Contemporary Ethnomusic Festival will be Held in Valmiermuiža on July 6 Featuring Grand Performances by Foreign and Local Musicians

Celebrated ethnomusic artists from Portugal, Mongolia, Estonia and Lithuania, the local folk rock band “Iļgi”, a huge fire sculpture, a butoh dance performance, and a magnificent entertainment programme for families with children, featuring circus artists, horse riding and creative master classes – this is what the Valmiermuiža Ethnomusic Festival, taking place on July 6 in Valmiermuiža Park, is going to offer this year.

On two stages in Valmiermuiža Park, an exciting multi-coloured musical journey is expected throughout the day. Special and unusual guests are expected at the festival this year: the sextet “Khusugtun” from Mongolia will visit Latvia for the first time to delight the festival visitors with khööömii and throat singing. “Khusugtun” singer Batzorig is already known in Latvia after his cooperation with the drum and bagpipe music band “Auļi” and the project “Voices of Ancestors”. The synonym for “nomads” used in the name of the band “Khusugtun” symbolizes their contribution to nomadic music, following the traditions of ancestors who, just like these six musicians, travelled all over the world. The band’s style is characterized by sonorous melodies with an aim to cleanse people from the stress and everyday worries of the 21st century, strengthening the connection with nature.

The diverse festival programme will also be enriched by other foreign guests.  The famous magnificent Portuguese band “Albaluna”, which is already known by the Latvian audience, will let us enjoy the sound of the Mediterranean region’s music by taking us on a journey between the ancient and modern world of music with the sounds of bagpipes and electronic instruments. Their music is influenced by the traditional Turkish, medieval Iberian, Jewish, Arabic and Balkan music, subtly blending it with progressive rock music. In addition, the international band “The Baltic Sisters”, which appeared far from the Baltic shores at the end of 2022 – at the world music exhibition WOMEX in Lisbon when three singers from Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania met, will perform sutartines or archaic polyphonic Lithuanian songs, and Estonian and Latvian traditional songs, as well as conduct a special master class of traditional singing.

The legendary pioneers of the Latvian post-folklore movement “Iļgi” will also go on the stage, the spectrum of moods in their music varies from a suggestive peace that gives strength “to put sorrow under a rock” (a reference to a Latvian folk song) to a vitality sparkling with unbridled joy of life. Festival visitors will also meet the internationally recognized folk rock band “Laimas Muzykanti” and the gypsy-folk-rock band inspired by the Roma and Balkan peoples “Alum Alu”. The performers also include the energetic ethno-joy band “Ogas”, which delights the audience with Latvian folk songs, popular songs, Ukrainian and Irish melodies, and their original music with folk song lyrics, and the representatives of acoustic rave “Nielslens Lielsliens” singing heroic stories in African and danceable tunes. But the master of meditative performances Harijs Vagrants will play such exotic musical instruments as tongue drums enticing in the cosmic depths, the multi-stringed santoor characteristic of Middle Eastern countries and other instruments.

Alongside the musical performances, Ukrainian poet Lyuba Yakimchuk will perform at the festival together with Latvian kokle player Latvīte Cirse, creating a literary-musical performance by joining the Ukrainian language and the sound of Latvian ethnographic, electric and concert kokle.

“The theme of this year’s ethnomusic festival is vibration, reminding everyone that we live in a world full of constant vibrations caused by light, sound, electrical and radiation waves. Each impulse of vibration creates change. Any vibration can be the basis for change, and any change can cause vibrations. In my opinion, this year’s programme proves it perfectly – both with different vibrations of musical instruments and the sound of the human voice, as well as with moods that can drag the sad into a whirlwind of joy, and calm and relax the anxious. I am very much looking forward to the wonderful world of ethnomusic that will unfold in Valmiermuiža on July 6, allowing us to enjoy the performances of so many excellent musicians together,” says Sabīne Vandāna, Head of the Valmiermuiža Association of Culture.

The ethnomusic festival programme will be complemented by various activities and creative craft workshops for the whole family, including master classes by Riga Circus artists, helping to learn the secrets of juggling and balance, as well as horse and pony riding for the youngest visitors.

The fire sculptures specially created by the Spanish artist Jordi NN have become an annual tradition of the festival, and also this year the lighting of the sculpture “Waving Resonance” created by the artist will feature at the climax of the festival, accompanied by a butoh dance performance based on the Japanesetradition performed by Simona Orinska and other dancers. Just as dropping a stone into a still pond causes a rhythmic cascade of circular waves, so does the “Waving Resonance”, embodying repeated variations and a rhythmic dance around a central entity that expands to blend seamlessly with its surroundings. The world is not permanent or unchanging, it is in a constant state of flux, everything is constantly transforming. The fire sculptures created by Jordi NN are among the main events of the festival every year, impressing with their splendour, grand scale and outstanding musical and movement performances.

Buy tickets in advance here. Entrance is free of charge for children and young people up to 16 years of age.

The Valmiermuiža Ethnomusic Festival is organized by the Valmiermuiža Association of Culture and the Cultural Management Centre “Lauska”, supported by the State Cultural Capital Foundation, Valmiermuiža Brewery, Valmiera Municipality, Riga Circus, TOI TOI Latvija and others.

See you at the Valmiermuiža Ethnomusic Festival on July 6!

More information: Head of Valmiermuiža Association of Culture Sabīne Vandāna, [email protected], 27337798

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