‘Turbofolk’ Oranžās brīvdienas 15th anniversary album released

Oranžās brīvdienas, who call themselves a ‘turbofolk’ group (though their music has many varied elements, including rock, punk, metal, ska, reggae, among others), celebrated their 15th anniversary in 2015 and also released their latest album Tilti, their third album after 2012’s Spīd and 2011’s Evribadi tancevaķ.

The large ensemble – nine members in total – includes Ints Ķergalvis (otherwise known as ‘Speiss’), who, in addition to vocals and guitar is the lead songwriter. He is joined by Andžs Zvirbulis on guitar and vocals, Jānis Kaličus on trombone and vocals, Jānis Puzaks on drums, Ritvars Šilkovs on saxophone and vocals, Maksims Starodubovs on trombone, vocals and guitar, Nauris Bruņinieks on trumpet and vocals, Kaspars Čakste on mandolin, guitar and vocals, and Eduards Rēdmanis on bass guitar (who has since left the group – the current bassist is Raitis Neitāls).

With such a large, varied group of musicians, it is not much of a surprise that the music is layered and dense, but even with Oranžās brīvdienas’ frenetic style, it never descends into noise or chaos – even with almost every band member providing vocals. Tilti makes for an enjoyable ride provided by one of Latvia’s leading and distinctive alternative groups.

The group’s irreverent and hyperactive style is on full display on Tilti, beginning with the song ‘Turbo traktors’, a song about, simply, how every Latvian needs a turbo tractor. Beginning with the characteristic Oranžās brīvdienas’ sound – the interplay of heavy guitars with the brass instruments, all at a rapid speed – is an appropriate introduction to this latest Oranžās brīvdienas effort. The album also includes an acoustic version of the song, which shows a more relaxed, groove-oriented version of the song.

The humorous and quite often strange lyrics by Ķergalvis weave throughout the album, for example in the song ‘Balti ceriņi’, which begins as if it were a ballad, before Ķergalvis adapts a gravelly vocal style (somewhat like the late Jānis Grodums of Līvi). In what otherwise would be romantic lyrics – ‘manā sirdī ceriņi zied’ (Lilacs are blooming in my heart), the song becomes rougher, perhaps even cynical.

The more metal aspects of the group appear on the song ‘Spridzini tiltus’, featuring the full set of vocalists joining together in a loud male choir.

Of course, it is not always at high speed – the album closes out with the heavy ballad ‘Sniegpārsla’, which is also, at five minutes, the longest song on the album. The song, about a snowflake twisting in the wind, has an epic and dramatic sound. Over guitars and mandolin, Ķergalvis repeatedly sings ‘lūdzu tev ņem mani līdz’ (I beg you to take me with you). It may very well be a parody of similar deadly serious ballads (especially because as the song proceeds, the vocals get gruffer and gruffer, nearly to the point of ridiculousness), but this kind of approach is what makes Oranžās brīvdienas so enjoyable – at no point do they ever take themselves too seriously.

Another aspect that makes Tilti enjoyable is the crisp production of sound engineer Ģirts Laumanis. With nine members, there is a significant chance that the sound can turn to mud, but the clarity and balance of all the instruments and the vocals adds to the enjoyment of the album. Still, though, one wishes the group had included the lyrics either on the CD or on their website to help understand some of the songs. Though, perhaps, the group intentionally wants the meanings of the songs to be vague, to add to their ‘mystery’!

Tilti is another satisfying entry in the Oranžās brīvdienas oeuvre, featuring their characteristic droll humor and frenzied musicianship. The originality of the music and lyrics and their unique sound make them one of the most creative and eclectic groups in Latvian music today.

For further information, please visit the Oranžās brīvdienas website

Oranzas brivdienas - Tilti



Ansamblis Oranžās brīvdienas
Biedrība HI, 2014

Track listing

  1. Turbo traktors
  2. Aizliegtie āboli
  3. Privātā pasaka
  4. Mani nelaiž
  5. Sešas pēdas
  6. Turbo pumpurs
  7. Spridzini tiltus
  8. Vēstules
  9. Balti ceriņi
  10. Sniegpārsla
  11. Turbo traktors akustiski


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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