Vote for the Latvian entries in pan-European songbook

The Latvian vote to include six songs into a pan-European song book started on Friday, with voting available on the EU Songbook website from January 29 to March 29. Latvia is the fifth EU country participating in the vote. 

The idea to create an EU-wide song book was conceived by a Danish nonprofit. Since May 9 last year more than 10,000 people from Denmark, Austria, Greece, and Sweden have participated in the vote.

"If we Europeans want to step back from just the economy – coal, metals, and fish – and to direct ourselves towards culture, we have to take the leadership of Europe into our own hands," Jeppe Marsling, the founder and president of the European Union Songbook said about the project. 

"Let's start with saying that Europe belongs to us – the people of Europe – before it does to any politician or bureaucrat," he said.

The Latvian song book was edited by Rūta Kanteruka, head of Latvian Music Teacher Association. She answered a few questions over the EU song book and the Latvian nominations.

"I think that the nominated songs express Latvian mentality, our feelings and views on life, love, the things good and important to us Latvians," she said.

The songs are sorted into the following categories: Love songs, Nature & seasons, Freedom & peace, Folk songs & traditionals, Songs of faith, Children's songs. However, despite the inherent thematic diversity they could be sharing something in common even across all Europe.

"The common thread in the European songs could be a sense of humanity and pride about one's nation, state, language, and fellow compatriots," she said, revealing that Latvian songs could stand out in one respect.

"For us Latvians folk songs are a great value, but it's not the case in the rest of Europe. There are countries that have no folk songs. We Latvians are special in that regard," Kanteruka told LSM.

Throughout 2015 music lovers and teachers from the Jāzeps Vītols Latvian Music Academy and the Latvian Music Teacher Association picked and nominated 60 songs for the vote.

"I am interested in the project as the first EU song book will collect 168 songs from all Europe. It will be fantastic research material that will allow people to get to know other EU states better. The project will encourage not only being conscious of one's identity but also tolerance towards other nations. We're all human beings after all," she said. 

The initiative will move onto Italy, Romania, and Lithuania in February. 

The song book is slated to be published in 2017, featuring 168 songs in the original with parallel English translation. 

Rūta Kanteruka also revealed her voting choices.

Brainstorm - Mazā bilžu rāmītī

"I liked every single of the love songs. When I couldn't decide, I asked my brother's family. They suggested Mazā bilžu rāmītī."

Tik un Tā

"Tik un Tā is a song about the beautiful Latvian nature. It is, I think, a song about which you can say 'less is more'. I think that Latvia is the most beautiful to every Latvian, and this song expresses it in a concentrated and unambiguous manner."

Saule, Pērkons, Daugava

"There's such strength in Saule, Pērkons, Daugava. Listening to it sends shivers down my spine."

Pūt, vējiņi

"It's the No. 1 song Latvians think about when asked to name a Latvian folk song."

Manai tautai

"It's the perfect song as concerns our national awakening. Perhaps the Barricade remembrance days gave it extra voting preference."

Aijā, žūžū, lāča bērni

"I am confident that this is a song known to every Latvian toddler. At least in our family it's the first in an evening's repertoire, followed by Velc, pelīte and the rest."

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