The Rīgas Ritmi Festival 2023, which was successfully held from July 5 to 8 in the Riga Cathedral Garden, in the Art Center Noass/Jersoka Stage on the AB dam, and in the Radisson Blu Latvija, where the Riga Jazz Lounge stage was located, has concluded.
On July 6 and 7 in Riga Cathedral Garden Cuban violinist and singer Yilian Cañizares performed together with her compatriot, percussionist Inor Sotolongo and Mozambican guitarist Childo Thomas, offering the festival audience an experienced journey in both the more lively and calmer waters of Caribbean music, the French bluesman Charles Passi together with his band, performing a concert run from peaceful ballads to a percussive climax and creating the feeling of a real Brazilian carnival party at the end of the performance, as well as the Danish guitar virtuoso Jacob Gurevitsch, who together with the accompanying musicians offered to delve into the nuances of flamenco playing, creating the feeling of a lyrical and romantic concert evening. All three main guest artists of the festival also gave passionate and informative workshops in the Latvian Radio Studio 1.
“You can feel that Rīgas Ritmi Festival team really cares about music and about artists”, said Yilian Cañizares. “I’ve received a warm and beautiful welcome and much love from the audience and the organizers. Definitely a wonderful experience!”
“Rīgas Ritmi, a great festival in Riga!” the French artist Charles Passi also did not hide his joy at visiting Riga. “Welcoming, elegant and warm in the image of this city and its people. I have a little anecdot. When we arrived at the hotel we were told that there is a jam session going on in the lobby bar. We were thrilled to play a song or two, but after 10 minutes listening to the house band and how good they were, none of us wanted to play anymore. We just listened and enjoyed. I think that tells a lot about the quality of this festival.”
The central event of the Rīgas Ritmi Festival 2023 was the evening of July 7, marked by several standing ovations, which was held in Riga Cathedral Garden on the warm and emotional melodic wave of Raimonds Pauls, when versions of well-known Maestro compositions created by British arranger Callum Au were performed by the author himself together with musicians of a jazz trio and the chamber orchestra Sinfonietta Rīga under the direction of conductor Normunds Šnē. Raimonds Pauls not only provided the inevitable dose of his characteristic humor on stage, but also did not hide his emotions for the great concert night.
In the art center Noass on AB dam, on July 7 and 8, the public was offered a festival program curated by the vinyl label Jersika Records. On the Jersika Stage, saxophonist Kārlis Auziņš performed an exciting program of new original compositions together with his trio, vibrophonist Miķelis Dzenuška created a fusion funk party together with the band Uzvaras bulvāris, while performing the program of the album Satiksmes mezgls released this year, the project M.A.S.A. initiated by keyboardist Rūdolfs Macats went into the realms of free improvisation, but the American trumpeter Jason Hunter, living in Estonia, took care of a groovy conclusion to the combination of bop and funk, presenting his Baltic quartet’s album ImagiNation, which will be released this fall.
Meanwhile, the Latvian singer Monta Tupčijenko living in Germany, the charismatic British singer Louise Balkwill who is the winner of Riga Jazz Stage 2022 jazz artist competition, and the charming domestic singer Santa Šillere performed on the Riga Jazz Lounge stage at the Radisson Blu Latvija hotel. After the concerts evenings were continued with jam sessions hosted by double bassist Andris Grunte and his colleagues.
“Riga attracts”, summed up the artistic director of the Rīgas Ritmi Festival Māris Briežkalns. “Riga attracts with its culture, and this year’s concerts of the Rīgas Ritmi Festival were proof that there are enough music lovers for everyone – both for the Song and Dance Festival and for the jazz music festival. All that remains for the capital is to organize as many valuable and ambitious cultural events as possible!”
The next Rīgas Ritmi Festival will take place in 2024 from July 4 to 6, but four concerts of the festival concert series Art of Riga Jazz will be held this fall as well. Photo galleries in the Multimedia section!