Song and Dance Festival
Rigai 800

   Latvian Garland - Festival of the National Minorities
Congress House of Riga

On July 18 and July 19 at 6p.m., Festival of the National Minorities - Latvian Garland - will take place in the Congress House of Riga. There will be two concerts performed in the framework of the festival. Artistic groups of various nationalities living in Latvia will perform in the first concert. Such nationalities as Russian, Ukrainian, Belarussian, Lithuanian, Polish, Jewish, Gypsy, Bashkarian, Tatary, Greek, Yakut will be represented. It will also be possible to listen to 3000 years old exotic Yakut musical instrument. One of the Latvian nationalities - livs - will also participate in this concert, which will be as bright as a rainbow. Some of the participating groups have been founded as long as ten years ago, but some are more recent. 

The second concert will be dedicated to the Russian Diaspora, which is the largest in Latvia. In these concerts, we will try to show Riga as a multinational city and how it has changed in the course of the history. By the way, stage director has even found Latvian folk song for almost every nationality. These songs will be used when staging the concerts. Majority of groups that will be participating in the festival come from Riga (around 20 groups), but there will also be several guest groups from Daugavpils, Liepāja and Ventspils. 

It is difficult to merge together so many mentalities and characters. Besides, this is an adult festival and they are all busy in work, thereby can devote time for practices only in their spare time. Nevertheless, I am glad that they find it necessary to show themselves and to look at others, which is practically our main objective. Everything can be understood if the wish to comprehend comes from the heart. If there is a national identity in your soul and if you understand who you are, then you will understand others as well. 

Irina Viņņika
Publication Dziesmusvētki, #3, 2001, page 3.

Translated by Nanete Neimane