Joan Baez to play Prague on her final tour

The folk icon has announced her final album and concerts will be in 2018

Folk singer Joan Baez is coming to Prague’s Congress Center on March 28, 2018, as part of her Fare Thee Well tour. Tickets are on sale since Dec. 19 at 9 am on the Ticketpro network.

Early in 2017, she announced she would be retiring. She is recording her final album, tentatively called Whistle Down the Wind, which should be released just before the tour.

“Next year is my last year of formal touring,” Baez told industry magazine Variety in October. “There will be four different tours, one month each, and then that’s it. I can choose if I want to go sing at a protest or do something like this. The voice is so difficult to deal with now that having a point where I don’t have to do it anymore will be wonderful,” she said, adding that she would pursue painting.

Baez is no stranger to Prague. She was among several musicians that were friends with president and playwright Václav Havel. She first met Havel in Bratislava in May 1989 when Havel was still a dissident. He posed as a member of her entourage to get backstage. When she tried to greet members of Charter 77 from the stage, her mic was cut off and she sang without one. Havel said her activism and music were an inspiration to him.

In 2006 she also participated in Forum 2000, an annual event that has brought people including the Dalai Lama to Prague to discuss human rights and related issues. In November 2009 she participated in a semi-private concert for Havel with fellow musicians Lou Reed and Suzanne Vega to mark the 20th anniversary of the Velvet Revolution. She also made a surprise appearance on stage in public on Nov. 17 at Národní třída to sing “We Shall Overcome” as Havel greeted the crowd.

Her first concert in Prague was in 1993 at Lucerna. It was the first concert ever staged by the company Interkoncerts.

Baez performed at the first Newport Folk Festival in 1959 when she was 18 years old in a lineup that included Pete Seeger, Earl Scruggs, and the Kingston Trio. Her early folk albums were all successful, and she helped to popularize the songs of the then-unknown songwriter named Bob Dylan.

She became a central figure of the counterculture movement in the 1960s in the US and a strong opponent of the war in Vietnam. She has always been a strong supporter of civil rights and sang at the March on Washington in August 1963. At the end of the 1960s, she performed at Woodstock.

She continued to be active in later decades, and for example appeared in the US segment of Live Aid in 1985. In 1993 she went to Sarajevo to perform during the conflict.

While she does write her own songs, she mostly sings covers or songs written for her. She has interpreted songs by the Allman Brothers Band, the Beatles, Jackson Browne, Leonard Cohen, Woody Guthrie, the Rolling Stones, Pete Seeger, Paul Simon and Stevie Wonder, among others.

Her most recognizable songs include “Diamonds & Rust,” “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down,” “Farewell, Angelina,” “Forever Young,” Joe Hill” and “We Shall Overcome/”

Despite being mainly a folk singer, she was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on April 7, 2017.

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