What would be more natural than to put two major musical stars of the Latvian Reawakening period together on one record? Quite possibly the best known and most recognizable male and female voices from the late 1980s, Ieva Akurātere and Igo (Rodrigo Fomins), came together in 1990 to sing songs with lyrics by Igo and music by Aivars Hermanis. The result, Klusums starp mums, was originally released on vinyl in 1991 and was re-released on compact disc in 2003 as part of MICREC’s “Latviešu populārās mūzikas klasika” series.
I had picked up this record back in 1991 simply because both artists were familiar. My perception back then was that while the performance itself was of high quality, the songs were a bit lackluster. I listened to the album a few times, then filed it away somewhere amongst my parents’ large record collection. I am not sure if I listened to it again after that.
As it turns out, what I think now is not much different than what I thought then. Production and performance are first rate, but the songs aren’t strong enough to warrant regular repeat listening.
Besides Akurātere and Igo, performing on the album are Aivars Hermanis on guitars, keyboards and percussion, Eduards Glotovs on bass, and Oļegs Upenieks on percussion.
The CD is labeled as “the sexiest Latvian music album” and I will not disagree with that statement (mainly due to the minimal competition for that title among Latvian releases.) The label also gives the general idea of the album—romantic songs about love and intimacy and such things. The entire album has a very “subdued” feeling, most likely intentional, as many of the songs have Akurātere and Igo practically whispering into their respective microphones.
The CD doesn’t just have songs, but also some unusual interludes, mainly dialogue between Akurātere and Igo that seems to me a bit out of place.
Hermanis’ guitar playing is quite tasteful in a number of places, including on the song “Ēnas zīmē mūsu stāvus,” in which he plays a number of nice acoustic runs.
Probably my favorite song on the album is the final one, “Par klusumu.” The combination of Akurātere and Igo works best here. With barely more than just an acoustic guitar, the vocal melodies allow the singers to shine, and the result is a very pretty song.
I didn’t like the record the first time around because I expected something a bit different (Akurātere at the time was with Pērkons and Igo with Remix, both well-known Latvian rock bands). Perhaps I expected something more in that vein. For whatever reason, even now when I know what to expect these songs don’t really stay with me after listening.
The liner notes (which include all lyrics, as well as an essay by music publicist Daiga Mazvērsīte) state that this record was a bestseller at the time of its initial release. That shows you what I know. This is a very relaxed record. It works well as a romantic album. The record is not quite up there with, say, Marvin Gaye, but it holds its own.
If nothing else, this record once again proves the vocal talents of both Akurātere and Igo, as well as the talents of Hermanis. The remastering also sounds great. Thanks also must be given to MICREC for continuing to re-release classic and significant albums in Latvian music history—and not just those by Raimonds Pauls! Hopefully they will get to Akurātere’s solo album, too.
If you are looking for some light, romantic music that just happens to be in Latvian, look no further.
Klusums starp mums
Ieva & Igo
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