That's precisely the reason why the 135-year old Latvian Song and Dance Celebration is still so much alive today. When Latvians talk about their world-famous songfest they tend to stress just how old everything is - the thousand-year old folk songs, the traditional dances and the authentic regional folk costumes. But at the kick-off concert for the XXIV Song and XIV Dance Celebration at the Arena Riga in March this year, everything was new. New musical compositions, new dance choreographies, and new singers, dancers and musicians.
Even older performers, composers, conductors and musicians were doing new things, alongside a new generation of Latvian song and dance enthusiasts. The new choreographies were based on traditional dances, just as the new choir compositions were based on an ancient musical legacy. To a Latvian it all looked and sounded so familiar, and yet it sparkled with dynamism, creativity and freshness of the best contemporary music.
If you want to experience why UNESCO has named the Latvian Song and Dance Celebration a ‘Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity', try to be in Rīga from July 5-12 this year. This is one living tradition you will never forget.
Official site of Latvian Song and Dance Celebration