To My Roots

I am convinced the project To My Roots is a work of art of an enduring value that deserves our support.

Milan Tesař, Proglas Radio, Czech Radio Jazz, UNI Cultural Magazine

To My Roots is a multimedia project Milli has been working on since the summer 2015 until 2018. The project contains an album with new songs that are interconnected with visual arts and crafts, performances, exhibitions and workshops. The main goal is a motivation to renew trust between people, as well as for them to respect to each other by understanding and interconnectiong. Since that time Milli has been making a family tree to find her own history.

New album To My Roots – Milli Janatková Quartet and guests was released in the spring 2017 and it has been successfully accepted by both publicists and public. The project has been honored with the nomination for the prestigious Classic Prague Awards in the Crossover category in 2018. In March Milli releases her new music video Mothers´ Magic. The song has just won The VOX POP Award in The 16th Independent Music Awards, USA in A Capella category.  The story tells about forgiveness and supports loving family relationships. It inspires to open and cope with the taboos of World Wars or socialist traumas and suppressed emotions that influence the following generations and today´s society atmosphere. It brings hope, understanding and discussion. The project has been financially supported by The State Fund of Culture (The Ministry of Culture of the Czech Republic), Mělník Town and HitHit public crowdfunding, where To My Roots project succeeded among eleven most favorite and prosperous projects in Music and Arts Category.

The songs are performed as Milli Janatková Solo (vocals, guitar, live looping). Milli creates a nice atmosphere of interactive performance and singing with the audience, voice in movement and charming openess.

Milli also performs with her variable jazz band Milli Janatková Duo – Quintet of great musicians who have joined the music creation – Marek Novotný (piano), Petr Tichý (double-bass), Petr Nohavica or Tomáš Vokurka (drums), Vojtěch Nýdl (clarinets), Robert Fischmann (flute), Michal Wróblewski (sax) and Dutch saxophone player Cyrille Oswald who joins the live performances, too. Milli interconnects the To My Roots songs with other projects – Quiet, please! and Transformation. 

“The project was born from my interest in getting to know myself and the world around me. I decided to research my family history and create a continuation of its legacy. During my childhood, in my Czech native town Mělník, I heard my grandmother´s stories from the Second World War, as well as stories about my great-aunt Vera who met an American soldier in 1945 and moved to the USA where they married. She started to create music, writing, painting and teaching. The feeling of rootlessness and finding a new balance is another motif of the album. After discovering Vera´s compositions, I chose those which inspired me with the courage to which my ancestors lived their lives, ways we can barely imagine today. The songs instrumentation arrangement was created by pianist Marek Novotný and I made the a capella arrangements of old Czech folk songs. Other great musicians have joined the music creation. Each song represents one grade of the maturation process. These songs perhaps represent all of our journeys, in the spirit of our ancestors´fairy – tales and ancient legends. Or it may be just my experience I want to tell you about.” Milli Janatková about her project To My Roots

The part of the project is a set of original performance dresses that are interconnected with the album, as well as a set of paintings. The inspiration is from the lines formed by common ancestors´ countryside hills, as well as the vocal and musical lines formed from Vera’s music. Milli will combine the two lines together to create a link, or a continuation of her family’s legacy. Be a part of the story which is a journey to courage, hope, and respect.

You must take each moment as an opportunity. I don´t believe in wasting any time. There are too many things worth living for, like love, truth and beauty.

Vera P. Kistler about the will to achieve, in a period of her life that was influenced by Parkinson disease. McLeod Magazine interview, USA, 1999

To My Roots project and CD were financially supported by public crowd funding and partners:

Mělník Town, State Fund of Culture of the Czech Republic, Flexjobs and generous contributors of the project.