Legendary Latvian troubadour Haralds Sīmanis passes away

On December 1, the well-known singer-songwriter Haralds Sīmanis (1951-2022) passed away, it has been announced. The news came from musician Andris Grunte, a frequent collaborator with Sīmanis.

Haralds Sīmanis was born in Cēsis on June 12, 1951. Harald's father Harijs was a Romani, and his mother Mirdza was a Latvian, which may partially explain how he became a true Latvian troubadour, combining an imposing and charismatic stage presence thanks to his large frame and flowing beard with often surprisingly delicate melodies and lyrics.

During his school years, Sīmanis was a talented sportsman and in 1967 he even became a junior downhill ski champion. However, this initial passion was soon overshadowed by the guitar and music. Under the influence of his father, Sīmanis learned the profession of a roofer, which he put to work later, including restoring Latvian churches together with his friend and creative partner, the poet Arvīds Ulme. Traveling around churches, Sīmanis also learned to play the organ, but his main instrument remained the guitar. 

Thanks to his unusual voice and guitar skills, the talent of Haralds Sīmanis was first noticed by the ensemble "Tip Top", then the free-spirited musician moved to the "Lāčplēsis" ensemble, but he did not stay there for long. 

When the Environmental Protection Club was founded in 1984, Sīmanis immediately joined this organization and became the soul of the club. 

Since the 1990s, Sīmanis released numerous albums including "Es strauta malā slāpēs eju bojā" (1995), "Starp divām gaismām" (1996), "Tavā vārdā" (2001) and "Es esmu rīts" (2012).

Haralds Sīmanis continued to perform rarely, but regularly, both in Latvian churches and at folk singer gatherings. Particularly in his home town of Cēsis, rumors of an upcoming Sīmanis gig invariably resulted in a rush for tickets, as smaller, intimate venues were those that best suited his style.

His inimitable presence will be sorely missed, and we are among those sending our condolences to his friends and family.

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