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Song And Dance Festivals

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Centuries of Song and Dance Festivals
Everyone in their lives should be witness to the amazing scene of tens of thousands of people who belong to various choirs standing and singing together or dancing folk dances during a song and dance festival in Riga, Latvia. The participants are a mix of small children, teenagers, young adults, middle aged adults and even senior citizens. They continue even today and are held every four years. Song festivals usually begin with a grandiose parade where people are dressed in their Latvian national costumes which differ from region to region. The site is wonderful and colorful. People are carrying bunches of flowers and waving them to the people who are watching and the many choirs who are participating carry
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Janis Betins from the Kurzeme region and Indrikis Zile from the Vidzeme region were chosen as the chief conductor’s with 17 conductors beneath them. Then began the preparation of the song festival program. In those days there were not too many Latvian composers and the association chose composer Karl Baumans original patriotic songs with words written by poet Lapa Martin for the men’s choirs. However among the final 25 compositions which were chosen at least half were from foreign composers and were being sung for the first time in Latvian. The opening of the song festival took place in the Riga Latvian Society Building where the organizers were presented for the first time with the now traditional song festival flag called Ligo Karogs or Ligo Flag and everyone participations sang Karl Baumans „Dievs Sveti Latviju!” or „God Bless Latvia!” which is the national anthem of Latvia. This original Ligo Flag has survived to this very day and can now be seen in the History and Shipping Museum in Riga. The parade was formed by 1019 song festival participants and 45 choirs. The audience consisted of city and country residents who all were enthusiastic about the unfolding events. Some of Latvia’s most famous conductors and composers were on hand – Andrejs Jurjana, Ernests Vigners, and Jazeps …show more content…
These are just some and a lot of them are based on Latvian folk songs. The names of the songs are just loosely translated. Among the songs which have become classics of the festival repertoire over the years are „Lauztas Priedes” („Broken Pines”) by Emils Darzins, „Karalmeita” („The King’s Daughter”) by Jazeps Vitols, „Upe un Cilveka Dzive” („The River and a Person’s Life”) by Jazeps Vitols and „Senatne” („Antiquity”) by Emils Melngailis. It was especially during the Soviet occupation period that a lot of these and other songs like them were played and sung giving their composers a feeling of fulfillment and national pride as they heard thousands of voices singing their songs. Sort of like giving birth to a child and watching it grow and develop. At this time the problem was deciding on what songs to compose in order to leave behind a rich heritage for future generations to sing and enjoy and not to offend the powers that

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