Anna Salmane and Krišs Salmanis in collaboration with Kristaps Pētersons
Curator: Šelda Puķīte
19 June – 26 July, 2015
The Arsenāls Exhibition Hall: Creative Studio, 1 Torņa Street, Riga
A conversation between Anna and Krišs a few years ago:
- On Independence Day of Latvia, I sang in a choir music concert and it made me feel awfully dispirited.
- How come?
- We had to sing about the shackles, returning to the yoke and a friends death in a hail of bullets. An old song that from the '90s. Back then it hit the bull's-eye - Latvia's independence barely regained, but the Soviet army still here. However, after twenty-something years still to sing about that ... I thought, those who can only whine instead of celebrating our incredible luck, perhaps do not deserve the independence.
- And how did the others feel?
- One chorister said she had actually burst into tears while learning the lyrics.
- Yes, I understand ... Do you remember I said that towards the end of the closing concert of the last Latvian Song Festival it began to seem to me that conjunctions and pronouns were there just as an excuse for crying out such words as 'pain', 'tears', 'destiny' ...
- 'Blood', 'soul', 'orphans' ...
- I think the time is ripe to compose a truly Latvian song.
- The heaviest song in the world?
In order to see if our impressions match up to reality, we collected all songs that were performed during the closing concerts of The Latvian Song Festival since the restoration of independence in 1990. Do they reveal what, in a Latvian's opinion, a Latvian is like today? Or what, in his / her opinion, a Latvian should be like? It turned out that the most commonly used words were 'Sun' (209 times) and 'maiden' (193 times). However, the third place somewhat unexpectedly was occupied by 'God'. Due to its strong connotative meaning we decided to create a song with the lyrics consisting solely of this word.
Composer Kristaps Pētersons brought the idea to life by composing two new pieces:
- 'Dievzemīte I' (God's Little Land I), composed using the technique of collage, is made up of 184 excerpts from The Song Festival recordings - the number of times the word was repeated during the closing concerts. This document was on display in the permanent part of the exhibition.
- 'Dievzemīte II' (God's Little Land II) is a piece for mixed choir a cappella. Choir 'Maska', conducted by Jānis Ozols, performed it in the foyer of the exhibition hall over three consecutive Thursdays.
- On the final Thursday, DJ Monsta performed his interpretation of 'Dievzemīte I' and 'Dievzemīte II'