“Sōla” Wins Latvian Choirs’ Competition “Latvia Sings!”

“Sōla” Wins Latvian Choirs’ Competition “Latvia Sings!”
LTV/100 g kultūras . “Latvia Sings!” winners – Latvian Academy of Culture mixed choir “Sōla”
On the evening of the 9th of March, Latvian State Television hosted “Latvia Sings!” (Latvija dzied!) – a competition among the best Latvian choirs for the honour to represent the country at a concert of the greatest European choirs in Vienna on the 9th of May. Participating in the competition were the winners of the 2013 Latvian Song and Dance Festival’s “Choir Battles” (Koru kari), or choirs that took the Grand Award and the first- and second-place finishers at the festival: “Sōla”, “Balsis”, “Maska”, “Emīls Dārziņš Mixed Choir” (former “Swedbank Choir”) and “Austrums”. The competition was tough and performances spectacular, with Kaspars Ādamsons’ mixed choir “Sōla” of the Latvian Academy of Culture emerging as the winner after the jury and audience votes were added together.

Each choir was asked to perform one Latvian folksong and one original composition of their choice. The choirs’ performances were rated by a jury comprised of the State Choir “Latvija” Artistic Director Māris Sirmais, actress and stage director Rēzija Kalniņa, and musician and choir conductor Jānis Šipkēvics.

Jānis Ozols’ Babīte youth choir “Maska” scored 29 points for performing the Latvian folksong “Dindaru, dandaru, ozoliņ” and the composition “Solanum Tuberosum”. The jury gave 25 points to the Riga Latvian Society’s chamber choir “Austrums” (conductor – Ārijs Šķepasts) for performing the Emīls Dārziņš song “Lauztās priedes” (Broken Pines) and an arrangement of the folksong “Skaisti dziedi, lakstīgala” (Sing Your Pretty Song, Nightingale), the mixed choir of the Latvian Academy of Culture sang the Latvian folksong “Tumša nakte” (Dark Night) and Juris Kulakovs’ “Mēs pārtiekam viens no otra” (We Live off Each Other), originally performed by the rock band “Pērkons”, scoring 29 points, youth choir “Balsis” (conductor – Ints Teterovskis) rendered an adaptation of the Latvian folksong “Labvakari, rudzu lauki” (Good Evening, Rye Fields) and Valts Pūce’s song “Augu nakti” (All Night Long), scoring 27 points, and Artūrs Ancāns’ mixed choir scored 26 points for the performance of Emīls Dārziņš song “Sapņu tālumā” (In Faraway Dreams) and Ēriks Ešenvalds’ interpretation of the Latvian folksong “Seši mazi bundzinieki” (Six Little Drummers), earning 26 points.

 

“I am overwhelmed and very happy, and I am very pleased that not only “Sōla” but the other choirs as well, showed tonight how good we sound and how great singing can be,” Kaspars Ādamsons said upon accepting the invitation to Vienna from the Minister of Culture Dace Melbārde, saying that the choir would represent Latvia in Vienna to the best of its ability.

The Latvian State Television, Latvian National Culture Centre and the “Rīga 2014” foundation were invited, along with the other European Union member states, to select the best mixed amateur choir that would represent the country in a concert of European choirs. The concert is organised by the European Broadcasting Union, and it will take place in Vienna on Europe Day, the 9th of May.

The concert is organised to popularise European choir singing traditions, foster co-operation and encourage interest in the cultural heritage of various European countries. The concert at the Town Hall Square in Vienna will open the famous Vienna Festival week (Wienner Festwochen 2014).

The concert will also be broadcast live in Latvia.

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