101 and more reasons for using YouTube 

You remember a Latvian song. It could be one from your childhood, or one you heard last time you were in Latvia. You’ve found the lyrics somewhere on the Web but now you have no idea what the melody is. What to do?

The answer is YouTube. Latvians worldwide have taken to this latest craze to hit the Web and have put up hundreds of examples of their favorite Latvian music, sports, TV programs and amateur home videos. 

We had a decent look at what’s up there in terms of Latvian-themed videos and potential uses of YouTube for Latvians. To start with, as with the rest of the Web, You Tube is a quagmire that needs to be waded through to reach the gems. But thankfully the gems are there and aren’t too difficult to find.

If you are a folk dancer, folk dance choreographer or a Latvian folk enthusiast, then type in “Latvian folk dancing” and you’ll get a whole range of performances from amateur to professional, from those performed by groups from the diaspora to those from Latvia. The fact is you no longer need to go hunting aimlessly for dances on the Web, they’re all there on one site.

Let’s return to the songs. How about the national and patriotic ones like “Gaismas pils,” the Latvian national anthem “Dievs, svētī Latviju!”, the awe-inspiring “Saule, pērkons, Daugava” and other legendary songs? They’re there. As are a whole host of Raimonds Pauls’ and Imants Kalnins’ compositions performed by a variety of different performers: choirs, pop singers, children’s groups (the strangest one was Dzegūzite performing a Pauls’ song in Russian).

Events from the Latvian center Gaŗezers feature quite often, as do song festival events both from Latvia and the United State. The recent Indianapolis song festival is well represented, particularly individual dances from the dance performance.

YouTube is not restricted to music and dance. Sport is big, too. Feel like watching women’s wrestling in the National Seniors Championship? It’s there. How about the Latvian hockey fans in Torino, Italy, last year? Or Andris Biedriņš’ season highlights in the most recent National Basketball Association season? Or dancesports competitions? All are there.

Also on YouTube are politics, protests, presidential speeches and interviews, and Latvian TV programs on a whole host of current affairs topics. It is great for tourists who are heading to Latvia and feel that the official tourist sites aren’t showing the whole picture. Key in words such as “Turaida” or “Brīvības piemineklis” and you’ll get tourists’ amateur videos showing Latvia from their perspective.

You’re bound to find the topic you’re looking for. Just don’t get too carried away. The site is a void you can get lost in for hours on end if you don’t keep an eye on the time. And don’t let your kids linger too long unsupervised. YouTube, just like the rest of the Internet, is a hotbed of unsavoury videos as well as the decent, wholesome ones.


Daina Gross is editor of Latvians Online. An Australian-Latvian she is also a migration researcher at the University of Latvia, PhD from the University of Sussex, formerly a member of the board of the World Federation of Free Latvians, author and translator/ editor/ proofreader from Latvian into English of an eclectic mix of publications of different genres.

2 thoughts on “101 and more reasons for using YouTube 

  1. YouTube has proved to be a wonderful way for Jumis, the New York Latvian folk dance group, to share videos of our dances. It has also been a great learning medium. Our dancers and dancers from other groups are able to watch the videos and learn the dances.

  2. Youtube has been a wonderful vehicle to showcase Latvian music. I’ve put up a few clips from the ‘Talentu Fabrika’ series, and the response has been overwhelming.

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