Kaza Kāpa Debesīs
2003: UPE Records UPE CD 048
Thanks to a Latvian coworker I had the extreme pleasure of attending an intimate Iļģi concert as they toured in support of this album in the summer of 2004. Not only were they marvelous, but the bulk of the second half of the concert was given over to Latvian folk dancing, with Ilga Reizniece herself helping lead many of the dances. (And yes, I danced too I was coaxed into a few dances by a buxom blonde and didnt make a complete ass of myself in the process, although those are some tricky steps!)
Thankfully the CDs booklet includes summary translations of all the songs as well as the full lyrics in Latvian; this is great because it allows me to sing along (albeit awkwardly) and to learn a little of the languages pronunciation patterns. The translations are certainly a helpful introduction to the bawdy playfulness that characterizes some Latvian folk music: the one for the twelfth track, for instance, says:
I was a lite sleeper but the young lad didnt sleep at allwhat sort of little devils keep stirring you? Come to me, young girl, and take your loom with youIve got a shuttle with two balls of silk thread to share. Come to me, young lad, Ill treat you to some honeyIve got some below my belly hidden there by a bee. I ask the blacksmith to make me an iron apron so the young mans copper arrow wouldnt hit me. A blacksmith keeps working day and night, yet he has never forged a man; Ive managed to make a real human being without getting up from my bed.
My favorite aspect of this album, however, is its vocal array, especially on Rītā Rasa Krita (which has a great rhythmic arrangement under the rather stiff vocal pacing), when the verses get fanned out to three-note chords; it reminds me of what Iļģi did on their early albums, but now its given a hugely more robust treatment.
I must note that for a long time I didnt even realize Track 8 was what it wasa completely different reworking of a tune Iļģi recorded gorgeously on their 1980s album Riti, Riti. Only the melody line ties the two versions together its baffling to me why they would mess with that song again after having created such a perfect gem in its earlier version.
Comments © 2005 Mark Ellis Walker, except as noted, and no claim is made to the images and quoted lyrics.