Labvēlīgais tips delivers basket of band’s popular songs


Kurvis is the 10th studio album by the popular Latvian band Labvēlīgais tips.

Veteran Latvian satirical and humor ensemble Labvēlīgais tips returned in 2010, after a gap of three years since its last recording, with the studio album Kurvis.

The members of Labvēlīgais tips blend satire and humor with many different and varied styles of music. They almost always succeed in recording catchy, memorable songs that often leave listeners smiling.

Whether it be the often strange lyrics (seemingly simultaneously both very deep and deceptively simple), or the deep bass of lead singer Andris “Fredis” Freidenfelds, or the musically adept performances of the rest of the band, the Labvēlīgais Tip’s popularity endures. Now past its 15th anniversary as a group, the band still packs them in for highly anticipated yearly shows at the Rīga Congress Centre.

What remains most impressive is that the group shows no sign of getting “tired.” Even after all this time, Labvēlīgais tips is still able to write songs that remain in the listener’s mind, even after only one listen. Kurvis is no exception.

Though released in 2010, these are songs that have been recorded over the past few years, and many of them have become hits. Perhaps because the band has not released a new album in a while, Kurvis is the longest—a full 18 songs. Alhough long, there is rarely a dull moment over the course of the album.

The songs are seemingly about mundane, everyday topics and events, yet many of them are memorable. One of the older songs on the album is about how having a mobile phone means that you are unable to escape certain people (“Paraparita”). A song from 2008—“Tu man virsū negāzies”—celebrates the Song Festival that year and is about the difficulties in singing in such a mass choir (people tend to step on your toes).

Labvēlīgais tips often sings about forms of transportation in Rīga, such as “10. tramvajs,” “Himalaji” and “Omnibuss.” Kurvis features a song that the band notes is a “sequel” to “10. tramvajs.” Called “Āgenskalna priedes,” it is a Latin-tinged song about a seemingly unending journey on a trolleybus through the Āgenskalna priedes area of Rīga, where every other person on the trolleybus has a dog with them, and one even has skis (in the middle of summer).

One of the most stylistically different songs the group has done is “Čiekurs – egles dēls,” which is, oddly enough, about pine cones. The song itself is in a very electronic techno style, something along the lines of German group Kraftwerk—not quite the style you would think of when singing about pine cones. In this song, the mighty fir tree gives the lowly pine cone advice, in that one shouldn’t freely give themselves to squirrels.

Politics also has been a topic that Tips sings about. This time around, there are odes to former Latvian President Vaira Vīķe-Freiberga, simply entitled “Vaira,” which is more about the travails of the former president’s tailor, who is entrusted with always preparing the most elegant of dresses. Veiled references to the controversial former deputy mayor of Rīga, Ainārs Šlesers, are found in the song “Pētergailis.” Šlesers has been known for some of his unique suggestions for improving Rīga and Latvia, and in “Pētergailis” some rather odd ideas also are presented—such as the necessity of having a second Daugava River for redirecting transportation.

Labvēlīgais tips often reference obscure places in Latvia. One of my favorite tracks on the album is “Līzespasta Disnejlenda.” Līzespasts is a small town in the north of Latvia. I am quite mystified by the lyrics, as I remain slightly unclear what Disneyland is doing in such an obscure corner of Latvia. The song, however, is quite catchy and describes all sort of amazing things that seem to happen at this Disneyland.

The songs of Labvēlīgais tips are hard to describe, as the lyrics often do not make much sense (which, I think, is part of the band’s charm). The group does have the occasional serious song, such as the title track “Kurvis.” In Latvian slang, to give someone a kurvis (a basket) is to toss them aside, and the song is about a guy who does not seem to have much luck throughout life.

Kurvis is one of the most satisfying Labvēlīgais tips albums. It has humor, a large amount of musical variety, and songs that are simply fun to listen to. Ten studio albums into the band’s career (which is more than many groups in Latvia) shows no signs of slowing down, so this latest basket of tunes is well worth checking out.



Labvēlīgais tips



Track listing:

Vai cik es skaists



Tu man virsū negāzies

Tā man iet



Biešu lauks



Mēs esam no ūdens

Čiekurs – egles dēls

Aiziet, lai notiek!

Tu mani demoralizē

Āgenskalna priedes

Es piezīmēšu Tev ūsas



Where to buy

Purchase Kurvis from BalticShop.

Note: Latvians Online receives a commission on purchases.

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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