Notiks nenotiks, the second album by Māsas (The Sisters), was released a year ago. Their first album, Dāvā laimi, was quite the eclectic collection of tunes, so I was not really sure what to expect. But after a few times listening (as it takes a few to get into this compact disc), I found that I enjoyed Notiks nenotiks just as much as their debut.
The Māsas are still sisters Līga Celma (vocals, guitar and keyboards) and Daina Celma (keyboards and backing vocals), and sisters Ingūna Dortane (percussion, keyboards and backing vocals) and Kristīne Dortāne (guitar and backing vocals). Joining them in rounding out the group’s sound are non-sisters Mihails Zaļivko on bass and Alvils Cedriņš on drums, xylophone and backing vocals. Also appearing on the CD is a virtual army of backing musicians—violinists, flutists, trombonists and even a bagpiper. This all comes together to form one of the more distinctive collections of songs in the Latvian music world. Līga Celma composed all of the music on the album.
As with their first CD, perhaps the best word to describe this album is “eclectic.” A wide range of sounds and melodies are heard here. Māsas are certainly not your everyday, standard girl band, and it seems they have gone out of their way to develop their own sound—it is rather difficult to compare them with any other group.
Because the music is eclectic, it can be a challenge, but I think those who give the album a few spins will be very satisfied.
The album opens up with one of the “poppier” songs, “Tevi mīlu es” (with lyrics credited to the whole group), but near the end of the song there is an extended interplay between the guitar and keyboards, adding a surprising twist to the song.
Andris Ābelīte shows up to sing on “Nabadziņi” (lyrics by K. Vērdiņš), and even performs some of the lyrics in falsetto.
A favorite on the album is the simply named “Tautasdziesma,” with lyrics taken from Latvian folk songs. The track also features Māris Muktupāvels of Iļģi on bagpipes.
Also standing out on the album is the slightly vulgar song “Sūdabrālis” (lyrics by K. Vērdiņš), which appears to be an ode to a departed boyfriend. The song features “scratch” by Gatis Rozenfelds and shows the “humorous” side of the group.
Normunds Rutulis makes a guest appearance on “Mana mīļā” (lyrics also by Līga Celma), a gentle ballad that also features a very pretty piano part.
Only some of the lyrics are included in the CD booklet. More than making up for that deficiency are the pictures of the sisters in body art provided by Guna Stikāne.
Some that say there is nothing new or interesting anymore in the world of Latvian music. I would encourage anyone who says that to take a listen to this CD. The varied styles and musical arrangements make for a very enjoyable listening experience. The only potential criticism is that there are perhaps too many guests on this album. With all these extra musicians, I am curious to see how they perform in concert.
Notiks nenotiks is a very satisfying follow-up to Dāvā laimi. I hope these sisters will continue to make great music!
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