Rale arose in East Europe in the 1990s as the rockiest avatar of the legendary group Dunaj. Bringing together musicians from folk, world, rock, improvised, and experimental music backgrounds, its music retains the delicate appeal of folk acoustic guitars, the complexity of avant-prog, and that distinctive touch of Czech rock.
Formed in 1993, Rale came to life through a chance meeting at that year's MIMI Music Festival in Marseille, France. Dunaj guitarists Vladimir Vaclavek and Josef Ostransky befriended violinist Takumi Fukushima (who, among other things, collaborated with Volapuk on their third CD Polyglot) and French-Vietnamese singer and dancer Cynthia Phung-Ngoc. The four of them sat down to write material for a first album. Their various influences were cemented in East-European tradition, giving the band a sound somewhere at the crossroads of Dunaj, Iva Bittova (with whom Vaclavek recorded Bile Inferno), and Pavel Fajt's Pluto. Lyrics were written and sung in English, French, Spanish, Vietnamese, Czech, and Japanese. Phung-Ngoc's voice on record and presence on stage quickly gained the group a cult following in Europe. An eponymous album was released in 1994 on Wolf Records. The group was then expanded to a quintet with the arrival of cellist Andrea Konstankiewicz who emphasized Rale's bite. She already played in one of Ostransky's other projects, the avant-rock outfit Boo.
Two CDs featuring this lineup saw the light of day before the decade closed, the latter being the lavish Twilight/Soumrak (Indies Records, 2000) and featuring guest Milos Dvoracek, Bittova's drummer. ~ Francois Couture