Thunderous drum and bagpipe ensemble Auļi celebrate 20 years with recent release

Over the past two decades, drum and bagpipe ensemble Auļi have become one of the best known and most visible musical groups from Latvia. Their energetic, even thunderous, recordings and live performances have attracted listeners from all over the world.

To celebrate their twentieth birthday in 2023, Auļi released a best of compilation entitled Deviņvīru spēks, which translates literally to ‘strength of nine men’, but is also the Latvian name for the mullein plant (Verbascum Thapsus), used in a number of Latvian folk remedies. The collection includes eighteen tracks from throughout their history.

This is Auļi’s second ‘best of’ compilation, the first one being Dižducis, released in 2013 to celebrate their first decade.

Latvian folk traditions and beliefs have inspired many of Auļi’s songs, and the group has expanded their sound throughout the years with new kinds of drums and bagpipes, to further diversify their sound palette. They have released albums with songs inspired by the Jāņi, or Midsummer, festival such as ‘Līgo lauki, līgo pļavas’, and songs about the ķekatas (mummery) tradition, such as ‘Laid, māmiņa, istabā’.

Auļi have also extensively collaborated with not just other Latvian musicians, but with many international musicians, and many of the tracks on Deviņvīru spēks are such collaborations. From Latvia, Auļi have performed with the group Tautumeitas on the song ‘Dzied’ papriekšu, brāļa māsa’, and assembled a large group that included Suitu sievas, Vilkači, Tarkšķi and others, to perform the song ‘Ozoliņi’.

Auļi have also worked with many artists worldwide, such as ‘Tāltālu’ with singer Kilema from Madagascar, ‘Maijodler’ with yodeler Albin Paulus, and ‘Orbina’ with Sami joik singer Kai Somby. One of their most popular songs (whose video has reached more than seven million views) is ‘Hunnu Guren’, performed with Mongolian throat singer Batzorig Vaanchig.

The CD booklet includes some brief biographical notes and a few words about every Auļi album, and the notes are in both Latvian and English.

For further information, please visit the Auļi website.

Auļi – Deviņvīru spēks

Lauska CD102, 2023

Track listing:

  1. Sūda dziesma
  2. Auļos…
  3. Liftilugu
  4. Ozols
  5. Diņķis
  6. Tāltālu
  7. Metens
  8. Dzied’ papriekšu, brāļa māsa
  9. Maijodler
  10. Orbina
  11. Hunnu Guren
  12. Alšvangas dūdu meldiņš
  13. Ozoliņi
  14. Jūra
  15. Perkons brauca pār debesi
  16. Līgo lauki, līgo pļavas
  17. Laid, māmiņa, istabā
  18. Man bij’ kaltis kumeliņis

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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