Thursday, 4 August 2016

The Latvian Song and Dance Festival rivals our Eisteddfod.

In an article on Wales Online Wasting Mule Columnist  attempts to give a "balanced "view  of the storm over the supposed snub to the Welsh side by the National Eisteddfod Gorsedd
She writes  that 


People start pointing out that Welsh soccer success was the biggest global advert the Welsh language has ever had as everyone from Adidas to Gary Lineker spent the summer tweeting yn Gymraeg.
The integration of Welsh into the squad’s communications strategy was also beautifully organic. So how could the Eisteddfod “snub” our sporting heroes?
Then the Eisteddfod says ‘hang on a minute, don’t blame us, we’re separate to the Gorsedd and we’d invited the team to the Maes anyway’.

Plus the bards have their nominations sewn up by the end of February while no members of the Welsh football squad were nominated for the Gorsedd and no member of the team was refused the honour.
And it all fizzles out bar the odd Facebook posting from bilinguals harrumphing at the monoglots’ ignorance of bardic etiquette and non-Welsh speakers rolling their eyes at the rigid rules of men in white sheets.
It was another rather unedifying chapter in the long narrative of tetchiness, touchiness and tension between those who can and can’t speak the language. Though it’s also fair to say there are plenty of Welsh speakers who would love to see our footballers enrobed on the Maes.
She fails to acknowledge however that this  that  this "unedifying  chapter " was not helped by the misleading articles by her own media organisation .

She does have ago at rivals however

If a festival that celebrated poetic excellence with such pageantry was held in a remote Latvian village The Guardian would probably devote a colour supplement to it.
Actually The Latvian Song and Dance Festival (Latvian 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 aMasterpiece 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.[1] Although usually folksongs and classical choir songs are sung, with emphasis on a cappella singing, recently modern popular songs have been incorporated into the repertoire..
Have a look at this video maybe you see a resemblance?.




During the Soviet invasion and annexation of Latvia in 1940, festivals were continuing in the Latvian SSR, which were celebrating the Soviet Union (to allow its continuous existence). During the occupation the festival tradition was continued in exile, first in Displaced Persons camps after World War II, primarily in the western zones in Germany, then in the United States, Canada, and Australia. The abroad Song and Dance Festival is currently held every four years, alternating between the United States and Canada.
Some years shortly after Latvia gained independence  some friends of mine played hosts to a number of Latvan  Folk Musicians who showed us a video of the the first festival where  many of the exiles were allowed to return, Where they were treated like superstars.

It was very emotional.
There may well be some who think that  there should be a campaign for the Latvians to adopt the Univeral Language of English to make Thur festival "More Open".
I can only imagine the reaction.

1 comment:

  1. Not only Latvia but Estonia, who tell you that they sang their independence. Countries should continue to celebrate in their own language and songs in after all music is universal. By all means hand out translations of the words.Helena

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