ur unique publications and recordings can rarely be found in common stores due to their non-commercial nature and our attitude towards the big world. These releases are however available from the Country Home mailing service.
Martin’s books, CDs and DVDs are first-class products of the original „cottage industry“ and appear in limited volumes. If you like them we gladly encourage you to recommend them to your friends and acquaintances.

Stará almara ve Mlejně (DVD)
(Stará Almara in Mlejn)

Martin Žák & Stará almara
Miloň Čepelka, Věra Štaiglová,
Jan Pumpr & Dvorana Country Dancers

Latest release from the relentless promoter of traditional country music Martin Žák has just seen the light of day. This time we have a DVD called Stará Almara in Mlejn containing a two-hour-long concert.
Joining Martin Žák and his band Stará Almara are the popular „cimrmanologist“ Miloň Čepelka, songstress Věra Štaiglová and temperamental dance group Dvorana Country Dancers led by Jan Pumpr.
A varied program with songs, narration and dance will take you in pre-television era. Old forgotten ballads, jolly songs, fresh swinging melodies, atmosphere of the old times and authentic musical instruments, like banjo, fiddle, Appalachian dulcimer, guitar, double bass, spoons, bones, limberjack will make you forget the everyday stress and trouble.

Songs and stories on the DVD::
Drž mě víc (Let Me Fall) ~ Starej Dan (Old Dan Tucker) ~ O cestě I (story) ~ Irská polka (Irish Polka) ~ Starej Joe Clark (Old Joe Clark) ~ Arkansaský cestovatel (Arkansas Traveler) ~ Kvapem na svatbu (Haste to the Wedding) ~ Morris Dance ~ O cestě II (story) ~ Výuka country tanců (Country Dance Teaching) ~ Zlá zpráva (In the Pines) ~ Příběh o tužce (story) ~ Waltz Clog ~ Jimmy Johnson ~ Sladká Zuzi (Black-Eyed Susie) ~ Modlitba (story) ~ Ach, ty zlaté střevíčky (Oh, Them Golden Slippers) ~ Každý má rád večer sobotní (Everybody Loves Saturday Night) ~ Reubenův vlak (Reuben’s Train) ~ Až má milá najde cestu (She’ll Be Comin’ Round the Mountain)

Price of the DVD: 250 CZK order

„I was looking forward to your show in Mlejn and all that I saw that evening surpassed my expectations and left a deep mark in me… And it was Happiness, true Happiness…“

Petr Hejkal, Křivoklát

„Not only for listening, but for contemplating as well… The excellent informal atmosphere has reminded us of the old times when Czech country music was at its beginnings. It’s been inspiring. The main thing is that something like that still exists around here.“

Zdeněk Černý, Praha

„A very nice evening. We liked all songs, dances and ideas on employing all kinds of things as musical instruments. But the best of all is the catching joy and good mood shining from you on stage.“

Lenka Vytisková, Praha

Šlágry ze staré almary:
14 old-time country písniček (CD)

(Evergreens from the Old Cupboard:
14 old-time country songs)

Martin Žák & Věra Štaiglová

Songs from this album used to be a common part of everyday life of settlers looking for a new home on American mainland.
Martin’s stylish recording is this time crowned by the inimitable voice of songstress Věra Štaiglová, so listeners can enjoy the more subtle side of good old country music too. You will also hear authentic mountain fiddle played by one of the most prominent personalities of the pure old-time style, musician from Appalachian mountains Wayne Erbsen.
All Martin’s favourite musical instruments are also here - banjo, fiddle, autoharp, mountain dulcimer, guitar, harmonica, bass fiddle, jaw harp, mouthbow, spoons, bones, washboard…
This recording is accompanied with a fully illustrated booklet with lyrics, historical information about the songs and photos.

„…a there, in darkness of the furthest corner, there is a huge old cupboard. One hatch is half-open. A spring of boyish curiosity bursts from my soul again. Can I still have such feelings? But how can I now face them? Forgive me, old people, my intentions are not sinister. Now I am touching the hatch with one hand. It is as if I was afraid to open the cupboard right away. My tension is growing, I have the life story of the long-forgotten people, the secret of the old cupboard on the tip of my hand...
Today I would like to tell you about my voyages against the stream of time. Sincerely, I will not have to restrain my fantasy a lot. I am bringing you stories that I heard on trips in forgotten destinations. As a bonus you will get moods, feelings and tones that were there as well. Exactly as I felt them and as they still resonate in my restless soul.“

Songs on the CD:

1. Běta z horzvuková ukázka   8. Ve vrbovém hájizvuková ukázka
2. Zlá zprávazvuková ukázka 9. Arkansaský cestovatel / Žena jménem Sally Goodin
3. Kapitán Kidd 10. Bouda v kopcích Jižních hor
4. Potulnej kazatel 11. Velká voda
5. Dům v Modrejch horáchzvuková ukázka 12. Devítilibrový kladivo
6. Dědečkovy hodinyzvuková ukázka 13. Oleana
7. Škvarková plackazvuková ukázka 14. Sladká Zuzizvuková ukázka

Price of the CD including a booklet: 290 CZK order

„Martin Žák plays old-time Southern Appalachian music more authentically than anyone in our area.“

John Rice Irwin, founder and director of the Appalachian Museum in Tennessee, USA

„I like the new CD Šlágry ze staré almary very much, I listen to it when I’m cooking; and sing the songs when I’m painting my fence – the work is much more pleasant this way.“

Zuzka Vránová, Úpice

„Songs on the CD Šlágry ze staré almary improve with every listening. Martin’s singing and music gradually move from excellent to even better. It is hard to believe, nevertheless true…“

Country Zpravodaj AHOJ, Czech Magazine

Písně a příběhy ze stařičké stodoly (DVD)
(Songs and Stories from the Old Barn)

Martin Žák & Stará almara, Miloň Čepelka
Jan Pumpr & Dvorana Country Dancers

Video-recording on DVD with Martina Žák’s program Písně a příběhy ze stařičké stodoly in which you will see not only Martin and his band Stará Almara, but also Miloň Čepelka as narrator and dancing group Dvorana Country Dancers with a tremendous caller Jan Pumpr.
For over 100 minutes we will take you to times of country-side hops in the era of settling the Appalachian mountains. Of course a wide variety of period musical instruments can be seen in the film.
The whole show is illustrated with historical photos, stylish engravings and other attractive material. It is obvious that here is not only an entertaining programme with songs, narration and dance, but also a remarkable documentary.
On this DVD you will also find a short picture movie called Martin Žák & Stará Almara objektivem Jana Šroubka (Martin Žák & Stará Almara through the lens of Jan Šroubek).

„Good evening, neighbours!
The harvest is over, our wood-sheds are full up to ceilings, corn has been shucked, beans are dried… Just like every year in this season, it’s time to open the shabby door of our old barn and forget for a while all trouble.
So let’s sing, dance and stomp… Have fun with us!“

Songs and stories on the DVD:
Pozvání na cestu (story) ~ Zlatej vrch (Sugar Hill) ~ Potulnej kazatel (Methodist Pie) ~ Kapitán Kidd (Captain Kidd) ~ Rachel ~ Starej Joe Clark (Old Joe Clark) ~ Velká voda (Waterbound) ~ Vojákovo potěšení (Soldier’s Joy) ~ Sladká Zuzi (Black-Eyed Susie) ~ Oleana ~ Příběh quiltu (story) ~ Dřevař od Mississippi (Mississippii Sawyer) ~ Drž mě víc (Let Me Fall) ~ Břeh zdá se blíž, Michaeli (Michael, Row the Boat Ashore) ~ Ragtimeová Anička (Ragtime Annie) ~ Škvarková placka (Short’nin’ Bread) ~ Lžíce, kosti, brumle (Spoons, bones, jaw harp…) ~ Ach, ty zlaté střevíčky (Oh, Them Golden Slippers) ~ Starej Dan (Old Dan Tucker) ~ Boží milost (Amazing Grace) ~ Reubenův vlak (Reuben’s Train) ~ Mé dny (Early) ~ Až má milá najde cestu (She’ll Be Comin’ Round the Mountain)

Price of the DVD: 250 CZK order

„Martin Žák and his wife Denisa, all of his players, Jan Pumpr and his fresh and energetic group of dancers are all people of immense talent.
It is amazing how many instruments Martin Žák have mastered! I was thinking how proud of him Pete Seeger would be if he could have been on the show.“

Gene Deitch, a successful American cartoon animator that wins a Hollywood Oscar,
author of the recording „Pete Seeger in Prague 1964“ and also the book
„For the Love of Prague“, personal friend of Pete Seeger

Písně ze stařičké stodoly:
16 old-time country dupáren (CD)

(Songs from the Old Barn:
16 old-time country stomping songs)

Martin Žák & Stará almara

Album full of traditional American melodies and buoyant mountain whooping songs for both dancing and listening.
Instruments featured in the recording: five-string banjo (clawhammer and other original playing styles), fiddle, guitar, bass fiddle, jaw harp, bones, spoons, limberjack; and also tap-dancing, stomping and various styles of feet shuffling.
In the accompanying publication you will find a tale of the music of old American country-side, traditional musical instruments, period illustrations, stylish photos etc.
Story Arkansaský cestovatel (Arkansas Traveler) is narrated by popular actors from Prague’s theatre named Divadlo Járy Cimrmana Miloň Čepelka and Jaroslav Weigel.

„Whether you travel near or far, you will never find our old barn: it is only an imaginary place on a forgotten plot of land coming to life only on our recording. And also during all concerts of Martin Žák and his Stará Almara. But who knows? Perhaps once the right time will come and we will open the big squeaking shabby door of a genuine wooden building. It will totally resemble huts from the times when songs and melodies of old settlers sounded above the Appalachian mountains. The tones that will be heard through hills and valleys will tell everybody that harvest is finished – and now it’s time for some fun.
But now close your eyes, the heavy door is just opening out, musicians, singers, story-tellers and dancers are in their places inside the barn. The country round is just beginning!“

Songs on the CD:
1. Roztomilá Betsyzvuková ukázka   9. Ach, ty zlaté střevíčkyzvuková ukázka
2. Vojákovo potěšení 10. Rachel
3. O té irské rebélii zvuková ukázka 11. Drž mě víc
4. Letní jablíčko 12.Nejstarší slepička
5. Slepičí rej / Rejdovák svaté Anny 13. Ústup Bonapartův / Píseň svobody
6. Arkansaský cestovatelzvuková ukázka 14. Zlatej vrch
7. Rudá peruť 15. Dřevař od Mississippi
8. Starej Danzvuková ukázka 16. Reubenův vlak zvuková ukázka

Price of the CD including booklet: 290 CZK order

„We play the beautiful CD Písně ze stařičké stodoly consulting room three times a day. It raises everybody’s mood.“

MUDr. Yvetta Fialová, general practitioner, Soběslav

„Recording of Martin Žák Písně ze stařičké stodoly is in my opinion the record of the year – it’s a shame we haven’t introduced such awards yet.“

Irena Přibylová, časopis Folk & Country 1/2004, Czech Magazine

„Beautifully-produced CD. I enjoyed Martin’s music - fine indeed.“

Mike Seeger, one of the most prominent personalities of contemporary American folk music

We offer you original programs with traditional country music and period instruments targeted at clubs, schools, summer camps etc., as well as concerts, festival shows, music for museums and open-air living history museums, musical lessons and seminars. See more information with video click here.

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Dear traveller, you have just come to www.martinzak.cz pages
devoted to old-time country music of Martin Žák and his band Stará Almara.

About Martin Zak | Martin Zak & His Old-Time Country Band | Traditional Instruments | Songs
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Martin Žák would like to thank everybody who showed him the way, first of all
Wayne Erbsen, David Holt, Mike Seeger, Pete Seeger, John Hartford, Janette and Joe Carter,
Laura Boosinger, Will Keys, Michael J. Miles and other old-time heroes,
including the ones whose names are now gone with the wind.
And also Johnny Cash, Kris Kristofferson, Gordon Lightfoot, Merle Haggard, John Denver…
© 2009 Martin Žák