This week reader Discobethan introduces us to some fantastic Latvian music. Enjoy!
"Likais" - Auli
The group Auļi take the deep musical heritage of their native Latvia and push the possibilities of using only drums and bagpipes to make amazing, loud, rhythmic music, blurring the lines between world and folk, between traditional and contemporary. It's part of the redefining of indigenous Latvian culture in the post-Soviet republic, after centuries of occupation.
Live, they're astonishing. Raw power and energy fills the room and infects everyone with sound and rhythm. Their music slips between definitions yet appeals to many, and they've played at darkwave, metal, medieval and folk festivals. It's world in the best sense - a group of passionate people bringing their culture to the global stage in a new way while never losing sight of what makes them unique. Their pulsing sounds infuse ancient music with modern, vital life.
The group formed in 2003 with nine Latvian men and one Estonian woman, who play drums, bagpipes and stringed instrument called a giga. The bagpipes are traditional to the Baltics, part of the great European-wide pipe culture. Historical records talk about drum and bagpipe troupes but no music has survived. So the group takes traditional melodies and plays with them as well as composing original pieces. In Latvian the word 'auļi' has two meanings: 'gallop', representing the rhythm of drums; and 'beehives on the tree' - the sound of drones. Auļi has released three critically-acclaimed albums and the latest, Etnotranss (Ethnotrance) won Best Folk Music Album 2010 at the Latvian Music Awards as well as the 2010 Folklore Award for 'Creativity based in traditional culture'.
(Written by Discobethan)