are still so many places I haven’t discovered yet…! I personally am a nerd who is into niche genres (bluegrass and folk) so I enjoy going to jam sessions or watching friends perform in small venues such as Balbinka, U Vodárny, Lama, Žižkovšiška, Jazz Dock, U Malého Glena, Kampus Hybernská.
Places I’ve not visited yet but that are on my list to check out are A Maze In Chaiovna, R3 Bar, Malostranská Beseda, Carpe Diem, Palác Akropolis. Sometimes the best events take place in venues that don’t offer music regularly, in that regard I really like the option to just search for “events nearby today” on social media.
And of course, I like all the places where I play regularly! Sad Man’s Tongue has live music every night and so does their second location, Black Bettie’s Bar & Grill. Kavárna Cukrárna Elvíra (Old Town location) has live acoustic music every Friday and Saturday. Champagneria (an amazing place for wine in a beautiful location) has live music only once or twice a month.
What’s the music scene like in Prague?
I’ve actually only been on the scene for a short time, so I’m still getting to know it myself. So far it strikes me as a rather small scene where most musicians know each other. Many of them are ex-pats from all over the world. Some of whom have been here for a long time. They can tell you great stories of what busking on Charles Bridge used to be like in the ’80s. I find the musicians very friendly, welcoming to newcomers on the scene.
Instead of seeing it as competition, they are like: “Hey cool, a new person to jam with and exchange ideas with!” I really love that attitude. There are a few Facebook groups for musicians in Prague that are really useful, fun and informative. Next year I definitely want to go to more jam sessions and get to know these people better.
What do you enjoy most about being a musician?
Part of it is the rush of endorphins or whatever it might be that is released in the brain when singing. Amplified by positive feedback from the audience or by the kick of playing together with other musicians which can be absolutely magical.
Keep up to date on Loes’s latest music and projects at: