Formed 21 years ago in the Czech Republic Druha Trava will be making their only 2012 performance in the US at Wintergrass 2012. A discography of 23 projects by the band certainly will give this band a great repetoire of originals,bluegrass standards sung in English and Czech. The bands most recent release “Shuttle to Bethlehem” was recorded in Nashville and Prague, Shuttle to Bethlehem is Druha Trava´s first ever recording whose main focus is definitive English versions of singer-songwriter Robert Krestan´s iconic songs. Ranging from the intensely intimate to the anthemic, they evoke love and longing, death and desire as they tell strange tales and recount # haunting new legends. The translations are fruit of a collaboration between Krestan and the award-winning American writer Ruth Ellen Gruber. Shuttle to Bethlehem includes seven of Druha Trava´s best-known tracks. Added to them are new Czech versions of two of the Bob Dylan songs on DT´s 2007 Dylanovky CD, as well as a bluegrassy take on the Rolling Stones´ “Jumpin´ Jack Flash” and a Celtic-inspired instrumental, “May Morning Dew/Tribute to Peadar O´Donnell,” featuring Lubos Malina on low whistle.
Singer and writer Robert Krestan (1991-present) has been recognized with numerous honors in his home country in both bluegrass and country music. He has been “Male Vocalist of the Year” at the Banjo Jamboree Festival numerous times and has been awarded “Country Artist of the Year” by the Czech Music Academy on several occasions.
In 1992, Lubos Malina (1991-present) was named overall “Best Banjo Player” at the 20 plus year old Banjo Jamboree Festival. This was after being voted “Banjo Player of the Year” annually since 1986. Along with Robert Krestan, he recorded six albums with the band Poutnici. Both in 1989 and 1990, Poutnici received the Society for the Preservation of Bluegrass Music award for Best Non-American Recording of the Year.
With a long history in the folk band Duo Cis as well as with the legendary Czech newgrass group Prudusky, Lubos Novotny (1991-present) plays dobro. (The Dobro was actually invented by a Slovak family, the Dopyeras.) He has been named “Dobro Player of the Year” from 1992 until 1997 by the Banjo Jamboree Festival as well by the Slovak Association of Country Music in 1992 and 1993.
Emil Formanek (2004-present) lives in Bratislava, Slovak Republic and the band has known him for 15 years. He played guitar on Lubos Novotny’s first solo album and also on Lubos Malina’s first solo album. He is a past member of the bluegrass band Fragment and has been playing acoustic and electric guitar for the biggest country star in Slovakia, Alan Mikusek, since he left Fragment.
Tomas Liska (April 2010-present) is the newest member of Druha Trava and performs on bass. He began his career on bass-guitar in 1998, but continued studying over the next several years, studying at the Conservatorium of Jaroslav Jezek in Prague beginning in 2000. He soon became a presence on the local jazz scene, appearing with an array of musicians at the city’s most important jazz clubs and festivals.