Singer Naumova readies for North American tour

It was a little after 4 p.m. earlier this month when Marija Naumova answered her mobile phone. The constant drone in the background belied that she was behind the wheel, driving somewhere in Rīga. “We could talk now, but it would be better if you’d call back in 15 minutes,” Naumova said to a reporter in the American Midwest.

Fifteen minutes later the background noise was gone, although Naumova sounded as if she had just caught her breath.

Small wonder: The popular singer had just wrapped up a trio of performances as part of her “Divas sejas” show in three different Latvian cities, was readying for another concert and, apparently, just beginning to think about her upcoming tour of North America. Also on Naumova’s calendar is next spring’s “Sound of Music” show in Rīga featuring Baltic artists.

A year and a half after her Eurovision Song Contest victory in Tallinn, Estonia, the singer and her team are as occupied as ever.

At least Naumova has had some time off. After a busy spring and summer, including co-hosting the Eurovision Song Contest in Latvia, Naumova and her yoga instructor headed off to India to relax.

“It was fantastic,” Naumova said of her two weeks near the Tibetan border. While the trip’s influence might not be heard immediately in her music, Naumova said she’s found a “simple peace.”

She’ll need it.

In late November and early December, a skeleton crew will be in Canada and the United States, traveling to 10 Latvian communities to perform a baker’s dozen of concerts with material from several of Naumova’s recent albums, as well as some new songs.

“It will all be live,” the singer said of the North American shows. Band members are to include a guitar player, a percussionist and a synthesizer player, Naumova explained.

“And, of course, the voice,” Naumova added with a light laugh.

Most audiences may expect to hear material from her album Noslēpumi, released last year, as well as work inspired by her collaboration with composer Raimonds Pauls. Shows at The Note in Chicago and at the American Latvian Youth Association congress in California might include songs from her 2001 French album, Ma voix, ma voie, and perhaps some material in English, she explained. (Naumova, who was educated in law, speaks five languages, including her native Russian, Latvian, English, French and Italian.)

The exact set list will be driven by a sense of what the audience is like, Naumova said.

The singer won’t be focusing just on entertaining Latvian audiences. Meetings are planned with American record producers, too, she said, but declined to discuss details. Besides Latvia, her albums so far have been released in France and Germany.

The North American tour will place Naumova in Chicago for two concerts on Nov. 23; in Kalamazoo, Mich., on Nov. 24; in Minneapolis, Minn., on Nov. 26; at the ALYA congress in Los Angeles on Nov. 29; in Indianapolis, Ind., on Dec. 2; in Cleveland, Ohio, on Dec. 4; in Toronto for two shows on Dec. 6; in St. Petersburg, Fla., on Dec. 10; in New York on Dec. 12 and 13; and at the Priedaine camp near Freehold, N.J., on Dec. 14. This will be Naumova’s second time in the United States. She performed last year at the Baltic Celebration concert in Washington, D.C.

The concert tour is sponsored by ALYA and the New York-based cultural organization Tilts.

Marija Naumova

Popular Latvian singer Marija Naumova will tour North America in late November and early December. (Photo courtesy Baltic Records Group)

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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