A lifetime of experiences on new album by Raimonda Vazdika

Latvian actress Raimonda Vazdika has had a long and distinguished career, which is still going strong after many decades in theater and performance. Besides being an accomplished actress, someone who has performed many kinds of roles – from small, independent theaters to larger national venues, she also writes poetry and songs, and has recorded multiple solo albums and has multiple published poetry collections.

Her albums include 2001’s Labākās Dienas (which features what may be her most popular song, the wistful and touching ‘Apsoli man neko’), and Vazdika returned in 2022 with her latest album – Vēstules rokrakstā smalkā – a collection of fourteen songs recorded between 2018 and 2020.

Joining Vazdika are the musical members of her “Dzīve virs jumtiem” show – guitarists Ilze Grunte (who also arranged all the songs) and Arnolds Kārklis, Uģis Vītiņš on synthesizers, bass guitarist Ivo Stankevičs or ‘Skrips’ (who sadly passed away in 2021) and drummer Mārtiņš Linde, all of whom work together to bring Vazdika’s dreamy, deeply personal songs to life.

For her songs, Vazdika uses not only her own poetry, but also the works of modern Latvian poets, such as Imants Ziedonis. This is used to great effect in songs like ‘Kaija’, Ziedonis’ ode to a seagull. Vazdika’s interpretation of the poetry results in a gently flowing and melodic performance. This is a newer recording of an older song (the song first appeared on Labākās Dienas, but that version was performed by actor Ivars Stonins).

The theme of birds and flight appear throughout the album, perhaps reflecting Vazdika’s free spirit, and can be heard in songs such as the reserved and contemplative ‘Pirms dzērves projām dodas’ (poetry by Ziedonis) and the spirited ‘Putnu būrītim jumts nobraucis’.

Themes of melancholy and sadness are present throughout many of the songs, such as the undulating ‘Dziļi aprakts viss’, and the somber ‘Laika logs’. However, there are uplifting moments, such as on the waltz-like ‘Visu labu’ and the light French touch on ‘Pirmspēdējais valsis’. There are hopeful interludes as well, such as ‘Manam sargeņģelim’, a tender, fragile song about a guardian angel.

At times refined and delicate, others melancholy and pensive, the songs on Vēstules rokrakstā smalkā are woven together by Raimonda Vazdika’s rich alto voice and expressive vocals. Vazdika’s words reveal a lifetime of experiences, with the occasional twinge of bitterness, but not lacking in optimism. Backed up by a talented group of musicians that, through Ilze Grunte’s arrangements, create an immersive musical atmosphere, Vazdika’s intimate and melodic songs make for engrossing and captivating listening.

For further information, please visit the Lauska Raimonda Vazdika page.

Vēstules rokrakstā smalkā

Raimonda Vazdika

Lauska, CD07, 2022

Track listing:

  1. Kaija
  2. Pirms dzērves projām dodas
  3. Putnu būrītim jumts nobraucis
  4. Pēc ziemas nāk ziema
  5. Ir tādi cilvēki
  6. Pasaciņa
  7. Nav zināms
  8. Laika logs
  9. Pirmspēdējais valsis
  10. Dziļi aprakts viss
  11. Visu labu
  12. Tas skumjais klauns
  13. Manam sargeņģelim
  14. Nav jārunā

Egils Kaljo is an American-born Latvian from the New York area . Kaljo began listening to Latvian music as soon as he was able to put a record on a record player, and still has old Bellacord 78 rpm records lying around somewhere.

The vocative case: Arnis! or Arni!

Ever since living in Latvia I was puzzled about why the vocative was constantly being misused. No wonder, as many of the Latvian grammar texts only briefly touch on the topic and it rarely appears in the declension tables. It seems that even in daily emails and other digital communications the vocative case is either avoided altogether or just plain wrong. But that is about to change!

In the Latvian language the vocative case is used to address a person or object: Mārtiņ! māt! skolotāj! Ieva! It is usually formed from the nominative case minus the last letter and there are declension groups where it is identical to the nominative. Its origins come from the Sanskrit language, but many modern Indo-European languages have lost the vocative case entirely. It is still very relevant for the Baltic and also most Slavic languages.

An interesting survey was conducted several years ago from various regions in Latvia which revealed that the nominative form was used for the vocative, especially amongst the male population. Is this the influence of the Russian language which has rid itself of the vocative case? Would a survey addressing the émigré Latvians in other parts of the world show different results?

The screenshots that appear in the top of this article were collected over the last six months. Recently I nearly fell off my chair when I received an email from a major telco (telecommunications company) and staring at me was Sveiks, Arni!, but this is extremely rare. Others skirt around the issue by using a general address form such as, E-pakalpojumu lietotāj! God. LMT klient! Sveiki! or even changing the case and inserting the recipient’s name in quotes. Marketing and Communication specialists will tell you that a personalised address is much more effective.

So why the interest in the vocative? Many years ago, while studying Latvian grammar in school, rather than follow the cue of my classmates and gaze into the air, I was inspired to put my basic programming skills to the test and create a prototype to decline nouns and further digitalise the Latvian language. Deklinators was born and made available for Windows and Macintosh computer users. The same, but much improved algorithm was used years later in the Latvian Nouns app for iPhones, iPads and Android smartphones. 

About a year ago, together with professional developer Pāvils Jurjāns we embarked on an open-source project to release the Deklinators algorithm to the general developer community. Several days ago, on the 18th of November we released the first version:    

For developers: GitHub

For users: Demo website

Now there should be no reason not to use the Latvian vocative case correctly.

Valsts prezidenta Egila Levita apsveikums valsts svētkos tautiešiem visā pasaulē

Sveicināti Latvijas valsts svētkos visā pasaulē!

Šogad jau 104. reizi svinam 18. novembri – Latvijas valsts dibināšanas dienu. Tie ir mūsu valstiskuma, brīvības un demokrātijas svētki.

Šis datums vedina domāt par Latviju vairāk un dziļāk. Mēs izjūtam piederību Latvijai, izjūtam atbildību par savu valsti. Tā mums ir dārga un vienīgā. Mēs esam gatavi to aizstāvēt.

Mīļie tautieši!

Latvija kļūst latviskāka. Saeimas lēmums par pāreju uz mācībām vienīgi latviešu valodā – mūsu valsts valodā – dziļi atbalsosies nākotnē. Tā ir ļoti būtiska reforma. Latvija kļūst latviskāka, un Latvijas sabiedrība kļūs saliedētāka.

Šajās dienās sagaidām jaunu valdību. Tai ir jābūt reformu valdībai. Mūsu tautsaimniecībai jāattīstās straujāk, mūsu tautas labklājībai jāaug ātrāk.

Tādēļ sadarbībai ar diasporu jākļūst vēl ciešākai un intensīvākai. Latvijai akūti ir vajadzīgi gudri cilvēki ar rietumniecisku domāšanu. Latvijas izrāviens izglītībā, ekonomikā un citās jomās nevar notikt bez jūsu iesaistīšanās pārmaiņu procesos.

Es aicinu apvienot spēkus Latvijas reformēšanai – tikai kopīgs darbs un nesavtīgi pūliņi Latvijai ļaus pastāvēt kā attīstītai, latviskai un modernai Eiropas valstij.

Dārgie tautieši!

Šeit, man aiz muguras, jūs redzat Paula Kalniņa un Jāzepa Rancāna portretus. Tie nesen papildināja Latvijas Valsts prezidentu portretu galeriju. Viņi trimdā uzņēmās pildīt Latvijas Valsts prezidenta pienākumus okupācijas laikā. Valsts prezidenta institūcijas simtgadē augstu novērtējam viņu darbu un ticību Latvijas atdzimšanai.

Liels paldies visiem valstiskā darba turpinātājiem ārpus Latvijas!

Dārgie draugi!

Nākamajā vasarā mūs kopā pulcēs Dziesmu svētki – skaistie, latviskie svētki, kam svinēsim 150. gadadienu. Tie vieno paaudzes, tie vieno latviešus gan Latvijā, gan visā pasaulē.

Dziesmu svētki izteic mūsu nācijas esību un mīlestību uz Latviju. Būsim tajos kopā, lai kur mēs katrs atrastos!

Vēlēsim Latvijai saules mūžu!

Apsveicu visus latviešus un visus Latvijas pilsoņus mūsu valsts proklamēšanas svētkos!