Concert marks independence, hockey championship

Ten of thousands of Latvians jammed the Daugava River shoreline in downtown Rīga on a sunny and warm spring evening to listen to a free rock music concert May 4 commemorating Latvia’s 1990 declaration of renewed Independence.

Many popular groups were included in the show’s lineup, which also served as a warmup to the International Ice Hockey Federation’s World Championship, scheduled May 5-21 in Rīga.

Latvia on May 4, 1990, declared its renewed independence from the Soviet Union.

New groups such as Z-scars, Astro’n’aut and Melo-M were among the evening’s first groups to perform during the show on 11.novembra krastmala. Later on in the evening prominent groups performed including Pērkons, Menuets, Bet Bet, Jumprava and Lādezers.

Many hit songs performed during the evening were sung in unison by the energetic crowd. Autobuss debesīs closed the concert portion of the show, which ended with a spectacular fireworks show.

The crowd also was treated to scenes from Latvian hockey’s greatest moments on giant television screens as well a a taped good luck message to the Latvian hockey team from Latvian President Vaira Vīķe-Freiberga. —Raitis Freimanis in Rīga

Raitis Freimanis lives in Stockholm, Sweden, and is a founding member of the Latvian-Canadian band Skandāls.

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