Latvian folk ensemble Trejasmens perform songs from and about the Ropaži parish (in the Vidzeme region, east of Riga) in Latvia. Combining songs and stories, their albums reveal the extensive cultural and historical richness of this region.
Their latest album – Mežā un ciemā – was released in 2022, and, as per the group, this collection is dedicated to the ‘cultural and historical monuments, historical events and natural treasures’ of Ropaži.
Trejasmens, who have been performing together since the early 2000s, combine many different styles into their performances – from more traditional, even ancient styles to songs in a more modern style with electric instruments. The Latvian kokle provides the foundation for the somber ‘Divi dienas mežā gāju’, while ‘Kas redzejēa Auseklīti’, a song about going off to war, is infused with the sounds of Renaissance-era music.
The initial calmness on the album is broken by the sounds of electric guitars on ‘Ogļdeģi’, a song that would also fit in with the repertoire of Latvian metal ensemble Skyforger, ‘Juglas bērni’ is only vocals and electric guitar, but no less intense or powerful.
As on their previous album – 2018’s No Ropažnieku dzīves – the songs are interwoven with spoken stories. On Mežā un ciemā these include ‘Kūpošie Uzkalniņi’, a story about burning trees and the resulting charcoals (there are approximately 4000 such charcoal piles), as well as ‘Mazās Juglas Kaujas’ – Latvian rifleman Kārlis Baltgailis’ harrowing memories of the battle of the Mazā Jugla River during World War I.
Though most of the performances on the album are somber and serious, with mainly folk song texts, the album takes an unexpected turn at the end, concluding with the almost ‘indie rock’ style of ‘Skolas diena’, a bouncy song about the first day of school.
The CD booklet supplements these stories (in Latvian and English) with additional historical notes – like the venerable old oaks of Ropaži, the unique geological formations of the ‘Lielie Kangari’ nature reserve, and the Endzeliņi Tavern, a place that often resulted in supernatural occurrences for visitors.
Blending both ancient and modern instruments, Trejasmens present the cultural wealth of the Ropaži Parish on Mežā un ciemā. The group is deeply studied in history and archeology, and the knowledge they have gained adds to the authenticity of the performances on the album.
For further information, please visit the Lauska website.
Mežā un ciemā
Lauska CD099, 2022
- Divi dienas mežā gāju
- Kas redzēja Auseklīti
- Vēlā vakarā Kangaros
- Ropalniekam trīs dēliņi
- Kūpošie uzkalniņi
- Lielā Jugla – pavasara ceļš
- Juglas bērni
- Gadījumi Mācītājmuižā
- Mazās Juglas kaujas (Strēlnieka Kārļa Baltgaiļa atmiņas)
- Kad ar uzvaru
- Naudas māte
- Skolas diena
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