This Is Just to Say…


First of all, I am honoured to become a co-author together with voyager, Giliell and Charly, and most especially honoured to be doing it from this platform, Affinity. I know Caine asked me a couple of times to join the team and I dithered, and I am sad that I didn’t take the opportunity then. In any case, I hope to continue a fine tradition of diversity and random interesting stuff.

Most of you are familiar with my comments and probably have some idea of where I’m coming from, but just to recap: I am an ex-patriated Canadian re-patriated to Latvia (long story which will come out in bits and pieces), I work in the forensics field (nothing particularly gross), I have three kids, two cats, one dog and a husband, and all the assorted issues that come with co-ordinating life with several people. I am a martial arts practitioner – which sounds fancy until I tell you that I’ve only been doing tae kwon do for a year and a half or so, and also an amateur musician (classically trained in piano and violin, but a returning chorister as well). Most of these things, in some combination or another, will be my chosen topics. I hope to focus on the culture that I know (so expect a lot of Latvian music and arts), music (suggestions welcome) and, if I feel brave enough, bad poetry.

I’m glad to be here, and as much as I miss Caine and her distinctive voice, I’m happy we’re all here to carry on, because what else is there?

So, to start things off on a suitably impressive note, here’s a shortened video of a grand event that occurs once every five years – the final concert of the Latvian Song and Dance Festival, specifically the folk dancing concert. In July 2018, more than 18 000 (not a typo, so about 1% of the Latvian population) got together and performed in the soccer arena, making shapes and dancing their hearts out. If anyone wants to watch the extended version, I’m sure you can find a link, but the camera work was atrocious – the whole point is to view things from above. Seeing it in under a minute – wonderful. Here’s the high note to kick things off:


  1. voyager says

    Welcome, rq. It’s already nice having you around.
    That video is a wonder. So many people and so much rehearsing! I wonder how long it took in real time?

  2. kestrel says

    Welcome, rq! So wonderful to have you on the team.

    I LOVE that you are taking Tae Kwon Do and I do hope you’ll post about it. PLUS all the other fascinating things you are interested in! Caine was so right to ask you to join in… you have so much to offer. It will be fun to see what you will post in the days to come.

  3. Ice Swimmer says

    Hello, I’m catching up.

    The music has familiar elements. So it’s not just Estonians who are big on their song festivals, but also Latvians. It’s nice to get to know things about Latvia plus see whatever you will come up with. Welcome again.

  4. rq says

    Thanks, everyone -- I am very much looking forward to trying this out, it’s very new for me, the idea of blogging and sharing opinions. I’m very glad for your support, and I hope for your patience, too!

    I am glad to be here.

    Ice Swimmer
    You’ll probably find a lot of familiar elements with Latvian traditional music. I particularly like the overlaps in folk costumes, you can see historically cultural influences and where they infringe into currently-other territories.

    I don’t know how much I’ll talk about TKD, since I’m very much a beginner, but I don’t doubt that I will mention it every now and then.

    The full concert was about two and a half hours. Actual, full rehearsals begin about a week before the concert, but smaller-scale rehearsals occur starting about two years before the concert -- leaning repertoire, rehearsing in local mid-size groups, etc. The choreographers certainly put their imaginations into it, since they have to tailor the transitions and the patterns to the skill level of the separate ensembles, who are sorted via regional and national auditions into skill groups. And these are only amateur dancers, though as they say, folk dancing is a lifestyle, not a hobby.

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