Latvia Awakens

Various Artists

Best of Folk Music from Latvia (Arc Music, 2008)

Although I’m usually skeptical about albums titled Best of, in this occasion, the title of this CD,  Best of Folk Music from Latvia, is quite appropriate. One of the few artists featured on the compilation that is relatively well  known in North America is Iļģi, an excellent contemporary  folk band that has toured the United states several times.

Best of Folk Music from Latvia includes some of Latvia’s best known folk groups. The musical styles vary considerably, from traditional a cappella pieces and festive accordion driven music to folk rock and even elaborate instrumental passages which show jazz and world music influences. Throughout the album one can hear a Latvian zither called kokle, which is related to the increasingly popular Finnish kantele.

Latvian folk music experienced a revival in the 1980s, while the Baltic republic was still under Soviet control. After independence, the folk movement subsided, although, according to liner notes writer Daina Zalane, "During the past couple of years as globalization and international influences have become stronger in Latvia, the search of ‘own identity" has begun anew and appreciation of own traditional heritage is rising."


Track Listing:

1. Laiksne: Gaismeņa ausa (arr. Lauma Garkalne) – 4:12
2. Auri: Videņi jūras (arr. Sniedze Grīnberga) – 2:36
3. Lidojošais paklājs & Ieva Akuratere: Šūpo mani māmuliņa (arr. Zane Šmite) – 6:09
4. Iļģi: Ai tumša nakte, zaļa zāle (music: Ilga Reizniece) – 2:56
5. Patina: Ai, māmeņa momuleņa (arr. Biruta Ozoliņa) – 3:42
6. Delve: Uguns vārdi (arr. Gvido Tobis) – 5:05
7. Kristīne Kārkle & draugi: Ai, zaļā(i) birztaliņa (arr. Kristīne Kārkle) – 4:20
8. Kokle: Neba lielas lietas dēļ (arr. Dina Liepa) – 3:39
9. Auļi: Var gan! (music: Leanne Barbo) – 4:09
10. Vilkači: Es gulu, gulu (arr. Dāvis Stalts) – 1:58
11. Skyforger: Cekulaina zile dzied (arr. Edgars Grabovskis, Kaspars Bārbals) – 4:14
12. Trejasmens: Metens sola (arr. Andrejs Planders) – 0:53
13. Ceiruleits: Ganeidama izganēju (arr. Kristīne Kārkle) – 4:23
14. Lāns: Es redzēju (arr. Ruta Stepiņa) – 2:46
15. Kalā Jeng: Pavasars (arr. Julgī Stalte) – 3:41
16. Laiksne: Tolka (arr. Lauma Garkalne) – 3:45
17. Rīsa zvejnieki: Vīra māte (arr. Zane Šmite) – 3:36
18. Visi vēji: Dziedit meitas (arr. Kaspars Bārbals) – 4:06

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Author: Angel Romero

Angel Romero y Ruiz has been writing about world music and progressive music for many years. He founded the websites and Angel produced several specials for Metropolis (TVE) and co-produced “Musica NA”, a music show for TelevisiĆ³n EspaƱola (TVE) in Spain that featured an eclectic mix of world music, fusion, electronica, new age and contemporary classical music. Angel also produced and remastered world music and electronic music albums, compilations and boxed sets for Alula Records, Ellipsis Arts, Music of the World, Lektronic Soundscapes, and Mindchild Records. Angel is currently based in Durham, North Carolina.