Dzelzs vilks, Forshpil collaborate on Latvian, Yiddish album

A concert scheduled the evening of Feb. 25 in Rīga reminded me of a recently released album, Borsh, which is a collaboration between the folk-rock band Dzelzs vilks and the “modern traditional” Jewish group Forshpil.

Dzelzs vilks dates from the year of Latvia’s renewed independence, 1991. It started as a metal band, but then migrated to alternative and finally folk rock. Fronted by Juris Kaukulis, Dzelzs vilks has kept busy with concerts and recording albums. The band’s 10th album, Dzelzs Vilka Teātris was released last year.

Forshpil has been around just since 2003 and performs either as a duo or as a four-piece band. The group presents, in Yiddish, the music of the Ashkenazi Jews, but with a modern twist, combining such elements as klezmer and jazz.

Released in November on the Pasaules mūzika label, Borsh includes nine tracks that make for an interesting mix of sounds, including the vocals of Forshpil singer Aleksandra Lurje.

Besides Kaukulis, who performs vocals, the mandolin and the guitar, Dzelzs vilks on Borsh includes Kaspars Tobis on keyboards, Mārcis Judzis on percussion,  and Valērijs Cīrulis on vocals and bass. And besides Lurje, Forshpil has Iļja Šneiveiss on accordeon and reed pipe, Inna Raihmane on violin and Artjoms Vesna on percussion.

For a taste of the bands’ collaboration, watch the YouTube video of them performing “Dieviņš brauca.”


Borsh is a collaboration between the bands Dzelzs vilks and Forshpil.

Andris Straumanis is a special correspondent for and a co-founder of Latvians Online. From 2000–2012 he was editor of the website.

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