Wednesday, 22 June 2016

"No zobena saule lēca" concert

I´m gonna start saying this, this last night was a magical one, all thanks to this wonderful event. The concert was 100% latvian spirit and full of dancing and song performances, regarding the current special days, Līgo and the summer solstice celebration.

After days of heavy rain, the clouds gave a break for the night. With the full moon up in the sky, the night couldn´t be better for an open-air concert which is focused mainly in the enviromente (latvian culture and folk is strongly linked to the nature, Līgo times is precisely one of the strongest moments where you can notice that).

So the event was composed from three parts, basically, in a quite big size in a place, which by the way, is not other place but the scenary that saw born the "Song and dance festival" more than one hundred of years ago, the most iconic and important attraction that you can find in Latvia related to its culture (noticing also how much they do like singing and dancing, as the most popular celebration is related with it):

Here we have the musicians with the main vocalist on stage...

...the chorus...

...and the wide number of dancers.

The public was overcrown but it´s really worth of it! A concert to remember. The music was very powerful, althought I´m not sure until which level the bagpipe is related to folk of Latvia but it was very wonderful. And the dancing as well. Which, by the way, they represented Līgo at finest:
even that moment related going to find the fern flower on pairs and having a lovely night.

With my "not the best camera of the world" instrument I recorded several moments of the concert which I think talk better than me and you can see (I hope you can) the wonderfulness of the composition itself. And also, don´t forget the music, quality is not good but you get the idea about how good the songs were in several cases (I love bagpipe):

Moments to show the coordination and long hours behind practicing.

And the music, check it out:

I apologize about the not good quality, seriously. Here´s the dances show in general topics about spring, sun and good times to even young warriors:

Easily the best concert I have come so far in my stay in Latvia. Totally wonder!

Sunday, 19 June 2016

Saulgriezis 2016

One of the best celebrations of Latvia is coming, the mid-summer fest, and in the country is preparing. In Valmiera, in the neighborhood of Valmiermuižas, right where one of the most famous beer factories of the country is, there was the celebration of Saulgriezis, for those who are short-minded of latvian (such me) it means "celebration of sun", basically.
For the whole day there were several things to welcome the visitors. At the daytime, the fest was filled of stores and traditional shows, while at the evening folk songs and dances encouraged the souls there.
  And I was the whole day witnessing it...
The first place you meet, aside of the brewery factory, is...a tent about how to brew!

The rocks are employed for giving a taste to the beer and also to heat up the water as well.

There, the barm is milled like bread. The taste of the beer was quite nice at the end.

And after checking the beer making close to it we have also the place to show how to make traditional bread:

But it takes time to build the oven itself, having to left the clay (a mix of clay and sand, actually) dry and removing the wood. All these activities of traditional making are not far from the image of the traditional markets in my country but the difference reside in the activities themselves, as beer for example is not something that popular (or that resourceful) in my homeland.

Flowers and plants seen in Mid-summerfest (in Latvia is called Līga), its uses vary, they can be employed for feeding the bonfire or as a crown.

The Mid-summer supply: beer and cheese!

And some women dressing the typical folk costumes (and singing folk as well...singing something about "ligua"...).
Also, there was a post that showed how to make the tasty typical cheese for Mid-summer.

Ceramyc crockery for the moment. I like the vessel for hot wine (bottom image). Notice the Jumis symbol on them, in the recipient used to heat up the vessel.
Another practical detail: see the color dots? they are used to advise when the drink is too hot in the vessel.

And there you can see the family symbol: a three holed composition.

And around the market there were several other typical things:
Such already made bread, without waiting to get ready in the oven.

Sweets of larger size than the standard

Wooden toys with the ancient latvian symbols...

...and in jewelry too. I like this one, specially as it had also some representations of viking symbols circa XI century, when they roamed around.

Oh! and chocolates! with cats on them! (the...ahem...very popular, without considering it, animal in this country). The cat it´s because this packaging has the motto of "I eat what I want, I eat what I crave".

And some more utilities to be found in the market!
Porcelain! there´s a porcelain guild here yet! I like the detailistic of these storks shown in the picture.

Instruments that produce the sound of Latvia (aside of flies´ buzzing) and one object that I like a lot too: ceramyc canteens.

Couldn´t miss the bee based products, as the business is popular in these lands.

Some more jewelry, closely based on the ones found on archeological excavations in Cesis, along with tool replicas of the same tools that the Iron Age ancestors used in this zone.

And this is cheese. Balls of cheese in jars of oil!

These plants are nor exactly for ornament...

...but for giving a curious "wooden massage":

And of course, we couldn´t miss the folk dances. These ones were at day:

There´s something that I´ll keep repeating myself: It´s always in couples? couple groups? Not always, sometimes are just group...but mostly ending in couples; I guess it´s related to the past of these celebrations and dances (such when you go looking for the fern flower very soon as well).

Then, the night arrives in Valmiermuižas:

Well, the "night", which now is 2 hours long basically. I should say the evening. The evening came and the festival welcomed it with some interesing concerts.
Concerts of folk music! Featuring one of my favourite instruments! the bagpipe! I didn´t know that it has relation with Baltics...does it really has? well, yes, the dūdas.

And also the very popular kokle (middle).

The hours got darker and the show went on! Before moving on here´s a detail I would like also to note:
Even the trash bin had style!

Now, keeping the line, the concerts were the main event at evening/night. As the market tents went away and the beer posts replaced the ambient the scenary got filled by the cute latvian lyric and the nightlight ambience. Besides, there was some estonian too:

And with this the festival ended!

It was an intense day (althought writing articles for me is more "intense"...of work, honestly). Having an all day event where traditional crafts and concerts were present, such something proper from here, actually. Let´s see how will the big day, the Mid-Summer day!