Zināšanu nekad nav par daudz!

Atskats uz Izglītības dienu un AZVV Viesu dienas semināru

2018.gada 28.decembrī Adelaides Latviešu biedrības zālē notika LAAJ Skolu nozares organizētā Izglītības diena. Tajā piedalījās 6 lektori no Latvijas un 28 dalībnieki. Vienu daļu no dalībniekiem interesēja specifiskās lekcijas par praktiskām mācīšanas metodēm, bet otru daļu piesaistīja tālmācības tēma un G.Ceplenieka lekcija par bērna ceļu uz Latvijas Skolu un jaunatnes dziesmu un deju svētkiem. 15 dalībnieku noklausījās visu lekciju ciklu. Dalībnieki bija sabraukuši no Adelaides, Melburnas, Sidnejas un viens dalībnieks bija ieradies pat no Jaunzēlandes. Bija arī daži Kultūras dienu viesi no Latvijas.

Visi lektori ir A. Ziedares Vasaras vidusskolas viesu skolotāji no Latvijas. Dace Anstrate, Gunta Kļava, Santa Iesmiņa un Ilze Jēgere mūsu vasaras vidusskolas bērniem māca latviešu valodu, Anita Šaltāne māca Latvijas ģeogrāfiju un Gints Ceplenieks māca dziedāšanu.

Lekcijas bija interesantas un praktiskas. Skolotāji izmantoja video materiālus, kuros bija redzamas viņu darba metodes, kā arī iesaistīja visus dalībniekus aktivitātēs, lai izpildītu kādu uzdevumu par ģeogrāfijas vai latviešu valodas tēmām. Bija iespēja uzdot jautājumus un saņemt atbildes ne tikai par latviešu valodas mācīšanas metodēm no skolotājām Daces un Guntas, bet arī uzzināt par mazākumtautību skolu sistēmu Latvijā no Salaspils 2.vidusskolas direktora vietnieces mācību darbā A. Šaltānes, kā arī uzzināt vairāk par to, kā Latvijā darbojas mūzikas skolas un kā mācās bērni NMV Rīgas Doma kora skolā no tās vadītāja Ginta Ceplenieka. Skolotājas Santa un Ilze bija apkopojušas savus vasaras vidusskolās Garezerā un AZVV savāktos un gatavotos materiālus apjomīgā elektroniskajā materiālā, kas būs brīvi pieejams ieinteresētajiem skolotājiem. Sūtiet pieprasījumu to pieejai uz epastu: laaj.izglitiba@gmail.com

Ieguvēji no šīs dienas bija visi. Vasaras vidusskolas vecākiem bija iespēja iepazīties ar viņu bērnu skolotājiem klātienē, bet Austrālijas skolotāji, kuri māca vasaras vidusskolā, varēja iepazīties ar saviem topošajiem kolēģiem pirms došanās uz vasaras vidusskolu.

Tomēr svarīgākais ir tas, ka Austrālijas latviešu skolu skolotāji atkal iemācījās ko jaunu. Ne jau par velti ir izteiciens : “Mūžu dzīvo, mūžu mācies!” Skolotāji nekad nepārtrauc savu izglītošanos, jo zināšanu nekad nevar būt par daudz.

Lekciju cikla noslēgumā bija brīnišķīga sajūta un pārliecība, ka AZVV bērni ir uzticēti labās rokās. Šie viesi noteikti ir ieguvums mūsu vasaras vidusskolas saimei. Īpašs paldies Gintam Cepleniekam par dāvātajiem jaunajiem materiāliem mūzikas skolotājiem!

Noslēgumā, nedaudz par AZVV Viesu dienas semināru. 2019.gada 6.janvāra pēcpusdienā Gints Ceplenieks, Anita Šaltāne un Dace Anstrate nolasīja savas lekcijas atkārtoti tiem cilvēkiem, kuri aizņemtības dēļ Kultūras dienu laikā nepaspēja piedalīties Izglītības dienā. Neskatoties uz to, ka es lekcijas klausījos otro reizi, skolotāji bija pratuši tās padarīt tik interesantas, it kā klausītāji tās dzirdētu pirmo reizi, jo tika rādītas un pielietotas jaunas mācību metodes un video materiāli. Patiešām apbrīnojami radoši skolotāji! Viesu dienas semināra lekcijas noklausījās 10 interesenti.

Vēlreiz pateicos LR IZM un LVA par šo lielisko izdevību. Pasākumu līdzfinansē Latviešu valodas aģentūra no Izglītības un zinātnes ministrijas budžeta programmas “Valsts valodas politika un pārvalde”.

Lena Rumpe ir LAAJ Skolu nozares vadītāja

Folk songs about war on album by Latvian folk group Rāva

Rāva, a band from Rīga, Latvia that came together in 2014, describe their style as ‘dark, experimental folk’. Using extensive sound effects and synthesizers, as well as traditional instruments, their interpretations of Latvian folk songs tend towards the solemn and weighty, and their live performances are also enhanced by performance art elements.

This approach to Latvian folk music, while unique, is perhaps not at all surprising, considering the nature of many Latvian folk songs. A significant number are sad, if not tragic, with their tales of death, war, orphans, as well as life’s difficulties.

The group released their self-titled debut album in 2018, and the songs are all almost entirely based on folk songs about war. The ensemble was founded by ethnomusicologist and vocalist Ilze Ceļmillere, and she is joined by guitarist and sound effects specialist Toms Ceļmillers, Emīls Zonne on vocals, mandolin and flute, as well as vocalist Eduards Plankājs and Viesturs Āboltiņš on vocals and bass. Initially, this collection of songs was gathered as Ceļmillere’s thesis work, and was presented as the performance art work ‘Vārna krāca ozolā’, and later the group recorded the songs to create this album.

The record begins with ‘Sniegi sniga’, a radically different interpretation of the folk song that inspired the popular song ‘Zibsnī zvaigznes aiz Daugavas’ (arranged by composer Jānis Lūsens and originally performed by singer Mirdza Zīvere in the mid-1980s). While Lūsēns’ version was a sweet and tender song, Rāva present it more as an ominous, fatalistic song about war approaching, with Ceļmillere intoning the words over sound effects and a slow bass line to enhance the feeling of dread.

As the songs on the album are about war, this may remind listeners of a similar album Dzelzīm dzimu by the ensemble Vilki, which also contained war songs. Both albums feature interpretations of the song ‘Vīri, vīri, nebūs labi’ (on the Rāva album it is called ‘Vārna krāca ozolā’). Rāva’s version of this song about preparing for war is melodic, with the band members providing harmonies over arpeggiated chords, with a bit of discordance at the end, provided by the flute and guitar.

The album moves more towards the area of sound and performance art with the track ‘In Memoriam’, which does not include any vocals, but is based around a recording of former Latvian Legion member Laimonis Ludzenieks (who passed away in 2017, and this song is dedicated to his memory). Against a backdrop of unsettling sound effects, Ludzenieks tells of his quite terrifying personal experiences in battle, as well as foreboding dreams and visions he had during the conflict, including one where his mother comes to him to warn him of the difficult day he will have.

Over a sparse accompaniment Rāva create a heartbreaking vision of the song ‘Uz kariņu’, a song that is also about departing for war, as the soldier turns around to see all his family members crying, and the finality and despondency of all those involved is expressed in Rāva’s performance.

On their debut album, Rāva, with their dark and experimental interpretations of Latvian folk songs about war, have woven together an engaging and thought provoking album. Using sounds effects and many dim and shadowy musical colors and textures, the group has created a record that, while truly dark and even bleak at times, is still quite affecting and moving. Of course, not everyone may enjoy this collection of songs due to their weighty nature and dark atmosphere. Many of the songs, with their slow, deliberate pace, may remind some of funeral dirges. Still, Rāva have indicated that this record concludes their exploration of war themes, and will explore other Latvian folk themes in the future. Rāva’s interpretations of folk songs about war will remind the listener of the tragic toll that war has taken on Latvia throughout the centuries, as well as the grim reality of conflict, and this is richly reflected in Rāva’s performances.

For further information, please visit the Rāva Facebook page.

Rāva

NABA Music / Melo Records, 2018

Track listing:

  • Sniegi sniga
  • Vārna krāca ozolā
  • Bāliņš
  • In Memoriam
  • Uz kariņu
  • Tiderā
  • Projām jāiet
  • Baltaitiņa
  • Veratiesi vara vārti

Egils Kaljo is an American-born Latvian from the New York area who lives in Rīga, Latvia. When not working in the information technology field, he sings in the Latvian Academy of Culture mixed choir Sõla, does occasional translation work, and has been known to sing and play guitar at the Folkklubs Ala Pagrabs in Old Rīga. 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.

Latvian Voices album of Christmas music – with a touch of melancholy

The female vocal ensemble Latvian Voices have enjoyed much international success, achieving renown not just for their singing ability, but also for their varied, interesting repertoire and arrangements. Christmas music has also long been a part of their repertoire, but, up until recently, they usually performed outside of Latvia (mainly in Germany) in the Advent and Christmas seasons.

However, in 2016, the group performed its first Advent concerts in Latvia, and also recorded their performance in the Rīga Torņakalns Lutheran Church, and released a CD of this event, entitled Mazie, skumjie ziemas svētki at the end of 2017, a collection of Christmas and winter solstice songs, with both traditional songs and original compositions. This is actually their third album of Christmas music, the first being Seventh Heaven (2010), and the second was Zeit der Wunder, a collaboration with German vocal ensemble Viva Voce, which was released in 2014.

The members of the ensemble for this performance are group leader Laura Jēkabsone, as well as Zane Stafecka, Beāte Locika, Dita Belicka, Andra Zvejniece and Marta Lortkipanidze.

The group explains the meaning of the title of the album – Mazie, skumjie ziemas svētki (or – A Little Christmas Melancholia) – by saying ‘during the time before Christmas, many of us experience a kind of melancholia; we hear our inner voice a bit clearer and spend more time thinking about things that really and genuinely matter.’ That describes much of what is on the album – beautiful, deep, but with a touch of melancholy.

The atmosphere is set at the beginning with the concert, with a brief introduction that is a quiet, mystical interpretation of the Christmas song ‘Kas ir šis bērns’ (the Latvian version of ‘What Child is This?’, itself set to the famous English folk song melody of ‘Greensleeves’). This brief introduction then leads into the lively original work ‘Satikšanās’ by Jēkabsone.

Though there are certainly many elements of melancholy on the album, that is not to say there are no happier and more uplifting moments. For example, the joyous ‘Totari’, inspired by Latvian folklore, but with a new melody by Jēkabsone, is brought to vivid life by the soaring voices of the singers and percussion.

Alongside traditional Christmas songs like ‘O Come, O Come Emmanuel’ and ‘See, Amid the Winter’s Snow’ are also performances of Latvian folk songs with a winter solstice theme, such as ‘Sidrabiņa lietiņš lija’ and ‘Pūtiet guni’, as well as the Liv song ‘Zingi pringi’.

One of composer Raimonds Pauls’ most beloved melodies is his music for the song ‘Circenīša Ziemassvētki’, with lyrics by Aspazija. The song is about a poor mother and son who do not have enough money for bread, but she tells him a magical story of traveling to the moon and all the amazing things he will find there. Though a sad song, the mother’s tale provides for hope, and the singers present a truly tender and beautiful version of this song (arranged by Jēkabsone) as a fitting and memorable end to this slightly melancholic concert and season.

Often reserved and introspective, other times vivacious and rousing, Mazie, skumjie ziemas svētki is an ideal accompaniment for the Christmas and winter seasons. Combining interpretations of traditional Christmas songs, Latvian folk songs, as well as original works, Latvian Voices display again their many talents in singing and arranging. Tranquil and peaceful, Mazie skumjie ziemas svētki and the rich and sonorous voices of all the singers, with a small touch of melancholy, makes for wonderful listening for a calm Christmas evening.

For further information, please visit the Latvian voices website.

Mazie, skumjie ziemas svētki

Latvian Voices

2017

Track listing:

  • Intro – Kas ir šis bērns?
  • Satikšanās
  • Coventry Carol
  • O Come, O Come Emmanuel
  • See, amid the Winter’s Snow
  • Pūtiet guni
  • Zingi pringi
  • Sidrabiņa lietiņš lija
  • Totari
  • Ave Maris Stella / Zvaigzne spožākā
  • Ziemas miers
  • Ziemas stāsts
  • Mazie, skumjie ziemas svētki
  • Circenīša Ziemassvētki

Egils Kaljo is an American-born Latvian from the New York area who lives in Rīga, Latvia. When not working in the information technology field, he sings in the Latvian Academy of Culture mixed choir Sõla, does occasional translation work, and has been known to sing and play guitar at the Folkklubs Ala Pagrabs in Old Rīga. 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.