Meet Music Latvia



New single “Desktop” by Carnival Youth set for a release on 10th of May

Latvian indie rock band Carnival Youth releases new single “Desktop” from their forthcoming third studio album “Good Luck” which is set for release in August 16th.

“It's a mix of many things, a result of experimentation,” “We wanted to add a taste of Brazil to it - make it expressive and colourful - as we were there at the time of recording. Lyrically, it started out as a joke, and there is definitely humour, but there is also a grain of truth like in every joke, right? It's about the advantages and challenges of our time, when a lot of it is spent by the screens,” Emils Kaupers of Carnival Youth explains.

The new album “Good Luck” was recorded last summer in Red Bull Studios in Sao Paulo, Brazil. It’s produced by the band’s long-time collaborator Gatis Zakis and mixed by the Grammy winning producer Nicolas Verhnes, who has previously worked with Animal Collective, Deerhunter, Dirty Projectors, Wild Nothing, The War on Drugs and others. Master was done by Greg Calbi at Sterling Sound in NYC and his work includes artists like The National, MGMT, Interpol and Arcade Fire.

The new album consists of 12 songs and the release of it will be celebrated with the band’s most excessive tour so far which will start in autumn.

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Kashuks released his first track “Bliss" from the upcoming studio album “Lost Echo”

Kashuks, an electronic music producer from Latvia, has released his first track “Bliss" from the upcoming studio album “Lost Echo”.

This is the fifth studio album by Kashuks and it is planned to be released in later this May. Locally well known, Kashuks has achieved recognition from various artists around Baltics remixing songs for “Brainstorm”, “Carnival Youth”, “Dons” and many others as well as being the two time national music award “Zelta Mikrofons” winner in electronic music category. Kashuks delivers an astounding atmospheric combination of electronic, downtempo and hip-hop music which is has been recognised in the Baltic region as well as abroad. 

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RIGaLIVE# 4 aftermovie

Riga, 2.-4.04.2019.

32 local and international participants: authors, producers and performers.

3 days, 5 events, 20 new songs.

Participants from Latvia, Estonia, Great Britain, Hungary, Netherland, Hungary, Poland and Belarus.

Song listening sessions experts: Brita Barone - radio Star FM (LV)  Martti Vuorinen – Universal Music Finland, Patric Sarin – Warner Music Finland, Artis Dvarionas – radio SWH (LV), Toomas Olljum – Sony Music Baltic/ Made In Baltics (EE). 


Kaspars Ansons, Andis Ansons, Arnis Račinskis, Rūdolfs Budze, Didzis Bardo, Allan Kasuk, rolands če, Kristaps Ērglis, Oskars Uhaņs, Marka.

Songwriters and singers: Kārlis Auzāns, Māra Upamen-Holšteine, Atis Zviedris, Meldra Gūža, Mikus Frišfelds, Uku Moldau, Barry Maclean, Johnny K Palmer, Anna Madara Pērkone, Kattie, Veira, Madara Dzintara Pluša, Anna Krista Ostrovska, Kristina Morins, Lisann Mikson, Rūta Agnese Gaile, Reinis Straume, KATŌ, Aivo Oskis, Rūdolfs Macats, Jānis Driksna, Ervīns Ramiņš.

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Indie rock band “The Black Pockets” release their debut album “The Best of”

The Black Pockets release their debut album, The Best of, and announce a mini-concert tour. The long-cherished songs can be listened to and downloaded free of charge.

At the beginning of 2016, after a successful release of the first single As Fast as I Can, and a single in Latvian language “Spogulis Rozā” presented in the spring of 2018, and the latest song Politely the band present their debut album, which holds nine songs from the first creative phase of the band.

“Just like in pockets where different items can be found at times, the album features many faces of band’s work. The songs are different in nature but kept within good indie-rock traditions. Various percussive instruments, organs and a brass trio bring colors to the song arrangements. Combined with the sound of a contemporary rhythm band and multi-vocal singing the earlier songs evoke associations with music of the sixties. They are accompanied by the newer songs which are kept within indie-pop and rock traditions,” lead singer Rūdolfs describes the sound of the album.

The album was created over the period of five years and precisely describes what has happened to the band during that time – having fun together, a little bit of politics, painful partings, pleasant partings, new meetings and conclusions about ourselves with sarcastic humor on the top, weaving through most of the compositions and presented in the album title.

Digital version of the album can be downloaded

The album will also be available for listening on major streaming sites soon.

Celebrating this special event, five concerts are planned in every historical district of Latvia, each member of the group representing their region, as well as a closing concert in Riga.

The culture mecca of Rēzekne “Ausmeņa kebabs”, May 3,

Valmiera, club “Tinte”, May 4,

Jelgava, club “Melno cepurīšu balerija”, May 10,

Liepāja, club “Kursas Putni”, May 11,

Rīga, cultural space “Autentika”, May 18.

Free entrance in all events.

The Black Pockets met in college and after two years of experimentation and reflection arrived at their current sound, which they describe themselves as “indie/rock with a tiny bit of psychedelia”. They are inspired by indie rock grands of today, such as Arctic Monkeys and Vampire Weekend as well as artists from the 60s – The Kinks, The Beatles and The Who.

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REBEL RIOT is a four-piece hard 'n' heavy rock band from Riga, Latvia. Playing since 2007 they have worked themselves up to a great live reputation with their 70's and 80's inspired hard rock. This May they are embarking on a 14 concert tour around Central Europe.

Like their previous European tour in 2017, this time they will be joined again by heavy rockers MADRED from Finland to share the stages in Lithuania, Poland, Germany, The Netherlands, Czech Republic and back home in Riga, Latvia at club 'DEPO' on May 18. 

REBEL RIOT's live shows will consist mostly of songs of their latest album 'The Good, The Bad and The Heavy' which was released in 2016 via 'Thunderforge Records' and was nominated as one of the best Latvian rock or metal recordings at local music awards 'Zelta Mikrofons 2017'.

Through out the years the band has had temporary band member changes. Now with Kristine Lokmane back at her drum throne REBEL RIOT are continuing to perform with the original line-up and are preparing to return back to studio work soon after the European tour.

03.05. Kaunas (LT) – 'Lemmy'
04.05. Warsaw (PL) – 'Metalcave'
06.05. Leeuwarden (NL) - 'The Morgue'
07.05. Groningen (NL) – TBA
08.05. Geleen (NL) - 'Café De Meister'
09.05. Berlin (DE) – 'Blackland'
10.05. Leipzig (DE) – 'Stö'
11.05. Erlangen (DE) - 'New Force'
12.05. Pisek (CZ) - 'Pub Papirak'
14.05. Prague (CZ) - 'Balada Bar'
15.05. Krasnik (PL) – 'Piaskowa'
16.05. Krakow (PL) - 'Pod Zemia'
17.05. Gdansk (PL) - 'Paszcza Lwa'
18.05. Riga (LV) - 'Depo'

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International Jazz Day will be celebrated in Latvia for the 6th time

We should stick to the traditions we like a lot. The organizers of the UNESCO-acknowledged International Jazz Day absolutely agree to this statement and keep on organizing the celebration for the sixth year in a row to make it happen in Latvia as well. In spite of the fact that the Jazz day itself happens on April 30th, in Latvia it will be celebrated from April 29th to May 2nd with a pre-party on April 18th.

According to what has already become a tradition, the first concert will be held in collaboration with A/S "Pasažieru vilciens" in a train. This time the selected train will go from Riga to Jelgava at 15:17 and from Jelgava to Riga at 16:29. You don’t need to buy the tickets for the concert, the concert is included in the ride with an ordinary train ticket. The trip will be made way more exciting by Evilena Protektore on vocals, Svens Vilsons on guitar and Artūrs Sebris on drums, playing, singing and telling the stories about jaz, hopefully joined by some other musicians as well.

Jazz Day in Latvia will for the first time be opened by a thematic photo exhibition of Arthur Dimenshtein “Jazz Faces” on April 29th at 20:00 in a musical bar-restaurant “Trompete” on Peldu street in the Old Riga. The same evening will feature a jam session with Edgars Rugājs trio. Dimenshtein has been doing photography for the last 20 years, and during the last 7 has captured Latvian jazz musicians as well. The artist is using a black and white film, which is yet better corresponding to the jazz world aesthetics. The exhibition will be open until the end of June.

The Jazz day always focuses on education, so on April 30th at 18:00 we’ll be invited to a concert at the Latvian Academy of Music — united big band of the aforementioned Academy and a Riga Dome Cathedral School with an Italian guitar player Francesco Guaiana soloing. The united big band features the best students of jazz departments of both educational institutions, and it’s lead by a saxophonist, flutist and composer Dāvis Jurka. Francesco Guaiana is an internationally acknowledged Italian guitar player, who has lived in the US for many years, actively playing and teaching at a prestigious Berklee college in Boston, but has returned to his homeland Italy and became one of the most sought-after guitar teachers in the country. The tickets cost 5 euros, and they can be bought by the entrance.

On April 30th at 19:00 “VEF JAZZ CLUB” series invites for the main concert of the Jazz day at the VEF Culture palace. One of the most bright Latvian bands “Jazzatomy” will be performing there together with a Danish-American charismatic double-bassist and vocalist Kristin Korb. She has surprised the jazz world with her non-typical nowadays romantic, light and danceable style of playing, as well as a crystal-clear voice. “Jazzatomy” is a modern Latvian jazz band, which sometimes performs in a full huge line-up, and that’s always based on its founders and composers Artjooms Sarvi (pianist) and Evilena Protektore (singer). In this concert the classical jazz combo line-up will be joined by a string quartet, turntable musician or DJ, as well as a hip-hop musician who masters Chilean ethnic instrument. Last year “Jazzatomy” released a CD “Colors of Summer”, which was nominated for the Latvian National Music Record award “Golden Microphone” as the best jazz, blues or soul album of 2018. The tickets to this concert are available at "Biļešu paradīze" ticket offices or

One more concert on April 30, this time with a free entry, will be held in the Vecauces palace. A patriotically-harmonic performance of the program “Tautasdziesma” will start at 19:00 and played by the National Armed Forces orchestra big band. The new concert program was made by one of the leading Lithuanian jazz arrangers Rimantas Giedraitis, and it consists of Latvian folk songs.

On May 1st in the Kanepes Culture centre on Skolas street 15 in Riga a free workshop of a jazz double-bassist and vocalist Kristin Korb will take place, and at 20:00 it will be continued by a free jam session with a saxophonist Artūrs Sebris, pianist Artjoms Sarvi, drummer Krišjānis Bremšs and other musicians. Kristin is an active, traveling the world jazz artist and teacher, who was earlier on coordinating the vocal jazz education at the South California University, and has been a director of the jazz department in the Central Washington University. Now she resides in Copenhagen, Denmark.

And finally on May 2nd, at 19:00, at “Kinfield cafe” on Kr.Barona street 66/68 a jazz trio concert will be held, featuring a French-Tunisian saxophonist Yacine Boulares, Latvian pianist Krists Saržants and American double-bassist Rob Duguay. Boulares currently lives in New York and is an official endorser of brass instrument creator "D'Addario" and "Lebayle" mouthpieces. He isn’t limiting himself to jazz music only — for example, he has participated in the album recording of Placido Domingo!

Krists Saržants is a bright modern composer, inspired by jazz, as well as classical and cinema music. He has performed outside Latvia a lot, studied at the Latvian academy of Music and Aalborg, Denmark, last year was nominated for the Nic Gotham award for his contribution to Latvian jazz music. Born in Canada and grown up in USA, Rob Duguay now lives in New York, gives private lessons to young bassists and regularly performs together with musicians from all over the world, including Latvian artists as well. Table reservation by calling 24776096, 10 EUR for two persons; the entrance is free.

International Jazz Day became a UNESCO-acknowledged culture event in 2011. Its goal is to emphasise the importance of jazz genre and its diplomatic role of uniting people in all corners of the world. Jazz day events in Latvia are organized by “Wise Music Society”, an association that helps audience to discover new music, promising that it’s WISE or really good, and helps musicians to find some use to what they’re doing and to attract a wider audience to their art.

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Latvian festival Rigas Ritmi 2019 will celebrate 100 years of jazz in Europe

Rigas Ritmi festival is the most loved improvisation, jazz and world music happening in Latvia at the very beginning of July. The stages are located at different spots in Riga featuring concerts by both - world-famous and young musical talents. It is already 19th year of the festival and this time it will celebrate 100 years of jazz in Europe.

"This year Rigas Ritmi celebrates 100 years since jazz arrival in Europe because in 1919 for the first time here performed Original Dixieland Jazz Band, Sissle & Blake Duo and Southern Syncopated Orchestra from New Orleans," says artistic director of the festival Maris Briezkalns. "That was the beginning of jazz invasion in Europe. We are celebrating the century of jazz in Europe inviting great artists from New Orleans - Jon Cleary and Jamison Ross. They will not only perform but will hold master-classes as well. Everyone will be able to feel the aura which rules in the place where the jazz was born.”

So far on festival stages performed more than 550 artists from around the world. Rigas Ritmi is attended by more than 170 000 people thus festival has gained the status of a state-importance cultural event. Initially the festival took place once a year during the first week of every July, but in the last eight years it has expanded to additional Winter and Spring concert sessions.

Rigas Ritmi festival is a musical celebration in the very middle of Baltic States with performances of outstanding artists such as Bobby McFerrin, Diane Reeves, Take 6, Richard Bona, BBC Big Band, Patti Austin, Freddy Cole, The Yellowjackets, Victor Wooten, Buika, Jojo Mayer, Medeski Martin & Wood, Robert Glasper, Diane Schuur, Adam Ben Ezra as well as the greatest Latvian musicians and new talent from all around.

The idea of an international contemporary jazz and improvisation music festival in Riga in 2001 was initiated by Latvian jazz musician and producer Maris Briezkalns, who currently holds the position of the festival’s artistic director. Among the cornerstones of the festival are master-classes and seminars for young musicians held by world renowned masters. Every year young people, music teachers, journalists as well as others attend these happenings. One of the festival’s main objectives is to educate, both the audience and young musicians. Besides diverse concerts the festival also features jam sessions and workshops, where world-known musicians share their knowledge and experience to new talent, serving as inspiration and is the turning point for many young musicians in their careers. On this year's festival the main acts will held the master-classes also, including the ones by Jon Cleary, Jamison Ross, Judith Hill, Paloma Pradal and Jonah Nilsson.

The main events of the festival will take place at the Riga Congress Hall including performances by the three-continent union of musicians "Freedoms Trio", the prestigious Grammy prize holder from New Orleans Jon Cleary, amazing young talent and the winner of prestigious Thelonious Monk contest Jamison Ross, stellar powervocalist Judith Hill, French Flamenco artist Paloma Pradal and the new pride of Swedish music Jonah Nilsson. Special attention requires on 19 year old piano supertalent from China - winner of this year's international young jazz artist contest "Riga Jazz Stage" A Bu also.

There will be free festival concerts available at the open-air venues "Egle” and "Origo Summer Stage" as well as jazz club “Trompete”, but everyone can enjoy great festival concerts at "VEF Jazz Club" and "OlainFarm Jazz Nights" happening at the club "Kalku varti" in the old town also.

Festival will be held from 2nd to 6th of July. More information on program and tickets can be found here.

Welcome to jazzy, groovy Riga!

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Twenty new demos recorded at “RIGaLIVE” songwriting session #4

Last week, the fourth songwriting session "RIGaLIVE" took place over three days at three recording studios in Riga, during which twenty new song demos were created.

Last Wednesday and Thursday, more than thirty musicians - producers, songwriters and performers, including Kārlis Auzāns, Māra Upmane-Holšteine ("Astro'n'out"), Aivo Oskis, Rūdolfs Macats, Ervīns Ramiņš ( “Laime Pilnīga”) and Kattie, the winner of the show “X-Factor 2018” 

Kattie comments on her experience at “RIGaLIVE: “What happened to me at Riga live exceeded all my expectations!  I participated for the first time.  And now I know for sure that I want more!  I have not seen so many professionals in one place yet!  Very pleased with the result, pleased with the workflow, pleased with new acquaintances!”

At the end of each day, eight-hour demo recordings were discussed by a panel of experts, consisting of Toomas Olljum (Made In Baltics, Sony Music, Ewert And Two Dragons), Patric Sarin (Warner Music Finland), Artis Dvarionas (Radio SWH) and Martti Vuorinen (Universal Music Finland & Baltics).

On the first day of “RIGaLIVE” there was an open discussion about “Music usage habits in Latvia”, based on the research carried out by “Latvian Performers and Producers Association” (“LaIPA”) and “Kantar TNS”. Liena Grīna, executive director of LaIPA, journalist Jānis Žilde, radio dj Artis Dvarionas, musicians Samanta Tīna and ansis, as well as Līva Pētersone-Kļaviņa, manager of the band Instrumenti, participated in the discussion. Following this discussion, the participants of RIGaLIVE had the opportunity to take part in a songwriting workshop led by Meldra Gūža, a lecturer at the British and Irish Modern Music Institute in Birmingham.

The songwriting camp “RIGaLIVE” takes place with the support of the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Latvia, AKKA/LAA, LaIPA, Latvijas Balzams and RedBull.

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Very Cool People, release their new album "Caution! Contains Words!"

The band's new album is a mix of funk, jazz, soul, hip-hop and rock that still sounds like "Very Cool People". There is no shortage of energy, joy of life, catchy riffs and melodies.
Their new album consists of 12 compositions, of which only one is instrumental. That also explains the ironic title of the new album "Caution! Contains Words!”.

Ten out of the album tunes were written by the band members themselves, and two are cover songs - "Let the Music Take Your Mind”, a tribute to the legendary R&B group "Kool & the Gang”, & “Going Down Slowly”, a homage to the great late music legend from New Orleans Allen Toussaint, who has inspired & influenced VCP.

Very Cool People:  Oskars Ozoliņš – trumpet;  Māris Jēkabsons – tenor sax;  Laura Rozenberga – trombone.  Kristaps Lubovs – baritone sax;  Elvijs Grafcovs - guitar;  Māris Vitkus - organ, rhodes piano;  Valters Sprūdžs - bass;  Andris Buiķis- drums, percussion.  

The record features many guest appearances: Kristīne Prauliņa - vocals, Evilena Protektore - vocals, Ralfs Eilands - vocals, Maija Sējāne - vocals, MC Edavārdi - vocals, MC ansis - vocals, Hannah Horvath - vocals, Erika Székely - vocals, Andris Kauliņš - moog & synth.

The album is produced by the leader of the band and guitarist Elvijs Grafcovs, co-produced by Valters Sprūdžs. The album is mostly recorded at "Sound Division Studio" in Riga by Ivars Ozols, additional recordings were made in other studios in Latvia and Romania. Mixed & mastered by Jānis Kalve at Labo Ierakstu Studio (Riga, Latvia), except We Should Dance mixed by Jon Evans. Design & artwork by Raitis Kalniņš.

This is bands sixth album so far. In 2009 - self-titled debut, 2012 - Cruising In The Trolley, 2015 - Funkology, 2017 - Heya Some Kind Of Fish!…, 2018 - Snowman’s Express.

In 2019 summer VCP will be on the tour around festivals in Baltic States & Germany: 18th of May “Museum Night” (Liepaja, Latvia), 25th of May “Görlitz Jazz Festival” (Görlitz, Germany), 1st of June “Gaujas Svētki” (Ādaži, Latvia), 6th of July “Bliuzo Naktys”(Varniai, Lithuania), 13th of July “Tintes Svētki” (Valmiera, Latvia), 16th of July “Saulkrasti Jazz” (Saulkrasti, Latvia), 27th of July “Positivus” (Salacgrīva, Latvia), 2nd of August Augustibluus (Haapsalu, Estonia), 3rd of August Summersound (Liepaja, Latvia), 24th of August “Siauliai Jazz” (Siauliai, Lithuania).

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Ed Rallidaepresents a new song “Masterpiece”

“This pause wasn’t wasted at all. I gave full attention to my health. Slowly and carefully I’m prepping my own musical material.” says Ed Rallidae (Edvards Grieze).

Participation in Supernova 2018 proved to be beneficial in terms of schooling, and serves as a driving force for steady development.

“With this song I wanted to present the real Ed Rallidae and what this alter-ego really stands for”. It definitely wasn’t a teenage rebel yell. This song actually is a very personal revelation – a dedication to a beautiful soul, who came into my life after a lengthy period of doubts and fears.”

“Even more, I am most delighted to collaborate with Roberts Pētersons. Without a doubt, I can say that I’ve found my producer. Yes, Roberts is a producer with a capital letter! A multi-instrumentalist and a person, whose talent cannot be disclosed with bare words in the best sense!” Ed Rallidae commenting the collaboration with singer and producer – Roberts Pētersons.

Roberts Pētersons the new collaboration: “Edvards knew the sound of this particular song in the very beginning, that’s why we tried to manifest his vision of this single as accurately as possible in order encode the unique taste of the musician. The song draws you in from the very first piano keystrokes. I’m impatiently waiting to search for new sounds and work on the next songs by Ed Rallidae!”

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