Updated version of ‘Manai tautai’ recalls desire for Latvian unity

The unofficial anthem of the late 1980s National Awakening in Latvia was the moving “Manai tautai,” a song performed by Ieva Akuratere and penned by California-based Brigita Ritmane and her father, Andris Ritmanis. Now, two decades after the song rattled Soviet authorities in occupied Latvia, a group of young performers has recorded a new version.

The project to record a new version was led by Mārtiņš Otto, who assembled 11 performers for the song and video:  Intars Busulis, Artis Dvarionas, Goran Gora (real name Jānis Holšteins), Linda Leen (Linda Feldberga), Jānis Šipkēvics, Māra Holšteine Upmane, Martin Confused (Mārtiņš Dambis), Linda Ivanova, Evija Smagare, Andis Grīva and Ervīns Ramiņš.

The song calls on God to help reunite the Latvian people, who are scattered around the world. Akuratere first performed the song during the 1988 “Liepājas Dzintars” music festival. As Soviet authorities watched, the audience rose to its feet.

Akuratere, in an interview with Latvian State Television, noted that the call for unity remains relevant today.

The new version’s video, which begins with film of Akuratere performing the song, became available online on Nov. 18. Watch it on YouTube.

Linda Leen

Among performers of the new version of “Manai tautai” is singer Linda Leen.

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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