The folklore group Vilki, known for its interpretations of Latvian war songs and the life of the warrior from ancient times through the World War II partisans, is coming to the United States for a 16-city tour in April and May.
Formed in 1992, the group is led by Edgars Lipors and includes eight men. However, only five will be on the U.S. tour, which will commence on April 19 in Seattle, Wash., and conclude May 15 in St. Petersburg, Fla.
Vilki, according to the ensemble’s Web site, traces its roots back to 1980 when a history teacher formed an interest group to examine soldiers’ songs. Twice disbanded, the group in 1987 was reformed as the ensemble Liepavots. In 1992, the group reorganized again and became Vilki.
The group draws its material from folk music collections and from its own efforts to collect the memories of soldiers who fought during World War I and II. In addition, group members have learned ancient crafts, such as making music instruments or clothes.
The group released its latest album, the compact disc Aši, aši zīle dzied, in 2002. Vilki began to gain wider popularity with the 2000 release of Dzelzīm dzimu, part of Upe Recording Co.‘s “Latvian Folk Music Collection.”
The U.S. tour will feature 90-minute concerts, according to Maija Zaeska of Minnesota, who is organizing the event. The first half of a concert will feature ancient warrior songs, while the second half will focus on the strēlnieki (the legendary Latvian riflemen of World War I) and the leģionāri (members of the Latvian Legion formed by the occupying German forces during World War II).
The concert tour is organized by the Latvian Welfare Association Daugavas Vanagi and the Cultural Society TILTS, with support from the Latvian government’s Secretariat of the Special Assignments Minister for Social Integration.
Concerts are scheduled in:
- Washington at 7 p.m. April 19 in the Latvian Center, 11710 3rd Ave. N.E., Seattle. For further information contact Jānis Kramēns at +1 (425) 941-2753.
- Oregon at 2 p.m. April 21 in the Oregon Latvian Center, 5500 Dosch Road S.W., Portland. For further information contact Dace Garuta at +1 (503) 259-9557.
- California at 1 p.m. April 23 in the Latvian Community Center
1955 Riverside Drive, Los Angeles. For further information, contact Teodors Lilienšteins at +1 (323) 463-1362.
- Colorado at 7 p.m. April 25 in the Latvian Culture Center of Colorado
10705 W. Virginia Ave., Lakewood. For further information, contact Aleks Humeyumptewa at +1 (303) 733-9495.
- Minnesota at 7 p.m. April 27 in the Latvian House, 2337 Central Ave. N.E., Minneapolis. For further information, contact Maija Zaeska at +1 (763) 972-2521.
- Wisconsin, at 7 p.m. April 28 in the Latvian House of Milwaukee, 8845 W. Lynx Ave., Milwaukee. For further information, contact Sandra Medne, +1 (414) 963-8623.
- Illinois at 7 p.m. April 29 in the Latvian House, 4146 N. Elston Ave., Chicago. For further information, contact Armands Birkēns, +1 (773) 282-6510.
- Michigan at 12:30 p.m. April 30 in the Kalamazoo Latvian Hall, 100 Cherry Hill Drive, Kalamazoo. For further information, contact Malda Pūtele, +1 (269) 353-8320.
- Indiana at 7 p.m. May 2 in the Latvian Community Center, 1008 W. 64th St., Indianapolis. For further information, contact Eižens Lemke, +1 (317) 409-5825.
- Ohio at 7 p.m. May 3 in the United Latvian Ev. Lutheran Church of Cleveland, 1385 Andrews Ave., Lakewood. For further information, contact Olģerts Kubuliņš, +1 (216) 676-9166.
- Massachusetts at 7 p.m. May 5 in Latvian Ev.-Lutheran “Trimda” Church of Boston, 58 Irving St., Brookline. For further information, contact Vija Lince, +1 (781) 762-1741.
- New York at 7 p.m. May 6 in the New York Latvian Ev.-Lutheran Church, 254 Valentine Lane, Yonkers. For further information, contact Jānis Riekstiņš at +1 (516) 674-8802.
- New Jersey at 2 p.m. May 7 in the Latvian center Priedaine, 1017 Highway 33 East, Freehold. For further information, contact Jānis Students at +1 (732) 836-9750.
- Pennsylvania at 1 p.m. May 10 in the Latvian Society of Philadelphia, 531 North 7th St., Philadelphia. For further information, contact Maija Medne at +1 (856) 227-2520.
- Maryland and the District of Columbia area at 8 p.m. May 13 in the Latvian Ev.-Lutheran Church of Washington, D.C., 400 Hurley Ave., Rockville. For further information, contact Ilmārs Dambergs, +1 (301) 424-8217.
- Florida at 5 p.m. May 15 in the Latvian American Center, 1705 9th Ave. N., St. Petersburg. For further information, contact Andris Ritums, +1 (727) 797-1933.
More information about the folklore group Vilki may be found on the ensemble’s Web site, home.parks.lv/vilki.
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