January 27, 2011
Mārtiņš Freimanis, lead singer of the Liepāja-based rock and pop music group Tumsa, has died from complications caused by the flu, Latvian media reported Jan. 27. He was 33.
Freimanis, who was born Feb. 7, 1977, in Liepāja, also was known as a composer, music producer, actor and poet.
He died in the Rīga-based Infectology Center of Latvia, where he had been admitted Jan. 18.
Freimanis became Tumsa’s lead singer in 1994, according to the website of MICREC, the recording house that released the band’s albums. Freimanis composed many of Tumsa’s hit tunes, including on the band’s most recent album, Suns, released in late 2008.
He also wrote songs for other performers and became involved with Latvian efforts to win the Eurovision Song Contest. In 2003, he joined with singers Lauris Reiniks and Yana Kay to form the trio F.L.Y., which in 2004 represented Latvia in the song contest.
One of his most recent musical collaboration was co-writing the lyrics to Reiniks’ big summer hit of 2010, “Es skrienu.”
Freimanis and Tumsa also recently joined with Russian singer Yulia Chicherina on a recording project and plans for a concert tour. A video of their Russian-language love song “Максимум ты” may be viewed on YouTube.
In 2005, Freimanis starred in the feature film Man patīk, ka meitene skumst.
Two years later, Freimanis took on a role in the popular television soap opera Neprāta cena. He played Edgars Pētersons, a second-generation British Latvian who visits his ancestral homeland with his father and begins a romantic relationship with a local. He also wrote one of the show’s title songs, “Satīties sapīties,” performing a duet with singer Ella.
On stage, Freimanis is remembered for his title role in the 1999 rock opera “Kaupēn, mans mīļais,” performed by the Liepāja Theatre.
A collection of Freimanis’s poetry, including lyrics from songs performed by Tumsa, was published in 2004 under the title Zālīte truša dvēselei.
“Mārtiņš Freimanis has passed unjustly early,” according to a statement released by MICREC, “but we have no doubt that evidence of his talent will live and fill the hearts of many people with joy for years to come.”
A funeral service for Freimanis is scheduled at 3 p.m. Feb. 3 in Rīgas krematorijā, Varoņu 3a, Rīga.
Andris Straumanis is a special correspondent for and a co-founder of Latvians Online. From 2000-2012 he was editor of the website.