Magic of Latvia's kokle showcased by young maestro

Of the many musical gems in Latvia's cultural crown, perhaps none is as beloved as the kokle, the national instrument.

Now one young player is showcasing its charms with his debut album.

Namejs Kalniņš is only fifteen years old and studies at Cēsis 1st Elementary School, but he has mastered the kokle at the renowned Drabeši parish House of Crafts, which includes a kokle-making workshop and lessons for aspiring players.

"With learning to play, everything starts with repetition over and again to develop the skills," explains the musician. "First I learned ornamentation - that means taking the song and attaching something to it yourself. Finishing is the next level. Once I had mastered it, I was able to start improvisation. I'm also a street musician. When nobody was listening, I started to improvise."

 

The money Namejs made busking has been sensibly invested in his first album, which showcases his own original compositions, though showing a strong influence of the folk heritage of the kokle.

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