DZIEDAM VISI VIENU DZIESMU is a studio recording by the Tērvetes Trubadūri and represents our gift to Latvia on her centenary. It includes a variety of Latvian songs expressing our belonging to the country of our ancestors.
This studio album is our gift to Latvia on the centenary of her independence. The sound of the sea and the fog horn calls to mind the shores of the Baltic Sea and the homeland of our ancestors.
It holds a series of beloved songs ranging from a summer solstice song first documented in the eighteenth century to the contemporary work of Ottawa songwriter Juris Mazutis. Some hold special meaning for old soldiers, some are longstanding community favourites, while others have come to us more recently through the folklore movement,which helped create the Singing Revolution in Latvia in the 1980s. The performance styles reflect our diverse life experiences, cultural and musical influences, which range from Latvian choral traditions, folklore movements, jazz, country, North American folk, classical music, to rock and roll and even heavy metal. This studio album came into being in two stages. Three songs were recorded in 2011, while the remainder recorded over the last year.
Some of these are songs that we, as children of refugees, learned from our elders, some were written during the years of exile and others came directly to us from Latvia on a variety of media. They reflect the singing traditions of one exile community and the worldview of a generation born in exile who have lived their lives in the wake of world events seamlessly moving between multiple cultures and languages.
Still, it is the Latvian language that is central for us, because it is a unifying force which allows to come together. The songs themselves are both enduring and mutable and accommodate diverse interpretations and approaches. Despite our diversity, we all find we experience a tremendous sense of happiness and well-being when we get together and sing. This is something precious, which we would like to keep alive and hand down to our children.
Tērvetes trubadūri (The Troubadours of Tērvete) formed at Tērvete, the Latvian retreat centre in the Laurentians on the Rouge River in Quebec, which the Latvian community acquired in 1957, shortly after their arrival in Canada. The Latvian summer solstice is celebrated annually here, generations of children have gone to camp and families have chosen Tērvete as the place to celebrate births, weddings, and funerals. There have been many beautiful nights of singing in the kitchen or basement of the Big House or by a bonfire under the trees. For us, it all began on the solstice. As we walked the Tērvete Road from house to house singing and playing together, over time we coalesced into a group that found itself with more formal performance opportunities elsewhere including two Latvian Song Festivals in Canada. Each of us sings and plays at least two instruments in addition to holding other responsibilities in the Latvian community. Despite this diversity, we revel in the joy of being together, making music and singing together at every opportunity and are always ready to learn something new. On such occasions, a wide variety of traditional and newer folk songs, folk dances, original songs, and improvisations may be heard.
With one exception, all of us were born in exile and raised in families where Latvian was spoken daily as a matter of course. We attended Latvian school on the weekends and camp in the summer. Our parents worked tirelessly to build community organizations and instill pride in our cultural and historical heritage, as well as sorrow for the homeland lost to Soviet occupation. They left us with a strong sense that Latvianness was a gift.
Created and done by: Tērvetes Trubadūri