Friday, November 10, 2006

Hallelujah

Every now and again you suddenly amaze yourself by what you can find and hear in Riga. So it was last night. Having received an invitation to attend a benefit concert in St. Saviours Church , I and a gang of unscrupulous Irishmen - J....(a Treasure of a man), B......(makes dodgy clothes) and J...(part time builder) went along, not knowing what to expect.

B...... had to consult with higher authorities if it was ok to go into a heathen church ( I think he and the Pope are close friends) - but after taking suitable refreshments at De Lacy's off we went.

And what an evening we had, the music was stunning (Gospel type stuff with heavy American overtones), sung by an all girl choir, except for two lads, and conducted by one of Latvia's favourite sons - Gunars Kalnins with his "GG Choir" (Do not ask I do not know what GG stands for).

Now some of us B..... and myself could not sit down (for fear of getting piles as the seats were directly above the radiators) - and tapped our feet and clapped our hands as the choir and Gunars sang.

Accompanying the choir was Gunars on the Piano (quite brilliant) and a four piece string orchestra and a flutist.

Now neither J.... or J..... actually moved throughout the whole event, in fact J.... (builder) never actually took his coat off, and as the photograph below shows the Irish certainly know how to hide their feelings, well at a concert anyway. (Again please accept my apologies for the quality of the pictures - must be the lighting in the church, or should I say the lack of it)

Do they not look enthralled ??

I have to say that the enthusiasm, exuberance and professionalism of both choir and orchestra, would put many to shame.

For those who would like to know more about Gunars ( or Little Gunars as he is nicknamed) read on, or if you ever get a chance to hear sing or play, then I strongly encourage you do to so, as he is GOOD !!

Gunar Kalnins or outside territory of Latvia better known as Little Gunnar was four years old, when he became the member of the popular kids vocal band "Dzeguzite" (in english "Little Kookoo").

Being a little cute boy in couple of years Gunnar became a really famous child-star, especially after his duet with Laima Vaikule (one of the biggest pop-stars in former Soviet Union), which became a huge hit.So, in fact it's true to say, that almost all of his life Little Gunnar has spent living - learning, performing and writing - music. Educated at Emils Darzins Music College (graduated from class of choir) and being a member of internationally well-known Riga Dome Boys Choir, he has performed in USA and many European countries.

His first self-written song - "She" at 1996 - two years later it was issued in a compilation of hottest Latvian pop and rock hits by the biggest local label "Microphone Records". Since that moment Little Gunnar has been signed to "Microphone Records" label also releasing his first album in 1999 - highly successful "So It Was, So It'll Be". Containing mostly Gunnar penned compositions (and four widely popular radio hits), "So It Was, So It'll Be" brought wide recognition both from fans excited by Gunnar boyishly fresh looks and catchy songs as well as from critics praising his remarkable vocal skills and bright future prospects.

Always a charismatic performer with highly attractive stage image, Gunnar has performed at numerous live shows, festivals and contests in Latvia and abroad, always receiving a very warm welcome. One of his brightest moments so far was at the 10th International Baltic Song contest at Karlshalmn, Sweden in 2000, where Little Gunnar won the Grand Prix with his Song "That I Like To Sing About" in a highly competitive battle with singers from UK, Ireland, Italy, Sweden and Russia.

Being a big fan of Whitney Houston, George Michael, Mariah Carey, Gunnar, however is not limiting himself with just soul/pop boundaries. He has performed together with legendary Latvian song-writer Raimonds Pauls at the Latvian National Opera singing songs by George Gershwin, as well as performing with jazz band on a regular basis and starring the central role at the widely successful stage musical by Raimonds Pauls and Guntars Racs "The Legend of the Green Witch" at the biggest theatre of Latvia.

Well thats it before the weekend, Rugbyy on Saturday and Remembrance on Sunday

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