Compilation honors career of the other Fomins

Labākās dziesmas

One of the most recognizable voices of the Liepāja rock scene has always been Ivo Fomins. To honor his career so far, MICREC this summer released the compilation compact disc Labākās dziesmas.

Brother of legendary Latvian singer Igo Fomins, Ivo has always tended toward a harder rock sound while Igo—despite having spent time in the hard rock band Līvi—leaned more towards pop songs as well as theater music. Although he has often been in his brother’s shadow, Ivo established himself as a star in recent years, particularly through his work with Tomass Kleins in the duo Fomins un Kleins. Sadly, they have disbanded, supposedly due to the standard “creative differences,” with Fomins looking more towards a heavier sound in their music and Kleins embracing popular music. These trends are made clearer by the more aggressive sound on Fomins’ solid 2006 solo CD Palikt vienam, while Kleins went on to work with rising pop star Andris Ērglis in the group Cacao.

Fomins’ career did not start with Fomins un Kleins, but the duo’s popularity brought him many new fans. One of the first groups he performed with professionally was Neptūns during the mid 1980s. He was also one of the members of Liepājas brāļi. Other groups with which he has been associated include Libau and Melnā princese, where he performed with guitarist Felikss Ķiģelis. In 2003, he began work with Kleins, producing two excellent albums—2003’s Muzikants and 2004’s Dzimis Latvijā—and even participated in 2004’s Eurovision Song Contest with the tune “Dziesma par laimi.”

The bulk of the Labākās dziesmas collection is taken from the two Fomins un Kleins albums,  but two of their bigger hits, “Solījums” and “Sniegs,” are conspicuous by their absence. There is also an unreleased track, “Uz neatgriešanos.” It is odd that no space was found for another track, “Notiks tā kā jānotiek,” which can only be found on the collection 100% svaigs Nr. 8. But no matter. The work of the duo was outstanding and they produced some of the best Latvian pop-rock songs in recent memory.

Many of the tracks have been newly re-recorded, including one Fomins un Kleins song, “Muzikants.” The albums also has one completely new song, “Mēs dzīvojam pasakās.” I think it would have been far more interesting to hear the originals, so that one could follow the progress of this singer, but since many of these older recordings are no longer available, new versions are just as good. Songs re-recorded include the old Līvi track “Sniega velns,” as well as “Viņa raud,” from his solo album Palikt vienam. Both songs feature singer and actress Ieva Pļavniece, with whom Fomins performed on the Latvian reality TV show “Zvaigžņu lietus” earlier this year. Also re-recorded are two songs from Melnā princese, “Melna saule” and “Lūdz lai.” The song “Viena dziesma” from the new theater work “Liepājas stāsts” is included, too.

Lyrics for a few of the songs are offered in the liner notes, as well as chords for “Viņa raud.” Unfortunately, no real biographical information is included about the singer, and it is not made clear with which groups he originally recorded the older songs.

Otherwise this is an excellent set from an excellent vocalist. It is unfortunate that Fomins un Kleins broke up, since the best songs on this set are from the duo. Also, the songs chosen for this set do not indicate the heavier direction that Fomins went with his solo album. They seem to be re-recorded with a more “popular” sound for a larger audience. In any case, it is great to have these older songs, as well as the best of Fomins’ more recent work, all on one CD. As one of the most distinctive voices to have come from Liepāja, it is a well-deserved honor.


Labākās dziesmas

Ivo Fomins

MICREC,  2008

MRCD 385

Where to buy

Purchase Labākās dziesmas from BalticShop.

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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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