The women’s Latvian folk group Laiksne has, for more than twenty years, been one of the premiere folk ensembles in Latvia. Exuberant performances, rich arrangements, and joyous songs have been the hallmark of Laiksne’s recordings, and this is evident on their latest album – 2021’s Ko zinu gaidīt. After an eight-year gap since their last album (2013’s Es čigāna meita biju), Ko zinu gaidīt is a long awaited follow-up, and does not disappoint.
Many of Laiksne’s albums have an overall theme, and for Ko zinu gaidīt, the album’s songs chronicle a Latvian woman’s life – from birth to marriage. As on their other albums, the group gathers their materials from folk archives (each song lists who originally sang the song and who wrote down the song, as many of the songs were catalogued during various folklore ‘expeditions’ in Latvia throughout the 20th century).
The gently flowing “Ko jauna būdama”, about a girl who planted flowers and made a wreath of roses, shines with the sound of the stabule (reed pipe), while “Nepūta taures” features the sound of the kokle as well as Laiksne’s rich vocal harmonies.
The cheery “Šovasar es valkāju” is about a girl choosing between two suitors, while the similarly up-tempo “Miegs man nāca” is about working hard even when one is sleepy.
The delicate “Ieva”, about a young girl getting ready to be married, is full of tenderness as the girl tries to cheer her despondent mother. Laiksne’s performance of the song captures the sadness of the mother as well as the empathy of the daughter’s reassurances that she will never be far away. In a similar vein, the wistful “Dzīžu, dzīžu vīna pate” is a song about a girl who must sing all alone, as her sisters are away in Latgale – but they still all plan on meeting at their brother’s house.
“Leigoj pologs”, a somber song about a girl struggling to find an acceptable suitor, is performed a capella, and though there are no instruments, the vocal harmonies bring forth the sadness, even bitterness of the song. The song ends on a caustic note, as the mother asks the daughter what married life is like, and the daughter replies “you should know.”
The album closes with the atmospheric “Es piedzimu pie māmiņas”, a song that features vocalists from multiple generations, among them Ilga Reizniece from post-folk group Iļģi, is about the birth of a girl who then is raised by her mother but is also cared for by the Latvian goddess Laima. The sparse instrumentation brings out the power of the words, as well as accenting the idea that Laima will determine the girl’s destiny.
Though in their third decade of performance, Laiksne are still full of vitality and vigor, and Ko zinu gaidīt, with its songs from throughout a young woman’s life, is imbued with tenderness and warmth, as well as joy and humor.
For further information, please visit the Laiksne Facebook page
Ko zinu gaidīt
Lauska CD094, 2021
- Ko jauna būdama
- Es pazinu to meitiņu
- Nepūta taures
- Šovasar es valkāju
- Jaizalaide mān sauleite
- Leigoj pologs
- Zīdi, zīdi
- Riti, riti
- Miegs man nāca
- Dzīžu, dzīžu vīna pate
- Es piedzimu pie māmiņas
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