Monday, July 07, 2008

A Grand day out

Well another fun packed week has been and gone, but in this case it really was a relatively busy week, Thursday saw the annual concert held in St. Saviour's Church on behalf of the Zvannieki Children's Home. As is past years the church was packed and an ensemble of Latvian singers and musicians proceeded to entertain us for the best part of two hours. I have to say it was truly moving, in particular the final event of the evening, when the children and the performers took to the "stage" - and just like last year it brought teats to my eyes, particularly as the birthday of the youngest was celebrated with birthday cake and candle. For those of you who could not make it - you missed a good night.

Now as many of you will know last weekend saw the start of the five yearly Latvian Song and Dance festival. Now we all know that there many things wrong in Latvia, and Riga in particular - but they have proven time and time again that they know how to organise some of the biggest festivals in the world. What other country brings together choirs, dancers, musicians from every city, town and village in the country to celebrate the countries musical heritage. The first Song Festival in Riga in 1873 in which 45 choirs and 1019 participants took part.

At the last Song and Dance Festival in 2003 over 30,000 participants, 300 different choirs, more than 500 dance groups, plus 57 brass bands, three symphonic orchestras and one chamber orchestra all took part during a crazy eleven days in June and July. On top of that a large number of art exhibitions, parades and also some contemporary rock and pop concerts took place.

This year it is expected over 38,000 people will participate -- amazing

If you would like to participate in the various events being held during the week the check out

Sunday saw the procession of all the performers parade through the Old Town, up Brivibas iela - the parade started at 11.00am and finished around 5.30pm in the afternoon, with some 38,000 participants, the vast majority in traditional regional costumes.

However as walked into the old town, I heard a lod and strange noise emanating from above, and there it was a Search and Rescue helicopter, making enough noise to drown out the musicians and singers below. Not quite sure why it was there as I could not see anyone in need of being rescued - anyone got any ideas ?

But for some five hours I sat in Livi square, with F.... (Australian - Latvia's premier host) and his good lday, and a little lated by S..... ( Welsh - cat dispenser) and his good lady, and later still by V.... ( Mexican - a July Birthday Boy ), and finally S..... ( Irish - musical entrepreneur) and N... (English - dormant follicle sufferer). So for a few hours we sat in the square, supped a few (cheap) beers and literally watched the world go by!

Most of performers were attired in Latvian traditions costume, but I have to assume that those below were just a little "potty" !!

However one comment by our erstwhile Irish person, that the after a while the parade was boring as they all looked alike clearly missed the point about watching a parade - you do not always have to look across to see interesting views, sometimes you can look up !

A very fine pair they made !

Finally can I ask one ex Irish tobacco baron to let me know if he got document he asked for ?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

The irish ex tobacco baron ( more like overseer than baron perhaps)
anyway I did not recieve any document from you. I am in Riga this weekend if you fancy a pint.

5:51 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

For fans of Spencer's singing. A scene from the village lounge.

1:12 pm  

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