Published on 7 July 2023 at 21:12

Premiere of "Gaismu aust"

Kokle orchestra, conductor Artūrs Oskars Mitrevics

Reinis Tomiņš percussion

Kokl seolo: Kristīne Dmitrijeva, Ilze Žvarte, Valda Bagāta, Anda Eglīte

The Song and Dance Festival phenomenon

The Song and Dance Festival is the uppermost cultural masterpiece of our people that has stood the test of time. It has become a nationally and internationally significant event which calls together and unites Latvians worldwide, bringing together generations and ethnicities.

From the first festival in 1873 with 1,000 singers, it has grown to a mighty movement: around 40,000 participants are preparing to take part in the XXVII Nationwide Latvian Song and XVII Dance Festival. More than 1,600 groups in Latvia and more than 100 elsewhere are preparing for the event.

To ensure that choir singers and dancers, musicians, decorative folk art creators, folklore groups and amateur theatre participants can take part in the Festival, there are five years of everyday, systematic work in the lead-up: rehearsals, constant preparation of repertoire, evaluations, competitions, exhibitions, seminars and concerts. And, every five years, they all flow from Latvia’s regions and small towns to Riga, becoming Latvia’s most powerful folk movement.

The Song and Dance Festival tradition has played a significant role in creating Latvia’s national identity and maintaining the idea of an independent nation through difficult periods of history. This has also been recognised at an international level: in 2003, the Song and Dance Festival was included on the UNESCO List of the Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity.