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Jožo Ráž: 24 October 1954, Bratislava
Václav (Vašo) Patejdl: 10 October 1954, Karlovy Vary, (Czech republic)
Zdeno Baláž: ?

Elán is a Slovak band founded in 1968 in Bratislava by classmates from elementary school Jožo Ráž (vocals), Vašo Patejdl (keyboards) and Zdeno Balaz (guitar & drums). They played at high school parties and university clubs as a cover band. Soon they started to write their own material of which ‘Dám ti všetko čo mám‘ (I'll give you everything I have) and ‘Semafór‘ were early originals. In 1979 they participated at the Bratislava lýre with ‘Bláznivé hry‘ (Crazy game) (written by Patejdl) and won for best arrangement. The next year they entered again with the song ‘Kaskadér‘ (Stuntman) which gave them wider recognition.

This led to the possibility of recording a debut album that was released in 1981 under the title ‘Ôsmy svetadiel’ (the eighth continent) on the state label Opus. The band quickly become a popular act around Czechoslovakia with hits like ‘Tuláci v podchodoch‘ ("tramps in podchodoch), ‚Človečina‘, ‚Stužková‘, ‚Zaľúbil sa chlapec‘ and ‘Kráľovná bielych tenisiek ‘(Queen of white sneakers). All coming from albums that followed suit after each other. An important change in its history was the arrival of John Baláž from the group Modus and cooperation in drafting the studio albums with lyricist Boris Filan. Anticipating an international career all Elán albums between 83 and 89 were also released in English, without much success.

In 1985 Vašo Patejdl left the band to pursue a solo career. Between 1986 and 1991 he recorded seven solo albums and was the winner of the Bratislavskej lýre in 85 and 87. Also Balaz left giving room for Gabo Zsabo on drums and  keyboardist Martin Karvaš. This setup with only one of its original members launched a second phase for the band with a more mature sound and albums. They also started working with more professional videoclips of which the project ‘Rabaka’ was the exhalted stage. Being the seventh studio album ‘Rabaka’ was also the base for a film project by Dušan Rapoš and Borisom Filanom blending the barriers between pop and film. The movie was set around the fictional band Rabaka, which after its collapse decides to return to stage one more time. Hits from this period were ‘Tanečnice z Lúčnice‘ (Dancer of Lúčnica), ‚Detektívka‘ and ‚Ver mi‘ (Trust me). In 1988 a special single was released under the title ‘Smrtka na Pražskom orloji‘ (about the world famous astronomical clock in the centre of Prague). What the intend was is unknown to us but hearsay says it was a hidden protest to the communist regime. Jozo Ráž also joined on the Peter Nagy album ‘Psi sa bránia útokom‘. In 1989 Karvaš left the band again. 

Early nineties, the group renewed itself once again. This constellation albums for the mere halve of the nineties under their own label called Legenda. From this period come hits like ‘Bosorka’, ‘Sestrička z Kramárov‘ (nurse of Kramáre), ‘Hostia z inej planéty‘ (Away from another planet) and "Pistol". In 1996 Vašo Patejdl rejoined again. A motorcycle accident of Joža Raza in 1999 laid activity of the band still until 2002. The singer had serious head injury associated with cropped brain, broken nose and broken left wrist. Recovery took some time. Two more studio albums followed in 2002 and 2003 before the band’s only output centrerd around live performances.

Elán is still very popular in Bohemia and Slovakia. Their show at the Prague Summer festival of 2003 was for a crowd of 80 000 people (registered on the album ‘Megakoncert’). On 21 September 2007 the group gave a show at New York's Carnegie Hall on invitation of the US Czech and Slovakian immigrants. Of the show a live registration was released later that year. The band claims to be working on a new studio album since 2005 that has the working title ‘Anjelská daň‘. For now a show is planned at the FIS Nordic World Ski Championships 2009 in Liberec, Czech Republic as part of the championships' entertainment festivities.

On the web:

- Elán's website: http://www.elan.cz/

If you like this, you probably like... / european counterparts:

Het Goede Doel (Netherlands)

What do we think:

DB: This is a good example of a true local pop/rock band that isn't really progressive in sound or production, makes solid but not rather daring songs but is very good in what they do. There is a form of pleasure in their output that lifts them over being a regular band. Still very popular in Slovakia and the Czech republic they are the masses darlings. They make solid pop songs that hint towards MOR but (for what i know by their eighties output) stay on the good side of the line. Every european country has one.


♪♪♪ - Nie sme zlí - 1982;

♪♪ - Elán 3 - 1983

♪♪♪ - Detektívka - 1986

♪♪♪♪ - Nebezpečný náklad - 1988;

♪♪♪ - Rabaka - 1989

Further listening: Ôsmy svetadiel - 1981; Hodina slovenčiny - 1985; Netvor z čiernej hviezdy Q7A - 1991; Hodina angličtiny - 1994; Hodina pravdy - 1997; Elán 3000 - 2002; Tretie oko – 2003; Elán: Megakoncert - 2004; Elán unplugged, Carnegie Hall, New York - 2007

Solo albums by Vašo Patejdl: Dvaja - 1986; Chlapčenský úsmev - 1986; Lov na city - 1987; Mon amour - 1989; Dlhá cesta - 1990; Labyrint sveta - 1991; Spovedaj ma zo spomienok - 1997


♪♪♪♪♪ = outstanding album, an absolute must-have
♪♪♪♪ = great album, highly recomended
♪♪♪ = nice album
♪♪ = be careful, requires listening before buying
♪ = best to be avoided


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  EUROPOPMUSIC - Central Europe