Latest Sviests 7 folk music anthology released

The latest entry in the bi-yearly Latvian folk music anthology from the record label Lauska – Sviests 7 (LAUSKA CD071) – has been released. As with previous releases, this collects new recordings by many different Latvian folk groups, as well as performances that incorporate or have been inspired by Latvian folk music.

Joining familiar faces such as Laima Jansone, Rūta and Valdis Muktupāvels are newer groups like the dark folk ensemble Rāva, the synthesis of traditional singing with modern elements of Tautumeitas, and the Latvian rap and hip-hop folk artist Misters.

The CD booklet includes brief notes on the songs and ensembles in both English and Latvian.

For further information, please visit the Lauska web site.

 

Track listing:

  1. Pelīte – Tautumeitas
  2. Skan balsīnis rītā agri – Brāļi un māsas
  3. Vilciņš – RTU vīru koris Gaudeamus
  4. Īdona īzona – Elza Rozentāle un Bur Mani feat. DJ Monsta
  5. Pēdējais lībietis – Vārna
  6. Sniegi sniga – Rāva
  7. Kungi mani karā sūta – Laima Jansone un Pēteris Draguns
  8. Žū bērniņ, žū – LEILALI un Rihards Lībietis
  9. Koklītes koklēja – Rūta un Valdis Muktupāvels
  10. Sajāja bramaņi – Stiprās sievas un Raimonds Tiguls
  11. Zīmeņa – Ceidari un Kārlis Kazāks
  12. Sīvi sīvi – Trejasmens
  13. Cipu capu vāverīte – Artemisia Absinthium
  14. Ormans – Jauno Jāņu orķestris
  15. Nospiedumi – Misters
  16. Bebru regejs – Bezgalībieši
  17. Lācīts kāpa ozolā – Teikas muzikanti
  18. Smuks puisits – Skandi
  19. Saimniekdēls – Rahu the Fool
  20. Balāde par pulkvedi – Oskars Jansons
  21. Veļu laiks – Edgars Lipors

Daina Gross is editor of Latvians Online. An Australian-Latvian she is also a member of the Education Board of the World Federation of Free Latvians and the translator into English of various books on industrial history in Latvia.

How Baltimore Became a ‘Little Latvia’ for the Weekend

Latvians Online asked a few Baltimore Latvian Song Festival goers to share their thoughts on the festival. Canadian Latvians regularly attend US-Latvian song festivals. Here is one active younger-generation Canadian-Latvian’s take on the week of festivities in Baltimore.

To someone who has never been, you can’t really describe the feeling of being at a Song Festival: the feeling of being amongst thousands of other Latvians, all wanting to celebrate our beautiful culture together. It doesn’t matter if they were born here, or in Latvia; if they’ve married into the community or were born into it; if they’ve lost the language or still hold onto it. It doesn’t matter if you’ve known them for years or if you’re just meeting them for the first time. What matters in that one magical weekend is that you are all together; that we as Latvians can take over a city and call it our own.

As cheesy and trite as this may sound, that doesn’t make it any less true. Even for those coming from cities with active Latvian communities, like me, hearing Latvian all around you on the streets lifts your spirits like nothing else can. There is no greater sense of pride than walking down the streets of Baltimore (or any Festival city) in your folk costume and answering locals who ask “what’s the big event that’s happening this weekend?”. The sense of community that is felt at a Festival cannot be replicated or replaced by anything. Though the weekend may pass by in a blur you always wish there was just one more day, to go to another show, to visit the market again, or to grab lunch with friends from out of town that you haven’t seen in a long time.

I have friends who, for various reasons, come to Festivals not as participants but merely as attendees. While I am always jealous that they get to sleep in and can attend any show or concert they would like, I somehow cannot imagine being at a Festival and not participating in some way. I have been folk dancing my whole life and because of that Festivals have always included at least one day (if not three or four!) of early morning rehearsals and long days spent dancing on tired feet. One day I might decide to retire my dancing shoes, but for now I live for the rush of being onstage with hundreds of other dancers; with beaming, cheering crowds cramming every possible seat.

My favourite moment at any Festival comes just before the end of the Folk Dance Show. With all of the dancers on stage, everyone, performers and dancers, join hands and sing “Daugav’ abas malas”, an anthem of sorts for Latvians, especially in the diaspora. Since I was a child, I have not been able to get through this moment without tearing up and in some cases, full-out weeping. After this deeply emotional moment, upbeat dance music is put on and the dancers onstage take their time polka-ing off in pairs, lines, groups, or however else they’d like. This brief but wonderful moment is a chance to celebrate the culmination of all our hard work together and to relax and look forward to enjoying the remainder of the Festival.

As much fun as dancing in the New Choreography Competition and the Folk Dance Show was, I also enjoyed being able to spend my last day in Baltimore simply as a spectator. The final day of the Festival was a beatiful one – the Joint Choir Festival was magnificent, with wonderful acoustics at Meyerhoff Symphony Hall, a talented accompanying orchestra, and a great selection of choral favourites and unknowns, including a celebration of East Coast composers. And the final Festival Ball was a great culmination to such a joyful, vibrant weekend. The room was packed full of festival goers of all ages, dancing to Toronto’s own Penzionāri. I even spotted Ilga Reizniece of Iļģi dancing too. During a break in between sets, Dace Melbārde, Latvia’s Minister for Culture (and a Festival participant as well!) gave Certificates of Recognition (atzinības raksti) to the Festival Organizers. These were extremely well deserved and showed the new, stronger bonds being forged between Latvians abroad and those in Latvia. Working together and supporting one another can only strengthen us as a people and a culture.

It’s been said before, but I must repeat how amazing it is that the Festival came together like it did, considering the fact that the organizers are all from different East Coast cities and that the Latvian community in Baltimore is so minimal. Never once did it feel like they did not know the city or that they hadn’t prepared everything and planned it all to the T. My hats off to all of the Organizing Committee and volunteers. As a first-time member of a Festival Organizing Committee (for the 2019 Festival in Toronto) I am beginning to see just how much blood, sweat, and tears goes into planning an event of this scale, something I think many Festival goers, through no fault of their own, simply do not realize and take for granted. It takes a lot of work to make sure things run as smoothly as they did and to ensure that all Festival participants and attendees are able to enjoy everything to the fullest.

Given how wonderful my experience in Baltimore was it’s such a shame that Festivals don’t happen more often. But, while the next East Coast Festival might be far away, and going to the Festival in Latvia next summer might not be possible for everyone, there is another North American Festival just around the corner. Yes, as a member of the Organizing Committee for the 2019 Festival of Song and Dance in Toronto, this is my shameless plug for everyone to join us there. It’s a chance to once again experience the friendship, community, and cultural beauty of the Latvian community here in North America and around the world.

 

Gaidīti viesi Gaŗezerā

Nule attapušies no Dziesmu svētkiem Baltimorā, Gaŗezera saime pie sevis sagaidīja Latvijas vēstnieku ASV, Andri Teikmani, ar kundzi, Ingūnu Teikmani. Vēstnieka interese par Gaŗezeru radīja vēlmi iepazīstināt Teikmaņus ar ASV lielāko latviešu skolu, Gaŗezera vasaras vidusskolu, kā arī ar Gaŗezera kvalitatīvajām mācību programmām jaunākiem skolēniem. Pusotras dienas apciemojums deva iespēju Gaŗezera programmu vadītājām satikt vēstnieku un parādīt savu vidi, savus bērnus dažādās nodarbībās. Teikmaņus iepriecināja GVV III klases sajūsma dejojot tautas dejas, Biz-Biz bērnu jautrās rotaļas, kādas nometnes dalībnieces dāvināta aproce un II klases izsmeļošie jautājumi par diplomāta pienākumiem un dzīves veidu.

Ierodoties, Andris Teikmanis stājās tautiešu priekšā uzrunājot viņus šīs vasaras pirmajos “Mūžizglītības kursos”. Klinklāvu galerijas vadītāja Līga Ejupa ik gadus rīko ceturtdienas vakara kursus vietējiem latviešiem un viesiem. Kursantus uzrunā dažādi speciālisti, kas atrodas uz vietas Gaŗezerā. Pirmo uzrunu sniedza Andris Teikmanis, kurš stāstīja par savu pieredzi diplomātiskajā dienestā daudzu gadu gaŗumā. Vēstnieks ir Latviju pārstāvējis Eiropas padomē, Vācijā, Krievijā, Lielbritānijā un tagad ASV. Andris Teikmanis bijis arī Latvijas Republikas Ārlietu ministrijas Valsts sekretārs. Klātesošie ar interesi klausījās vēstnieka pieredzi dažādajās valstīs, un uzdeva jautājumus par aktuālām tēmām. Šovasar vēl paredzēti kursi par dainām – tagadnes skatījumā, par skolotāja ceļu no Latvijas uz Gaŗezeru, un tēlniece Rita Grendze stāstīs par savu darbu, “100 raksti tiem, kas meklē gaismu”.

Piektdienas rīts sākās ar GVV rīta lūgšanu, kur vēstniekam bija iespēja sveikt 119 skolēnus un skolotājus, ar laba vēlējumiem un veltēm. Pārējais rīts pagāja sarunās ar skolēniem, apciemojot katru klasi un atbildot uz skolēnu uzdotajiem jautājumiem.

Pusdienas Teikmaņi ēda kopā ar skolotājiem no Latvijas, kas ieradušies mācīt GVV. Jau ceturto gadu Ārlietu ministrija atbalsta Latvijas skolotājus ar ceļa naudām, tālab nodrošinot Gaŗezeram lielu daļu vajadzīgo mācībspēku. Jāpiemin, ka papildus Ārlietu ministrijas atbalstam, Gaŗezera vasaras vidusskola trešo gadu saņem atbalstu no Sabiedrības integrācijas fonda. Piešķirtie  15,000 EUR sedz 80% no izdevumiem, kas saistās ar Latvijas skolotāju un audzinātāju darba vīzām.

Pēcpusdienā Gaŗezera pārējās mācību programmas, Sagatavošanas skola, Bērnu nometne un Bērnudārzs iepazīstināja vēstnieku ar savu darbu un skolēniem. Šogad Gaŗezera sagatavošanas skolā gaida 61 skolēnu, Bērnu nometnē pa trim posmiem būs 87 skolēni un Bērnudārzs pulcinās 47 jaunākos bērnus savās telpās. Teritorijas apskate atklāja to, cik Gaŗezers ir milzīgs un cik tajā darbojas un atpūšas latviešu. Ir gan programmu darbinieki, skolēnu vecāki, ļaudis no Ciems “Latvija”, un viesi, kas visi apgrozas dažādās vietās. Iespaidīgi bija visa trīs muzeji. Jautrs bija kantīnes apciemojums. Un ar prieku viesi “apstaigāja Latvijas robežu”. Gaŗezera vasaras vidusskola iezīmēja lielu Latvijas valsts kontūrkarti vidusskolas teritorijā – Pētersona sporta laukumā.  Karte ir izveidota 107 pēdu (32 m) platībā un godina Latvijas simtgades tuvošanos un to izmanto vēstures un ģeogrāfijas stundās. Projekta iniciātors bija GVV skolotājs Artis Inka, kas vēstniekam parādīja lielisko projektu.  Bija skaidri redzams, ka vasarā Gaŗezers kļūst par aktīvu latviešu centru, pievelkot daudz tuvus un tālus ciemiņus.

Pēc vakariņām Teikmaņa kungam ar kundzi vēl bija iespēja satikt Gaŗezera administrāciju, dažus padomes locekļus, programmu vadītājas, GVV skolotājus un audzinātājus pieņemšanā Lāču Annas paviljonā. Un no rīta, pirms došanās ceļā, Teikmaņi veltīja vairākas stundas sarunās ar Gaŗezera padomes un GVV vadību. Tika atbildēts uz vēstnieka jautājumiem par GVV programmas vēsturi, ilggadīgo devumu latviešu sabiedrībai ASV un Gaŗezera nākotnes vajadzībām.

Pateicamies vēstniekam ar kundzi par Gaŗezeram veltīto laiku un interesi. Priecājamies un pateicamies par līdzšinējo sadarbību ar Ārlietu ministriju un Latvijas vēstniecību. Gaŗezera saime turpinās strādāt par labu nākamajām latviešu paaudzēm, ar devīzi, “Dievam un Latvijai”!