Tur Saulite Perties Gaja (Upett UPETTCD065, 2011)
The award-winning album Tur Saulite Perties Gaja by Latvian band Ilgi ventures into the world of the Latvian pirts. Pirts are also known as Latvian saunas. Pirts are steam baths for purifying the body and soul. In the Latvian tradition, people gently flog with a pirts slota (bundle of twigs). For Latvians this is an invigorating activity and “medicine for all ailments.”
“Good pirts keepers in Latvia are like shamans and, thankfully, they are plentiful,” says Ilgi founder Ilga Reizniece in the liner notes.
Tur Saulite Perties Gaja features original compositions influenced by traditional Latvian music. Most of the music on the album is gentle and peaceful. The musicians use a captivating mix of fiddles, guitars, kokle (Baltic dulcimer or psaltery), percussion, electric bass, beautiful vocals and even African kalimba.
Ilgi made this album as a pirt companion. “All that has been missing – a clear and unhurried, tantric, mantric, at its core – Latvian music that strengthens and, inspires before flogging or delivers after flight, but above all prolongs the feeling of joy brought about by the true Latvian pirts ritual,” adds Ilga Reizniece.
The line-up on Tur Saulite Perties Gaja includes Ilga Reizniece on vocals, violin; Maris Muktupavels on vocals, accordion, kokle (Baltic psaltery), bagpipes; Gatis Gaujenieks on vocals, electric bass, giga (trough fiddle); Egons Kronbergs on guitar; and Martins Linde on drums.
Tur Saulite Perties Gaja is a lovely and mesmeric album that illustrates the refreshing experience of a Latvian pirt.
Ilgi will be in Chicago to play at the Old Town School of Folk Music on June 30th, 2012. Read more.
Listen to samples and buy MP3s of Tur saulite perties gaja.