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The 8th Livonian Culture Days in Ventspils

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The 8th Livonian Culture Days will take place in Ventspils on October 7th and 8th. Events will be held at the Ventspils Main Library and the Concert Hall “Latvija”.

The opening event of the Livonian Culture Days in Ventspils will take place at the Ventspils Main Library on October 7th at 18:00 and will be an open discussion about Livonian identity led by Zane Ernštreite with participation from individuals cultivating, protecting, and developing Livonian intangible cultural heritage. Their stories will be about their sense of belonging, values, memories, and vision for the future. The event will be complemented by songs from the Ventspils Livonian ensemble “Rāndalist” and the folklore group “Kāndla”, which cultivate Livonian traditions specifically in Ventspils and the surrounding region.

At 17:00, before the discussion begins, the photo exhibit “The feathered, furry, slippery, and scaly residents of northern Kurzeme” (Spalvainie, matainie, glumie un zvīņainie Ziemeļkurzemes apdzīvotāji) created by nature researcher and photographer Vilnis Skuja will be opened. Skuja is a biologist who has focused his entire career on conservation and environmental protection, and has spent more than 40 years wandering the forests and swamps of Kurzeme between its Blue Hills, thickets, and the sea. He has encountered various animals on his journeys and immortalised them in his photographs, which can be seen in the exhibit.

The second day of the Livonian Culture Days – October 8th – will begin with a short moment of remembrance at 10:00 at the monument dedicated to Livonian poet Jāņ Prints. This will be followed at 11:00 at the Ventspils Main Library with a series of popular scientific readings entitled “Stories from the University of Latvia Livonian Institute and its friends” (Latvijas Universitātes Lībiešu institūta un draugu stāsti).

The speakers at this event will be University of Latvia (UL) Livonian Institute researchers who will speak about various themes relating to Livonian heritage and its place in modern life. Renāte Blumberga will share the events in Livonian community life over the last century which paved the way for next year’s major event – the centenary of the Livonian flag, anthem, and Livonian Union. Baiba Šuvcāne will acquaint listeners with the locations where Livonian cultural figures are buried in Livonian Coast cemeteries and elsewhere. Valts Ernštreits will speak about Livonian place names.

During the second half of the event, UL Livonian Institute researchers Ieva Vītola and Lolita Ozoliņa will speak about the elements of Livonian heritage that can be encountered on the Livonian Coast and in northern Vidzeme.

After the readings, the audience will have the opportunity to join a discussion with UL Livonian Institute researchers and members of the Livonian community on various topics and questions of interest relating to the Livonians and their heritage.

The Livonian Culture Days events will conclude on Saturday, October 8th at 18:00, with a performance by the choir “ANIMA” of its concert programme “Līvu sasaukšanās” (Livonian Call).

The concert programme “Līvu sasaukšanās” is based on the music, which can be heard on the album “Jūrd.Saknes.Roots”. It brings together the disappearing cultural heritage of the Vidzeme and Kurzeme Livonians as well as that of other Finnic peoples living in Latvia in the form of the folk songs, which served as the inspiration for this musical exploration. Composer Uģis Prauliņš created the composition cycle “Līvu sasaukšanās” especially for this event and for the Saulkrasti mixed choir “ANIMA”, conductor Laura Leontjeva, the soloists, and the instrumental ethno ensemble.

The concert programme “Līvu sasaukšanās” will bring more than fifty musicians on stage under the direction of Laura Leontjeva, portraying through art the wild and untamed character of the Livonians and the ancient sound of their language. This programme features music created by Uģis Prauliņš as well as Edgars Beļickis, Laima Jansone, Julgī Stalte, Elīna Ose, and Laura Leontjeva.

Thanks to our supporters, all Livonian Culture Days events are free of charge.

The Livonian Culture Days in Ventspils are organised by the foundation “Ventspils Livonian Association Rānda” and the Ventspils division of the Livonian Union in cooperation with the UL Livonian Institute. The Livonian Culture Days are financially supported by the Latvian State Culture Capital Foundation, the Kurzeme Planning Region, the Latvian National Centre for Culture, the Ventspils City Council, and Igors Skoks. The cooperation partners of the Livonian Culture Days in Ventspils are the Ventspils Main Library, SIA Kurzemes filharmonija, and the Ventspils Culture Centre.

The goal of the Livonian Culture Days in Ventspils 2022 is to popularise Livonian intangible cultural heritage and modern culture, by giving attendees a chance to look at the past events that shaped the Livonian national consciousness, to learn about and document traditional Livonian cultural practices, to hear the sound of Livonian and experience modern Livonian culture as well as to strengthen the Livonian community’s sense of identity.

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