Lidojošais paklājs (The Flying Carpet) began a few years ago as an amalgam of Latvian musicians from both the contemporary and folk worlds, who have sometimes collaborated with musicians and singers from other countries as well. The group performs a combination of ethnic music and original compositions, forming a pleasant type of world-inspired contemporary music.
The group’s self-titled debut compact disc, Lidojošais paklājs, is ambitious, musically interesting, and sophisticated. Ieva Akurātere (the public face of the Singing Revolution) brings years of experience in the rock, pop and acoustic genres to the group, while Zane Šmite (formerly of Iļģi) brings an intuitive understanding of Latvian ethnic music and texts. Ilze Grunte melds the two together with her masterful guitar arrangements, and Akurātere’s son, Matīss, completes the sound with the Indian tabla, Brazilian percussion instruments, and the Jew’s harp.
Together they take simple melodies and fly off with them, as if on a magic carpet. Now and again they return to the original tune, only to fly off again on another wonderful trip of variations. The song “Kur tie dzima gudri vīri” is a perfect example of such a musical journey that uses a familiar folk melody as a starting point.
To summarize, this is ethereal contemporary music with a few pieces of folk or world music thrown in for good measure. The CD contains several original works that Ieva Akurātere has either written or composed or both, such as “Uguns dzinējs,” “Atbalss,” “Ja es būtu Tu,” “Okeāns,” “Parastais brīnums,” “Vanags” and “Saules vējš.” The song “Atspulgs” was composed by Imants Kalniņš using a text by Laima Līvena. In “Laumiņas” the musicians blend a Breton folk melody, a Latvian folk melody, tabla and sitar-like sounds. The CD ends with “Kalnu balsis,” an original piece inspired by the natural environment of Norway.
The remaining four songs are contemporary interpretations of Latvian folk songs. “Div’ pļaviņas es nopļāvu” is a fantastic flight using the well-known folk tune as home base. On “Šūpo mani māmuliņa” one hears how nicely Akurātere’s and Šmite’s voices complement each other. “Tur bij’ labi talkā iet” is originally a work song that retains the necessary oomph in this rendition. “Kur tie dzima gudri vīri” sends gentle blessings to a newborn son.
When I first heard Lidojošais paklājs live, it seemed like a musically intricate yet relatively tame world music group. This recording, however, leans more heavily on Akurātere and her original compositions, rather than Šmite and her contributions from the world of ethnic music. That’s good news for fans of Akurātere. But if Akurātere’s vibrato got on your nerves back in the late 1980s, then it still will today. She’s got a great pair of lungs and folk-diva status to match them, but they’re not for everybody.
Although I’ve long been a fan of Ieva Akurātere and always support innovative interpretations of folk music, I find this CD too feminine and dreamy for my taste. A female, Eastern European version of John Denver’s Calypso, anyone? But seriously, I really do have the highest respect for these musicians, and my intellectual and musical mind very much appreciates the care and creativity that has gone into launching Lidojošais paklājs.
Div pļaviņas es nopļāvu
Kur tie dzima gudrie vīri
Ja es būtu Tu
Šūpo mani māmuliņa
Tur bij labi talkā iet
On the Web
The band’s page on the social network site draugiem.lv. LV
Where to buy
Purchase Lidojošais paklājs from BalticMall.
Purchase Lidojošais paklājs from BalticShop.
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