Karel Kryl , born on April 12, 1944 in Kroměříž and died on March 3, 1994, is a popular Czech singer. He wrote and sang many songs very critical of the communist regime.
He was born in Kroměříž in Moravia, son of Karel Kryl and Marie Krylová. His father was a printer and they were expropriated from the family business in 1948 by the coming to power of the communist regime. Studies are forbidden, so he works in a sanitary ceramics factory in Teplice. In the 1960s, he became passionate about French poetry and discovered Western music. He is getting closer to pacifism and the hippie movement by asserting a strong individualism. He arrives in Prague in 1967 and works at Radio Ostrava. He begins to compose, sings in many small Prague clubs and creates a small theater (Waterloo Divadlo).
The Soviet invasion of August 21, 1968 to stop the democratization of the Prague Spring ended this happy period and inspired him on August 22 his most famous song, Bratříčku zavírej vrátka, (Close the door little brother). The album is published in 1969 and censored by the regime soon after. He exiles one year after the Soviet invasion and settles in Munich where he continues to write, compose and sing. His lyrics and songs circulate widely in the Czech Republic where he is banned by the regime. He becomes one of the icons of anti-communist protest and his songs are widely circulated.
In Munich he works mainly for Radio Free Europe.