Latvian Radio Big Band goes on US tour

A dream come true for the Latvian Radio Big Band who are performing in New York and Washington on Monday and Wednesday with a set of Latvian music, reports Latvian Radio. 

Director Māris Briežkalns says the US tour is a great achievement for Latvian jazz music, the result of years-long hard work. 

"Our fame is spreading, and Latvian music will resound in America's most prestigious cities and halls. It's a historic tour," said Briežkalns.

They will bring a performance of Latvian songs, including Emīls Dārziņš' iconic Melancholy Waltz along with songs by Gunārs Rozenbergs, Uldis Stabulnieks, Raimonds Pauls and Kārlis Vanags.

A special treat for the audience comes in the form of jazzy interpretations of Latvian folk songs, arranged by James Morrison.

Meanwhile the big band's artistic director Kārlis Vanags said that the tour is a dream come true. 

"If, let's say, someone had dared to say five to seven years ago that we'd visit such halls on another continent, it would have seemed absolutely impossible," he said.

Jazz singer Kristīne Prauliņa will also join the tour, performing Raimonds Pauls' pieces from the Melns ar baltu album, translated into English for the tour.

The Latvian Radio Big Band performs January 8 at 7:30 PM at New York's Lincoln Centre, and on January 10 at 6 PM at the Kennedy Center in Washington.

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