Peace, freedom, and motherhood: Weekend events guide

If you’re looking for extra activities to add to the nail-biting and whooping and hollering in front of the TV set showing the World Hockey Championship, check out what LSM’s culture editors have selected for your fun and edification on this historic weekend.

The Armed Man: A Mass for Peace

On Friday at the St.John’s Church in Old Town Riga, Welsh composer Carl Jenkins’ masterpiece Mass for Peace will be performed by the state choir Latvija, brass orchestra Riga, vocalists Ieva Parša and Ivars Cinkuss, conducted by Mārtiņš Ozoliņš.

Jenkins wrote The Armed Man in 1999, dedicating the work to the victims of the Kosovo war. The piece combines the traditions of western mass, balladry and folksong with ancient religious texts from different faiths.

Aboriginal bard or Ukrainian minimalist

Frank Yamma speaks five native languages of his inland Australia, a troubadour of the aboriginal peoples with a unique deep velvety rasp to his voice. He sings honestly of the cultural degradation experienced by his people, transcending the troubles to reach audiences well beyond his own origins. His concert Friday at the Vidzeme Concert Hall in Cēsis will be the farthest north this bard from Down Under will ever have performed.

Whereas Lubomyr Melnyk, known worldwide as the Continuous Music Man, is on a constant quest for new directions in contemporary music. Academically schooled and inspired by the minimalist movement, the Ukrainian pianist has created his own language for the ebony and ivory keys. His continuous music concept doesn’t allow for any moments of silence to interrupt the non-stop flow of sound. The bearded mystic’s enthralling performances are known for their complete immersion into the expressive sonic possibilities of his instrument. Melnyk will be performing in his inimitable style in the western Kurzeme small town of Durbe, at the Lutheran Church on Saturday.

Rock for Freedom, and remembering a music hero

Twenty years ago the Kurzeme town of Skrunda held a festival called Rock against Militarism in the fresh post-independence atmosphere.

On Saturday afternoon at 16:00 the tradition will get partly renewed with a rock concert titled Rock for Freedom, featuring current rockers Colt, The Violence of Silence and veteran stars from the Liepāja region like Ainars Virga, Tomass Kleins, Ivo Fomins and band and Bet Bet. Also on hand will be the Liepaja Guitar Orchestra, which is a sight and sound to behold on its own.

Meanwhile on Saturday night at Riga’s new venue the Daile Music House, at 19:00 a concert devoted to the memory of late Soviet-era rock guitarist and songwriter Ēriks Ķiģelis will feature his son Fēlikss Ķiģelis on guitar together with his dad’s old bandmates from the era of revolutionary Liepāja-based rock. Among the stars on hand will be singer Igo and fellow members of the legendary Līvi, not to mention many other contemporaries of the beloved pop songwriter.

A day of Spain, springtime operettas and a kids’ ensemble birthday

While the Kalnciems quarter in Riga’s Pārdaugava neighborhood will host Spain Day on Saturday, with an open-air fair and stage featuring Spanish crafts, food and flamenco music and dance. At 13:00 the band Los Daugavas Nens will play their attractive Latino music with Lettish flair, while kids can make Mother’s Day gifts of paper flowers at a special workshop.

Latvia’s own Three Tenors – Nauris Puntulis, Miervalds Jenčs and Guntars Ruņģis will delight the audience at Ziemeļblāzma Culture Palace on Saturday, Europe Day with a concert entitled A Spring of Operettas. The concert begins at 16:00.

But the children’s vocal group Dzeguzīte celebrates its 45th anniversary with a concert at the Splendid Palace cinema hall Saturday, featuring exclusively the songs of the group’s ong-standing patron Raimonds Pauls. The singing kids promise to deliver some of their greatest hits, as well as introduce the audience to some of Pauls’ lesser-known numbers in medley form.

Mother’s Day

Sunday, May 10th is Mother’s Day and there are plenty of sincere concerts and events at culture centers and churches in Riga and around the country to choose from to honor Mom.

Director Asatuurs Keim has created a lovely video dedication to Mother’s Day which could put you in the mood to attend or watch the Latvian Television concert at 21:20. The show will feature the best of Latvian vocal stars singing their favorite songs from childhood, everything from the pearls of Latvian pop, songs from cartoons, world music classics and, of course, lullabyes specially arranged for this performance by composer Kārlis Lācis.

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