10th folk compilation Sviests includes collaborations between Latvia and Ukraine

A tradition now two decades in the making, the Latvian folk music label Lauska releases a compilation of new folk and folk inspired recordings every two years. The latest entry – Sviests 10 – was released in 2023 and contains nineteen new recordings.

The Sviests series have always spotlighted the broad universe of Latvian folk music – from more traditional interpretations to modern arrangements. The series also balances recordings by well-known and established artists with tracks by new artists and ensembles.

Familiar names on this collection include folk group Laiksne and their song ‘Ai, jūs puiši’. Sviests 10 also includes ‘Trejdeviņi’ from Rasa, an ensemble originally founded in the 1980s and features well-known names from Latvian folk music like Rūta and Valdis Muktupāvels. Rasa had been dormant for many decades, and reunited recently to record a few new songs. The new ensemble A.I.I.Z. and their song ‘Vīri, vīri!’ features established names like veteran folk singer Zane Šmite and guitarist Ilze Grunte.

Newer names and sounds on Sviests 10 include Krāce, from the city of Krustpils, an ensemble that focuses on music from the Sēlija region of Latvia, and their contribution is ‘Līvanu polka’. Multi-instrumentalist Ivars Štubis provides the ambient folk ‘Aiz Daugavas’. All the Baltic nations are represented in the group The Baltic Sisters and friends on their song ‘Saulala’. Ukrainian singer and bandurist Darja Leleko joins cellist Kārlis Auzāns in a performance of the Latvian folk song ‘Tumša nakte’.

The CD booklet includes notes on all the artists and songs, and also notes that many of the songs and performances were influenced by the brutal Russian war on Ukraine. However, the war led to many cultural collaborations between Latvia and Ukraine, including the Ukrainian folksong ‘Kalina Malina’ performed by Latvian and Ukrainian singers united in the ensemble ‘Žurba’.

For more information, please visit the Lauska website.

Track listing:

  1. Tumša nakte – Darja Leleko, Karlis Auzans
  2. Saulīt’ vēlu vakarā – Adriāna Marta Gotlube
  3. Gaisma ausa, saule lēca – Ejueju
  4. Oldfolkdance – Aleksandrs Maijers
  5. Vīri, vīri! – A.I.I.Z.
  6. Trejdeviņi – Rasa
  7. Saulala – The Baltic Sisters, Roger Sans Guimerà, David Sitges-Sardà
  8. Jaunskungs uzkāpj augstus kalnus – MM Orķestris, Suitu sievas, Suitu vīri, Suitu dūdenieki
  9. Tumba – Saucejas
  10. Līvānu polka – Krāce
  11. Mella cūka peld pār jūru – Ogas
  12. Še dziesmiņu darināt – Garataka
  13. Seši jauni bandinīki – Dyrbyni
  14. Ai, jūs puiši – Laiksne
  15. Aiz Daugavas – Ivars Štubis
  16. Tumša tautu istabiņa – Lans
  17. Kus sa jūokšõd, unnõ īrki – Elīna Ose, Latvīte Cirse
  18. Svētais koks – Līgas pH3
  19. Kalina Malina – Vira un latviešu dziedošā apvienība Žurba

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.

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