The Christmas season is responsible for a number of beloved holiday-themed songs – and songs that get on the nerves
But if you get Wham!, Michael Bublé, and Mariah Carey why not diversify your Christmas playlist with some sounds from Prague?
Whether you’re in the Czech Republic or not, these seasonal tunes can provide for an interesting – and even educational – experience when compared to some of their English-language counterparts.
Of course, the rankings below are completely subjective. But each is a classic Czech tune for the Christmas season.
10. Václav Koubek – Vánoce
This classic “joke” song covers all the Czech Christmas bases, but it can be pretty tough to take. Think of it as a dry Czech sendup of the typical saccharine Christmas songs, and play it to annoy your loved ones and coworkers (be warned: it’s an earworm).
9. Johny Machette & Teri Blitzen – Vánoční
You’ll have heard this one if you’re in Prague during the holidays. This 2015 Christmas hit, which opens with John Williams’ Home Alone theme, has been one of the most oft-played Czech Christmas songs over the past two years.
8. Jaromír Nohavica – Ladovská zima
The classic folk song from Czech singer, songwriter and poet Jaromír Nohavica evokes scenes of winter as captured in the works of Czech illustrator Josef Lada.
7. Václav Neckar & UMAKART – Midnight
Václav Neckar performed as part of the pop trio the Golden Kids with Marta Kubišová & Helena Vondráčková in the 1960s; this more recent Christmas-themed song was composed for the 2011 animated film Alois Nebel, seen in the above video.
6. Iveta Bartošová – Tři oříšky
Set to the music of Karel Svoboda, this song from the Czech pop singer recreates the feel of the country’s most beloved Christmastime fairy tale. Bartošová, who dominated the Czech tabloids for years, tragically committed suicide in 2014 at the age of 48 as some held the media at least partially responsible for her death.
5. Kryštof ft. Tomáš Klus – Cesta
One of the most popular Czech songs of the past decade (the YouTube video has 26 million views), Cesta isn’t explicitly Christmassy in its lyrics but has become associated with the holidays since being featured in the movie Křídla Vánoc (Wings of Christmas). Five years later, it’s especially prominent during Christmastime.
4. Karel Kryl – Vánoční
Iconic Czech poet and singer-songwriter Karel Kryl is best known for his anti-communist songs that saw him flee the country in exile after his debut album; his future work, including the above Christmas song from third album Maškary, was smuggled into the country and played in secret. The above video was recorded in Prague shortly before his death in 1994.
3. Lucie – Medvidek
This beloved Christmas classic from the famed Czech rock band about a Teddy Bear in the “snow” is actually a metaphor for cocaine running in Colombia, as made clear in the official video. Merry Christmas!
2. Jiří Suchý – Purpura
Released in 1962, this is one of the most beloved Christmas songs by musicians Jiří Šlitr and Jiří Suchý, two of the most famous Czech performers during the 1960s; Suchý recorded the above video in 1969 shortly after the mysterious death of Šlitr. The song was memorably covered by Lucie Bílá and Marta Kubišová, among others.
1. Karel Gott – Kdepak ty ptáčku hnízdo máš
The 1973 fairy tale Tři oříšky pro Popelku (Three Nuts for Cinderella) is the go-to Czech Christmas classic, a local version of A Christmas Story or It’s a Wonderful Life. And this Karel Gott single featured in the movie may not be exactly Christmassy in spirit, but will forever be associated with the holiday season.
Need some more Czech Christmas classics? These ten songs didn’t quite make the cut:
- E.Pilarová & W.Matuška – Vánoční
- Xindl X – Štědrej večer nastal
- NIGHTWORK – Vánoční čas
- Tomáš Klus – Ledaco
- MAREK ZTRACENÝ – Snad se něco stane
- Janek Ledecký – A od těch časů
- Katarína Koščová & Vojtěch Dyk – Štědrý večer
- Lubomír Lipský & Jiří Malát a sbor – Těšíme se na Ježíška
- Jablkoň – Předvánoční koleda (Petr Skoumal, Jan Burian)
- Gabriela Gunčíková & Marta Jandová – Santa Superstar