New collector’s coin entitled “Mana Latvija” released

As part of the Latvian centennial celebrations, and to find a drawing for a new collector’s coin, the Bank of Latvia initiated a children’s drawing competition.

Among 10,000 submitted drawings, the winner of the competition was Elizabete Kandere, and her drawing appears on the new collector’s coin entitled ‘Mana Latvija’ (My Latvia).

The silver coin has a mintage of 4000 and was minted by the Koninklijke Nederlandse Munt in the Netherlands. The design of the coin was prepared by artist Sandra Krastiņa and the plastic model was created by Jānis Strupulis.

For further information, please visit the Bank of Latvia’s collectors’ coin website.


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.

Second volume of history of Latvian LP recordings published

Author and LP collector Atis Gunivaldis Bērtiņš has released the second volume in his history of Latvian LP recordings, Latviešu skaņuplašu vesture (SIA Vesta-LK, 2017, ISBN 978-9934-511-26-4, 327 pages). The first volume, published in 2015, covered the years up until 1945, and this volume continues until the present day.

This volume offers an extensive history and discography, and covers both records released in Latvia, as well as internationally by diaspora communities during that time.

There are brief biographies of notable composers such as Raimonds Pauls, Uldis Stabulnieks and Zigmārs Liepiņš and artists such as Jānis Zābers, Jānis Sproģis and Andrejs Lihtenbergs.

The section on diaspora artists and groups is extensively researched. Besides including well-known groups such as Čikāgas piecīši and Trīs no Pārdaugavas, there are also sections on, for example, the Daugavas vanagi men’s choir in Canada, the men’s double quartet Tēvija, Australian singer Velta Skujiņa, the Hamilton dance group Runči, among many, many others.

The book also has interesting anecdotes and stories. The book also mentions the ongoing controversy about who is the true author of the popular song ‘Vecpiebalga’ – is it Alberts Legzdiņš or Eduards Rozenštrauhs. The author, while not being able to present a conclusion, does note that Rozenštrauhs registered the song in 1968, while Legdziņš recorded it in 1969…

There is also information about the many different diaspora record labels, with the most prolific producer of records being ‘Latvian Music’ in Sweden, who released 55 long playing records and 19 extended play records.

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.

Latest Sviests 7 folk music anthology released

The latest entry in the bi-yearly Latvian folk music anthology from the record label Lauska – Sviests 7 (LAUSKA CD071) – has been released. As with previous releases, this collects new recordings by many different Latvian folk groups, as well as performances that incorporate or have been inspired by Latvian folk music.

Joining familiar faces such as Laima Jansone, Rūta and Valdis Muktupāvels are newer groups like the dark folk ensemble Rāva, the synthesis of traditional singing with modern elements of Tautumeitas, and the Latvian rap and hip-hop folk artist Misters.

The CD booklet includes brief notes on the songs and ensembles in both English and Latvian.

For further information, please visit the Lauska web site.


Track listing:

  1. Pelīte – Tautumeitas
  2. Skan balsīnis rītā agri – Brāļi un māsas
  3. Vilciņš – RTU vīru koris Gaudeamus
  4. Īdona īzona – Elza Rozentāle un Bur Mani feat. DJ Monsta
  5. Pēdējais lībietis – Vārna
  6. Sniegi sniga – Rāva
  7. Kungi mani karā sūta – Laima Jansone un Pēteris Draguns
  8. Žū bērniņ, žū – LEILALI un Rihards Lībietis
  9. Koklītes koklēja – Rūta un Valdis Muktupāvels
  10. Sajāja bramaņi – Stiprās sievas un Raimonds Tiguls
  11. Zīmeņa – Ceidari un Kārlis Kazāks
  12. Sīvi sīvi – Trejasmens
  13. Cipu capu vāverīte – Artemisia Absinthium
  14. Ormans – Jauno Jāņu orķestris
  15. Nospiedumi – Misters
  16. Bebru regejs – Bezgalībieši
  17. Lācīts kāpa ozolā – Teikas muzikanti
  18. Smuks puisits – Skandi
  19. Saimniekdēls – Rahu the Fool
  20. Balāde par pulkvedi – Oskars Jansons
  21. Veļu laiks – Edgars Lipors

Daina Gross is editor of Latvians Online. An Australian-Latvian she is also a migration researcher at the University of Latvia, PhD candidate, formerly a member of the board of the World Federation of Free Latvians, an author and translator into English of various books on industrial history in Latvia.