Latvia Weekend Events: Remembering the barricades

The time after New Year is spent in a cultural vacuum that starts filling up again about mid-January. However, as everyone in Latvia, or at least one of their relatives, has a story about the bravery of the 700,000 people who took part in the barricades, LSM's culture editors chose to dedicate this events guide to the history crossroads on which the Baltics stood 25 years ago. 

Remaking the barricades at Doma Square

On January 15 and 16 the Doma Square will see a barricade reconstruction event.

Young people from the Youth Guard, cadets from the Latvian National Defense Academy, as well as volunteers and barricade participants will spend 24 hours by fires and try to restore the feeling of the barricades.

Visitors will be able to see the trucks that were a part of building the barricades at the Doma Square.

Musicians will perform both by the fires and on a stage that takes part on a truck. The band Pērkons will perform alongside folklore ensembles, choirs and orchestras. 

Photos and recordings from the precarious times will be accessible on site.

On January 16 starting 11 AM the Those Who Dare movie by Ólafur Rögnvaldsson will be relating the struggle of former Icelandic Foreign Minister Jón Baldvin Hannibalsson and his Danish counterparty to help the Baltic democratic movement at a time when the rest of the West stood silent. The movie will be screened on Latvian Television January 19 at 10 PM . 

The reconstruction of the barricades will take place from 3 PM January 15 to 3 PM January 16. 

Meet the protagonists

Meet the barricade heroes on page and on video in the conference at the Latvian Academy of Sciences, starting at 10 AM January 15. The Barricades: civil resistance to the anti-national powers and its lessons conference will feature documentary screenings along with photo exhibits from the barricades. LSM's Latvian-language service is broadcasting the conference as this piece is being written.

While the Latvian National History Museum on January 16 will invite Dainis Īvāns, a journalist and a leading political figure in the struggle for the Latvian independence. Īvāns, now a researcher at the museum, will answer questions and talk at Brīvības boulevard 32 at 12 noon. 

In the Boulevard of Freedom

The Latvian Culture Academy together with the Ministry of Culture and the 1991 Barricades Participants' Association will storm the Ķīpsala exhibit hall on January 16 at 3 PM.

The In the Boulevard of Freedom remembrance event will feature videos and poetry performed by the Daugavpils New Dramatic Theater students, while memories of the participants in the barricades will be related by students of the Latvian Culture academy. 

The event, in addition to featuring movies and performances, will also bring music from the Jauno Jāņu orchestra, the Raxtu raxti ensemble, the rock band ElektroFolk, the Sōla choir of the Latvian Culture Academy along with the SPO wind instrument of the Riga Technical University, and finally the singer Aleksandra Špicberga.

Honorable mentions

Many other events dedicated to the barricades will take place later on in the month, culminating in the official memorial day on January 20. However some of the events are still worth mentioning despite that they are not directly related to the barricades.

The Latvian Metal Music awards will be handed 7 PM on January 15 at the Melnā Piektdiena club. 

While the Nabaklab music club January 15 at 9 PM will host the first of the Pretējības song anthology concert featuring pieces with lyrics from Latvian grande dame Aspazija. Listen to it here

While the post-folk band Rikši will perform on January 16 at 6 PM at the Gors concert hall in Rēzekne, celebrating their fifth anniversary.

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