//Music and culture for youth engagement

Music and culture for youth engagement

Entry into the music industry for young artists can be tough, and challenging. Engaging young, people in a meaningful way with a use of singing, dancing and involving music can bring a great outcome. By using the best practice from the traditional culture as seen in the example of Latvia, can engage young people in the music field and discover their creative potential and other strengths.

Traditional Latvian folklore, especially the dance of the folk songs, date back well over a thousand years. More than 1.2 million texts and 30,000 melodies of folk songs have been identified. They are known as Dainas.

Dainas are very short, usually only one or two stanzas, unrhymed and in a four-footed trochaic metre. Lyrically, dainas concern themselves with native mythology but, in contrast to most similar forms, do not have any legendary heroes. Stories often revolve around pre-Christian deities like the sun (Saule), the moon (Mēness) and, most notably, the life of people, especially its three most important events – birth, wedding and death (including burial). The first collection of Dainas was published between 1894 and 1915 as Latvju Dainas by Krišjānis Barons.

The Latvian Song and Dance Festival (Vispārējie latviešu Dziesmu un Deju svētki) is one of the largest amateur choral events in the world and an important event in Latvian culture and social life. It is also a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity. The All-Latvian Song and Dance Festival has been held since 1873, normally every five years. During the festivals exhibitions of photography, art and folk craft, orchestra concerts, and a festive parade also take place. Events and competitions leading up to the event occur throughout the period between festivals.

Approximately 30,000 performers altogether participate in the event. Although usually folksongs and classical choir songs are sung, recently modern popular songs have been incorporated into the repertoire.

Nowadays in Latvia there are many bands of young musicians who are continuing the traditional way of music expression. And the dancing events are organized all over the country on a regular basis. Bringing together people and enjoying the singing and dancing.

Photo by Nadezda Murane

Video: Latvian institute