West Coast song festival opens in California

The 14th West Coast Latvian Song Festival in San Francisco, which includes presentation of two musicals as well as a concert by the post-folkloric group Iļģi, begins Aug. 28 and runs through the Labor Day weekend.

This is the third time the festival has been held in San Francisco. The first West Coast festival was in 1962 in Seattle, Wash.

While the festival mainly draws visitors from Latvian communities in California, Oregon and Washington, visitors and participants are expected from throughout North America, as well as from Lativa.

Among highlights of the festival will be two musicals, “Gudrais padomiņš” and “Tobago.”

“Gudrais padomiņš,” a one-act musical, was created by children and parents of the Los Angeles Latvian School. The play was written by Andra Berkolda, lyrics by Andris Ritmanis and music Lolita Ritmane. The musical premiered in June in Los Angeles and will be presented in San Francisco on Aug. 29.

“Tobago,” a musical penned by poet Māra Zālīte, is based on historical events during the 17th century colonization of the Caribbean island by the Dutchy of Courland. The musical, already shown in Latvia, will be performed by actors from the Daile Theatre of Rīga and the Little Theatre of San Francisco. The performance is Aug. 30.

Iļģi, on tour in the western and eastern United States during August and September, is scheduled to perform Aug. 29 during the song festival. This is the band’s second tour of the United States. The band recently released a new album, Kaza kāpa debesīs.

Further information about events is available on the song festival Web site.

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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