Vratislav Brabenec

From Unearthing The Music

Vratislav Brabenec. Photo by Wikipedia user Aloysius

Vratislav Brabenec (born 28 April 1943 in Prague) is a Czech musician and author, and a member of The Plastic People of the Universe.


Vratislav Brabenec was born in Prague into the family of a postal worker. He studied gardening at the Agricultural Secondary School in Mělník, and he practised it for several years after school. From 1964 to 1969 he studied theology at the Comenius evangelical faculty in Prague, but he did not complete those studies. He worked in Great Britain in 1969, and when he returned to his homeland he worked for some gardening companies. In 1976 he was arrested and imprisoned for political reasons (March - November[1]). When he was released after eight months, he signed the Charter 77 and was forced to emigrate in 1982. He lived in Canada from 1983 until 1997 (first in the east - meeting Josef Škvorecký and other Czech immigrants; then on the Sunshine Coast and finally on Vancouver Island[1]) but following the Velvet Revolution he often visited Czechoslovakia (and after 1993 the Czech Republic). He returned to his homeland in 1997, and since then he has been pursuing a musical career while partly also working as a garden designer.[2]

His wife Marie Benetková (born 1945) is a poet and artist. He has a daughter, Nikola.

Music career

Vratislav Brabenec plays the alto saxophone, bass clarinet, clarinet and occasionally sings. He was been a member of The Plastic People of the Universe (PPU) and wrote many of the lyrics for the group, with philosophical and religious themes. In 1997 he returned to the Czech Republic and joined a revival group. He also plays in the Sen noci svatojánské band.[3]

Literary career

His first poems were published in 1968 in a religious magazine Kostnické jiskry. He also published in samizdat editions. His poems are in close relation to music. He has published in most Czech literary and music magazines and collective volumes in the 1990s (e.g. Revolver Revue, Host, Rolling Stone, Rock & Pop etc.).[2] In the last few years, Brabenec has appeared in several movies, usually about or with PPU (Milan Hlavsa, a Plastic People of the Universe, 2001 or ...a bude hůř, 2007)



  • Sebedudy (1992)
  • Vůl Hvězda Ranní (1998)
  • Karlín přístav (1999)
  • Vážený pane K. (2001)
  • Všude je střed světa (2005)
  • Sebedudy a jiné texty z let 1966-1987 (2010)
  • Evangelium podle Brabence (2010)
  • Denver (2010)
  • Pajasan (2016)
  • Podoby (2016)
  • Nevyžádaný příspěvek (2016)
  • Tanec duchů (2017)
  • Trdliště (2018)
  • Garden Is Open (2018)
  • Payday (2019)
  • Legendy a čáry (2019)
  • Eden: Třída sboru národní bezpečnosti (2020)
  • Posvícení (2020)
  • Podzim (2020)


  • Konec léta (1995)
  • Začni u stromu (2006)
  • Kanadské vytí (2007)
  • Létání je snadné (2013)


  • …a bude hůř (2007)
  • Gorila (2011)
  • Kovář z Podlesí (2013)
  • Odborný dohled nad východem Slunce (2014)
  • Odborný dohled nad výkladem snu (2018)
  • Cena za štěstí (2019)
  • Ztraceni v ráji (2020)


  1. Interview in VetusVia: [1] Archived 2008-04-16 at the Wayback Machine (in Czech)
  2. Slovník české literatury: [2] (in Czech)
  3. Czech Wikipedia: cs:Vratislav Brabenec (in Czech)

Text adapted from Wikipedia