The Atlas Obscura Society Presents: Bohemian Cristal Soundwaves in DTLA

Lenka Moráková enchanting the audience with her Bohemian cristal instrument.

The Atlas Obscura Society of Los Angeles brings novelties to life from the far corners of the globe.

On Sunday April 21st Lenka Moráková took the audience at Hotel Figueroa on a sensory journey with her one-of-a-kind Bohemian cristal intrument, amplified electronically and by two pieces of metal that look like they could have gone missing from the Walt Disney Concert Hall, the effect is nothing short of cinematic.

According to Atlas Obscura, “Lenka blurs the line between classical sounds and bombastic neo-futurism.”

Lenka mixes her heritage with her artistry. Originally from Northern Czech Republic, a region famous for its glass industry, she uses different lengths of Czech Cristal amplified by metal and a soundboard to create ethereal and immersive soundscapes.

Audience member Cynthia Rodriquez getting a lesson in soundwave manipulation.

Audience member Paul Tobert said, “I’ve never seen anything like this. The fact that she could think of this instrument is just amazing. It’s very a-tonal. Sometimes it felt like you were in jazz, like in jazz when you’re doing riffs that aren’t really planned.”

Lenka’s recording and audio engineer William Marshall said, “The idea is that, depending on the room, and depending on a lot of different factors it can be- not so good, so you need someone to shape the sound so that the sound is good in the room. There’s the creative part of it in terms of making sure what she is trying to accomplish, is translated to the audience, so that’s the art part of it, and then there’s the technical part of it. With something this fragile it doesn’t just happen, it takes a lot of time to kind of tune the room.”

The entire experience was curated in a way that was very unlike most music performances. Held in the intimate underground Tangier Room at the storied Figueroa Hotel, guests were given the opportunity to engage with the artist in a Q & A session after the performance.

With equal parts confidence and authenticity Lenka made the audience feel right at home. All types of questions were posed from whether she intentionally matched her blue hair to the blue glass in the instrument to how she manages to get the piece through airport security.

During the Q & A she revealed that there was a time in her life when she thought that she couldn’t sing, “so that’s why I took saxophone, a melodic instrument instead of my voice, and later I got to meet a Chinese opera singer teacher, she lives in Prague, and through her I got my voice back, it took me 6 months, I would go there for an hour, I would be meditating, sitting, breathing and kind of making sounds, head upside down- it was an interesting period but it worked out and I felt more comfortable, something really loosened up in my voice- so I started to sing.”

VIP ticket holders were treated with the opportunity to actually play the instrument itself with Lenka standing by and giving pointers as needed. The sound itself is so powerful and so unique that it really must be experienced in person.

Lenka recently did a TEDx talk in California, as well as a performance at The Broad Museum. Lenka and her one of a kind instrument was a perfect fit for The Atlas Obscura Society, which specializes in bringing novel and engaging art and objects from the far corners of the globe to a space near you.