Saturday, 29 October 2016

"Kaķi" group concert "Tu esi mans draugs"

Writing until the end!
In this day, my last saturday in Valmiera, a chorus group called "cat" in latvian offered a friendly for friendship concert (as the title suggests) translating in another good succesful choice to host by Valmiera´s Culture Centre!

Unexpectedly there was an accordion solo for a pretty song.

The concert itself was mainly a relaxing vocal chorus concert (and is not Christmas yet) of several songs from composers such contemporary Emils Zilberts or Astor Piazzolla...specially from Piazsolla who was a tango composer I think some of the song performed weren´t specifically designed to being sung in chorus.

There were also duos in-between accordion and the chorus!

Along with the concert itself the event also offered cinematics about the group "kaķi".
Things went more in an outright concert style when more musical instruments joined the performance:

And there were dance performances aswell by the young group "Flash". They danced as main protagonists or as support accompaniment of the songs:

And then the theatre curtain opened showing a super-duper extra expansion courtesy of the band! Altogether making a level increase that felt very improving, making a complete set of orchestra and taking over the scenary and further!

And everything ends in flowers and dedications as showing how nicely  they done it!
Althought the dedications and thanks took this time took quite longer time than expected.

Funny hats ahoy, by the way:

And with this last post we arrive to the end of the project. All this year covering different cultural events in Valmiera and Vidzeme were a gratifying experience and enriching job. Hope this doesn´t end here! Hope you enjoy these articles and find something useful on them!

Friday, 28 October 2016

"No Spāņiem līdz latviešiem" in Gulbene

    Gulbene has the honor to host the end of the exhinition "No Spāņiem līdz latviešiem" during the last half of october. Until saturday 29th is possible to see the exhibition in Gulbene´s Culture Centre in its lobby room.

...and with this we arrived to the end! This was the last cultural extra-event from the project! I appreciate all the spaces provided and the interested artists that made possible this very first exhibition with me as curator come real. It was an enjoyable, full of responsability experience that I hope I can repeat someday in a bigger level, in a longer fraction of time, not only two months. Time will tell! but for now I´ve got start packing all my belongings for coming back home.

Tuesday, 25 October 2016

"No Spāņiem līdz latviešiem" in Ēvele

During the first half of october there our iconic exhibition "No Spāņiem līdz latviešiem" moved  from the transited streets of Riga to the tranquility of a small, average village on the east of Latvia: Ēvele.
Ēvele is surrounded by green meadows, with houses scattered here and there. And its gallery was a former warehouse now serving as the main cultural spaces.
Said gallery was cold and humid. I was afraid of the humidity were worryingly high, but at the end the works were all fine and healthy!

When the opening took place, the same day there was a camp of boy scouts...yes, they are boy scouts, wearing camo uniforms, not mention the shooting range with bird shot carbines they had as one of the activities...if the boy scouts would have been like that when I was a child in my country I wouldn´t have defected so soon.
Anyway, the presence of these guys meant more visits in the opening day, more youngsters to visit the exhibition.

There was another interesting note of a guitar performance for the animosity of the public.

Never fails the catering, here they were quite gentle and even took cake. I didn´t take part of the decision about what to take for snacks, just told that there must be snacks, and they did it very well! wine, water and a delicious cake! plus cheese.

So one last stop remains: Gulbene! which is currently on stage. I will speak about it later. You have still the chance to see it until 29th october! where the exhibition will finally come to the end.

Monday, 10 October 2016

"Daļa Ceļa" Painting Exhibition

Ilze Smildziņas brings from today some of her works to the Culture Center´s exhibition space for this month:

And these are some good paintings! As I mentioned I like landscape painting but if they have the atmospheric phenomena such the clouds and, as we see in the paintings, the game of colours with said clouds it gives a very good sensation and feeling. I like specially the second work (first picture) where the heavy clouds hide part of the bridge. Love atmosphere.
And not too much to say actually. The paintings are in a very simple installation, without even a frame (doesn´t mean that they need one). So, we get cloudy on october in the Culture Center!

Sunday, 9 October 2016

II Vidzemes storytelling festival "Stāsti krēslā". Day three

As I missed the second day due to a misunderstanding about where to met and take the bus I pass to the last day of the festival, where again I have been 100% of the time.
The place which would witness our art was Valmiermuiža´s main complex: the beer factory´s bar:

Inside, sheltered from the coldness of the autumn´s day, and surrounded in the warm and friendly atmosphere, the day started; begining with the masterly storytelling lessons from our swiss guest (I curse myself for not remembering her name, but if I wrote it here I´d mostly butchered it). This time I was able to understand several of the tricks for being a good storyteller and not something different such an actor (which are quite linked, indeed).

After our guest from afar (not me) finished a left the place for taking on time her plane it was the time to put in action some final tales from some more storytellers. At 11:00.

And then we finished gathering altogether and receiving the diplomas for our participation. This day was not as intensive as the first day nor the second, for sure. As we must know, the day finished at 13:00 in a cozy and not so public ambient; so things were far more relaxed. So here we are! one by one we went to receive the diplomas and some extra things: red berries! because they grow here so well, much better than in Spain where berries are more strange.

And for put the end to the festival, there was the lunch and some conversations meanwhile, as well, to finish there´s the habit that each person tells 3 things they liked most and three things that they could improve for next editions. While I didn´t give the most correct ones but only those I had in mind at the moment (I was the first to talk, and having to express yourself in other language takes some patience). For this festival there were these things I appreciated most:
-Its warm and cozy ambient.
-The chance to participate as a storyteller, that was the best for me!
-The public moments. Hearing the stories from the kids and youngsters who were participating with their outfits and staging was enjoyable.

And there were three things to mention that could be improved. From my side I would said:
-I told my tale at dinner time when in the hostel. I got a feeling of confidentiality...but as soon as others also told stories when only ourselves were present it calmed this sensation of confidentiality. Still, a bigger public attention would be appreciated I suggest.
-The food at times was...meh, ok. I´m not still very fond to latvian cuisine, honetly. I like to take hot soup these days but in this last day for example all the food was cold and the meat...ok, enough.
-I ignore if there was some promotion and its the degree of it; it looked faint for me.

Overall. It was a nice time. I enjoyed more that the one in Zemgale...it looks like I was starting to enjoy it more and more...just when I will leave in only 3 weeks.

Some toys that attracted the attention even to adults

Saturday, 8 October 2016

II Vidzemes storytelling festival "Stāsti krēslā"

So this weekend promised to be a long weeked full of activities and work to do...well, at least friday was like that. As the "II storytelling festival of Vidzeme" took place!
   For the start...let´s be honest, the star was a bit lame, from the introduction time and breakfast my role at first was mostly focused on guarding the welcoming desk and the organization´s goods.

At least I took breakfast for free! ha?

This event took place at first in the town´s library; most of the day was to pass there. As I was there I was hoping that this wuld get better as time pass because being the guard when I could contribute my own cultural enrichment and background was not a very worthy position, honestly. This was a bit tiresome...thinking in the following 11 hours (at the end they were 14) wasn´t something retrieving.

But the things changed to better; I went in the group and I could some interesting persons; some of them had extra elements for their stories to tell, like puppets!
Love the pillow-cat!

After the breakfast it was time to start serious. We went to the children´s library section and the introduction time started:

Here are all the heads of the event thanking and greeting the participants, receiving some plaques of merit...and flowers, never forget that in this country.
And guess what! there was a concert of multi-task musicians playing songs that everyone knew (thus, popular music) as public made company of the songs clapping their hands in harmony.
Interesting to saw one of the musicians using his foot for playing the bell.

After the introductions the next part focused of the participant yungsters; from several schools some kids with their best tales and art to tell were chosen to came here to take part in the festival. Each of the young guys told a particular story, mostly related to their relatives (which gives a good impression creating interesting tales from supposed ordinary lives, showing that families guard a lot of particular events), many stories relating to potatoes as well. Thankfully for me, I received some help with the translation, otherwise, I would have missed most of the stories.
The begining of the event.

Then supper time came! With hot soup for cold temperatures (as these days the thermometer is not surpassing 8ºC). Yeah, soup in Latvia is a norm in caterings if you don´t want to fall ill. Albeit here can be the MAIN dish, or sometimes the only dish with many ingredients in the soup.

Meanwhile, one of our musician "draugs" was playing his accordion giving some chills to those who dwell around. This reminded that I purposed myself to learn how to play this instrument.

Finished the supper, and giving the welcome to the afternoon, our swiss guest expert in storytelling opened the next round of young storytelling teaching some lessons about how to tell stories on popular mode, where later, the youngsters would be the protagonists:

But first! some more catchy music with accordion!

So the storytelling round started. Our young storytellers were the protagonists, and actually, they didn´t have anything to envy from proffessional storytellers. Some of them brought even elements to give context to their tales: such dressing gorgeously fitting with the tale (loved the outfits that some of the girls worn), plushies, baskets or instruments. While I tried to understand all the stories, I barely was able to follow them, the accent and the idiom, too different. But as I said, I loved the staging that some of the kids put in their tales and efforts, some of them being really fancy. I show in order each of the participants where you can appreciate the effort of some of them in their dressing and other context elements:

Umm, yeah. As the event was way long there was a break betwixt. Here, one of organizers made some group breakers, but without the "game" inside, just to warm up the public and the participants. Which was the term I cannot remember correctly right now but I attach this picture where you can see what I´m talking about:
It´s fine anyway, albeit I didn´t have the mood to participate.

After all the stories were told there was a break...a break for eating snacks and drink. And also another breaker for kids, again (but if you weren´t a kid you could join in too).
Not only there was a break but also it was time for a puppet show! quite entertaining and fun for the kids. Amusing. From the woman of the puppets.

I liked the creature that eats pencil and crayons for lunch (middle photo).

And then it was time for the young participants to sand up again! this time for receive their diploma and gifts pushing their great tales!

Close-pic of the diplomas.

A guess game was included for those who went to receive their award, they had to guess which chocolate they were going to take. Ha!

Once the junior storytelling was over I headed to the upper floor of the library where a debate with a musician about traditional music was taking part. But between I don´t speak latvian and that the topic (rural popular music instruments) wasn´t my favourite thing this part of the festival became the most tedious for me.
Nothing much else to say, besides I didn´t find where the debate was at first. I stayed for a while thinking where I should go next.

Night arrived (at 18:00) and it was time to end the party and leave the public library alone. Our next stop was a hostel in the middle of Valmiera, hostel where some of the participants were going to stay the night.
As introduction for the visitors to Valmiera, there was a curious sensation game. The game reminded me like the story of Hamelin´s futist: a girl playing "River flows in you" with a flute guided the participants who worn a band covering their eyes and blinding them, the participants had to walk holding hands, following the song while crossing the forest (despite the hostel is in the center, Valmiera has the Gauja´s forest very close to the houses). Along with it there was some storytelling (so as you focused hearing the nature noises you also heared a story regarding it) and also a "potion" (thankfully hot, because it was being a cold evening).
  Yes, it looked super. But I´d rather no participate due it was awfully freezing and rainy, and I wasn´t wearing the best clothes.
The participants.

The teller.

The potion.

By the time they came back to the hostel the dinner was ready. But then, my part in action came here, so for the event I told my story here. Only 7 minutes allowed, which required to be very quick!...
However, it was only me who told the story, giving me a feeling of difference, not to mention that it was indoors...
Anyway, after, more games and singing songs came altogether. So they finished here, in a cozy and gentle banquet. I took my things and went back to the lair, preparing myself for next day...which actually will be sunday...