The name Janka Guzova is very much alive amongst those who love Slovak folk music. Janka was born on April 4, 1917 in the town of Zakarovce(Spis), Slovakia. Even though here formal education trained her to be a teacher, she was called upon to sing and perform throughout her life.

Her first radio appearance occurred on January 29, 1942, in Presov. In 1949, with the creation of a folklore division at Radio Bratislava, under the leadership of Jan Matuska, she was asked to become the program director of the division. Her dream came true by becoming both a director and singer at Radio Bratislava. In 1949 she was asked to record her first record by Surpraphon. She had a hard time determining which songs to include in her first recording. In total she recorded around 70 of her favourite songs for Surprapon. Her popularity resulted in her first collection of songs being released as a book Janka Guzova spieva (Janka Guzova sings) by Radio Bratislava in 1951 and contained 100 songs from Zakarovicec, Kluknavy, Drienova, Bajeroa and Krasnej nad Hornadom. A second book under the title Spevy Nasho ludu (Songs of our people) contained additional 50 songs from her collection.

By 1968 Janka found her professional life in Slovakia unbearable. She left Slovakia with her family on April 16, 1969, settled in New York, USA. She had her greatest achievement in USA at the celebrations for the 200 anniversary of American Independence and valued her many appearances in Canada in 1976, 1979 and 1986. In 1986 while in Canada she was awarded the "Cena slovenskeho srdca" (Award of Slovak heart) by the Slovak Canadian League at the festival of Slovak Youth. In 1990 OPUS Records in Slovakia released her first long playing LP "A ja taka dzivocka."

In 1992, on the 50th Anniversary of her first public performance Slovak Canadian National Council and other Slovak Canadian organisations, organized a special anniversary concert on March 29, 1992, under the title of Spevom k srdcu naroda. Due to her poor health, she was not able to attend the anniversary concert, and in her place came her daughter.

Her last lifelong dream of visiting Slovakia before she died was not fulfilled and she died in New York on February 2, 1993. Her wish to be interned on Slovak soil was fulfilled by Matica Slovenska and her family on July 7, 1993, when she was in a very public ceremony interned at the National Cemetery in Martin, Slovakia.

   
 

Graphics & design of Janka Guzova Home page hobbit.box.sk - Marek Bednar.
All contents for www.slovak.com 1997, Ondro Mihal.

All comments regarding this page should be forwarded to Ondro Mihal at omihal@slovak.com.
Last update on May 19, 1997.