More songs about ordinary people and things

Mūzika iereibušiem cilvēkiem

Labvēlīgais Tips has established itself as one of the premier Latvian rock acts. The group has carved out a niche thanks to its unique blend of accomplished musicianship and sense of humor. But the group’s songs about ordinary people and ordinary things, in my opinion, are mainly what have given Labvēlīgais Tips its longevity and sustained popularity.

In a break from tradition, April 1, 2002, did not see a new Labvēlīgais Tips album. Having released seven recordings over the past years, and always on April 1, for whatever reason the group decided to take a bit more time with its eighth, releasing the album Mūzika iereibušiem cilvēkiem in late 2002.

If that was the case, then I am glad that the group put a bit more time into this one. Mūzika iereibušiem cilvēkiem is a great album, full of classic Tips tunes.

The album starts off with the uptempo “Trakais,” an ode to crazy people and, apparently, a satirical poke at much of the goings on in the Latvian government. Lead singer Andris Freidenfelds intones in his least sincere, nasally best, “Es līdz šim latviešu tautai neko sliktu neesmu izdarījis un turpmāk apsolos arī nedarīt!” (“Until now I haven’t done anything wrong to the Latvian people, and in the future promise not to do anything wrong!”). It’s a very catchy song and an instant Tips classic.

Songs about ordinary things often times have extraordinary results in the world of Labvēlīgais Tips. A perfect example of that is my favorite tune on the compact disc, “Par riekstiem,” a song about, well, nuts! Singing such dreadfully serious lyrics as “Par riekstiem, es dziedu šo dziesmu svarīgo” (“I sing this important song about nuts”) makes the listener burst out laughing. A “hidden” track on the CD is a demo of this song, and Freidenfelds himself starts cracking up halfway through and cannot finish it!

Another favorite is “Gunvaldis un Nataly,” a song about Gunvaldis, who sadly must spend his name day alone. He longs for his neighbor, Nataly, but realizes that unfortunately he will just get drunk and fall asleep by himself.

The song “11.septembris” is not actually about the events of that day, but is more of an “enjoy life while you can” kind of song. My favorite line is, “Ja griesti ir, tad grīda būs” (“If the ceiling is there, then the floor will be there, too”).

As is usual for Labvēlīgais Tips, the packaging of the album is pretty minimal. No lyrics are provided (they would be helpful when trying to decode some of these songs), but you do get a picture of the band members with what look like paper plates on their ears and fake bunny rabbit teeth.

As with most every Labvēlīgais Tips release, many of the songs might be impenetrable to Latvians who not have spent an extended time in Latvia. But don’t let that scare you away. I still really enjoyed this CD, even though I have never lived in Latvia and haven’t the foggiest what some of the songs are about.

Mūzika iereibušiem cilvēkiem is a welcome addition to the Labvēlīgais Tips discography, a return to form by one of Latvia’s most enduring and popular groups. Containing a number of classic songs, this CD shows that the band is still going strong.


Mūzika iereibušiem cilvēkiem

Labvēlīgais Tips

MICREC,  2002

MRCD 190

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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