Folk music concert in the Big Hall of the University of Latvia is included in the programme of the Latvian Song and Dance Festival since 1973. This year's Song Festival is unusual, especially, since Riga is celebrating its 800th anniversary. Thereby, this concert has also changed its conception.
Latvian music instrument kokle has lived together with Riga, around Riga and in Riga all these 800 years. The instrument has developed, techniques of playing have changed and music has become more versatile. In this concert, kokle will be played in all its glory and in all tones of sound, as we hear it today.
In the concert, we will hear pearls of folk music presented by ensembles of kokle players (all together 23 ensembles), as well as by separate groups of players - winners of the Latvian kokle ensembles' competition. Leader of the folklore group VILKI Edgars Lipors will make traditional, ethnographic kokle play early and contemporary music, whereas young tenor Jānis Kurševs will be performing folk songs.
Second part of the concert will possibly seem unusual to the greatest part of the audience. In this part, ancient history of Riga will be interpreted with sounds of classical music, whereas nowadays will be characterised by the latest works of Latvian composers, including compositions by prize winners of kokle music competition in 1999 - Romualds Jermaks and Imants Zemzaris, as well as works by Ilze Arne and Anda Beitāne. Composers Rihards Dubra and Valdis Zilveris, in their turn, have composed musical works especially for this Song Festival. Along with kokle ensembles, which are composed of professional students and graduates of musical schools, Girls' choir of Riga Dome Choir School (conductor Aira Birziņa), Early music ensemble CANTO (conductor Irēna Nelsone) and soloists - Ieva Lapiņa (kokle) and Andis Klučnieks (flute) - will also perform in this concert.
History of Riga and its residents, as well as story of kokle in connection to the flow of the River Daugava will be interpreted and all the participants and listeners of the concert will be co-ordinated by the director of the concert Anna Jansone, artist Mārtiņš Vilšķērsts, manager of the concert Sandra Zviedre and administrator Inese Rone.
Artistic director of the concert Māra Vanaga wishes everyone to enjoy the concert and have a sunny and interesting celebration of Riga's 800th anniversary.
Translated by Nanete Neimane