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Latvia is a small country but it takes pride in its many globally renowned musicians. Enjoy Latvia's versatile musical life in its finest concert halls and at exciting music festivals. They will not leave you unimpressed.
The power of song
Latvians are often called the 'singing nation'. And for good reason! The age-old singing tradition is reflected in the rich heritage of Latvian folklore with its collection of more than 1.2 million 'dainas' or folk songs. Song and Dance Festivals feature 'choir wars' with the participation of 13,000 singers of all ages.
In Latvia, singing has played an important role even in politics – the Baltic peoples' struggle for independence from the Soviet Union at the end of the 1980s and early 1990s has gone down in history as the 'Singing Revolution'.
Arena Riga is the largest indoor concert venue in Riga, experiencing such global star power as Kylie Minogue, Sting, Katy Perry and other acts. In summertime, concerts take place at Riga's open-air venues - Skonto Stadium and the Grand Stage of Mezaparks, which once every four years hosts choir and folk dance performances of the Song and Dance festivals.
More casual events take place in such creative colonies known as the quarters of Kalnciems and Spikeri, where in addition to musical performances you can take in the free spirit atmosphere.
Enjoy high-class musical shows at regional concert halls:
- Rock music, trademark of Liepaja (SW Latvia), is performed regularly alongside classical music at Lielais Dzintars (Great Amber), a superb new concert hall.
- Where else can you get a better opportunity to attend concerts on the Baltic seaside than at Dzintari Concert Hall, an architectural gem of Jurmala?
- In summer, classical music festivals are held at the Vidzeme Concert Hall in Cesis;
- Concerts in Rezekne (eastern Latvia) in the hall called the Latgale Embassy "Gors" (Spirit) will provide special enjoyment to.
Musical personalities of Latvia
Despite being a small country, Latvia has produced a surprisingly large number of classical music superstars. Operatic singers Inese Galante, Elīna Garanča and Kristīne Opolais have been performing at the world's most famous opera houses. Peteris Vasks has been ranked among Europe's most celebrated contemporary composers, and Latvian classical conductors Mariss Jansons and Andris Nelsons have been conducting some of the world's best known orchestras.
Latvian pop artists have not been idle standing either. Prata Vetra (Brainstorm), arguably the most popular Latvian pop band, rose to stardom soon after its founding in 1989, and got their first taste of international fame after a successful 3rd place finish at the Eurovision Song Contest in 2000.
Following in their footsteps are emerging stars Carnival Youth. The band's members include Edgars and Emils, sons of Brainstorm frontman Renārs Kaupers.
Instrumenti indie pop band, which includes classically-educated musicians Jānis Šipkēvics and Reinis Sējāns, has been performing at major Baltic and European music festivals.