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Winter solstice's concert "Christmas - a sacred day",
Riga, 13 December 2003

      Grey and cold day of December 13 was brightened up by pre-christmas sensations to those who came to listen winter's solstice's concert in the music hall Ave Sol. Their feel of the Christmas time showed folklore ensembles Baļķi, Ilža and Zvīgzna. The concert consisted of two parts: in first - songs and roundelays, in second - a joint dancing. Between them - break with refreshments. The organizers have surprised with a concept of the concert - all three ensembles were on the stage simultaneously and performed alternately. It maked sensation of an undivided performance and a joint fest.
      Instead of introductory words Ieva Bērziņa has told a legend about the Sun and the Moon.

Other groups joins in Baļķi singing

      The first song sang a group from Liepaja Baļķi. The ensemble sings sonorously, and members feel each other, in spite of the fact that they stood in a line.
      However, at some songs was present a strange pointment, and the manner of articulation of sibiliants was a little bit overdid, bordered with a lisping.
      The additional voices of Baļķi songs are not created according to the folklore tradition, though at the same time are not very innovative too. The singing was vigorous, but the decisions of dynamics and rhythmics seemed to be too stereotyped.
      In contrast to other ensembles Baļķi were stood out by a better understanding of rules of a stage; their faces were sprightly not only during singing, but during the time of hearing to others too.

Ilža sings

      The stuff of folklore ensemble Ilža from Cybla has essentially increased, together with female voices now sounds lads' voices too. The ensemble skilfully accompanies songs on accordion, violin, blockflute and timbrel. Ilža is one of most powerful folklore collectives in Latgalia, that reflects in the sure manner of performance.
      Unfortunately, the ensemble was unsuccessfully placed at the concert, therefore the voices sounded not to the spectators, but to a side.

Ilža plays

      To start to sing together, it is necessary to establish an initial tone. But how to do it, not focusing attention of listeners?

Zvīgzna shows a roundelay

      The third group was Zvīgzna from Riga. The first one song the ensemble has performed warmly and expressively. During following songs became appreciable, that participants of the group, except the leader, are very strained and even frightened. It looks, that Zvīgzna too has many new singers, therefore the scenic experience looks too small. When during roundelays the participants have forgotten, that they are on a stage, the straim has disappeared.

Zvīgzna sings

      If quiet, slow songs Zvīgzna sings heartfeltly, the faster and more cheerful songs do not mention neither listeners nor singers, and are performed in a manner that is closer to a choral one, than to a traditional one.
      And besides, dear leaders of all ensembles, let's agree to not "oversing" our participants, because it looks like, that we do not trust them!

Dancings starts...

      In the second part of the evening were dancings. Musicians played and dancers danced with a true zeal.

Musicians and dancers

      Do you remember, what happened at the very evening of December 13? Yes, it has snowed, even was a blizzard. I think, that it was a merit of Baļķi, Ilža and Zvīgzna too.

      Article: Ruta Stepiņa, 19 December 2003
      Photos: Ansis Ataols Bērziņš, Artūrs Medenis

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26 January 2006

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