Rīgas Ritmi Festival 2023 will be held in the first week of July
The 23rd international improvisation, jazz and global music festival Rīgas Ritmi will take place from July 5 to July 8 this year. Artists from Cuba, Switzerland, Mozambique, Spain, France, Denmark, the United Kingdom, Germany, Estonia and Lithuania will come to Riga, but the main Latvian artist at the festival will be Maestro Raimonds Pauls, who together with the chamber orchestra Sinfonietta Rīga will premiere the symphonic jazz program Songs Without Words.
The biggest concerts of the festival will be held in the Riga Cathedral Garden, where on July 6 the representative of the new golden generation of Cuban jazz, singer and violinist Yilian Cañizares will perform with the Resilience Trio, and in the second part of the evening, the charismatic French blues singer, guitarist and harmonica player Charles Pasi with band. And on July 7, the Danish flamenco guitar virtuoso Jacob Gurevitsch with his trio will perform, the Raimonds Paul’s trio following in the second part together with the chamber orchestra Sinfonietta Rīga under the direction of conductor Normunds Šnē.
The compositions of the new program are fresh arrangements created by the British composer Callum Au of well-known Raimonds Paul’s melodies in Latvia and beyond its borders, which will thus have acquired a new breath and, thanks to the impressive group of musicians, also a sonic scope. On July 7, a vinyl record will be released, which was recorded in the Latvian Radio Studio 1.
The sounds of the violin will also be heard at the festival on the evening of July 6, as Yilian Cañizares stands out in Cuban music with the atypical skill of playing this instrument, learned in the classical school, but then turned in the direction of jazz, adding a soulful vocal. Cañizares reached the highest echelon of Cuban jazz after recording the album Aguas together with pianist Omar Sosa, with the participation of percussionist Inor Sotolongo, who will also perform at this year's festival in Riga. He and Yilian will be joined by Childo Thomas, a Mozambican bassist living in Spain. Cañizares has collaborated with many big names of the jazz world and has become a recognized teacher of violin playing and jazz improvisation in her current home country of Switzerland.
The second artist of the July 6 concert evening – singer, guitarist and harmonica master Charles Pasi – was born in the family of an Italian father and a French mother, but lived on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean, bringing a deep understanding of the blues from the USA to Europe. Mixing it together with jazz improvisation, Pasi became an artist of the legendary label Blue Note Records in 2015. By collaborating with musicians of various genres, Pasi has created his unique style, which has no boundaries, but there is a lot of artistic creativity, at the same time felt fragility and exciting dynamics. His performance is like a real journey both geographically and emotionally.
In the first part of the concert evening on July 7, the audience will have the opportunity to enjoy the performance of Jacob Gurevitsch, a colorful and especially loved artist in the world of guitar music. Gurevitsch's guitar playing is saturated with cross-cultural references, united by a common denominator – passion. He fell in love with Spanish guitar playing during a tour as the guitarist of the blues-rock band The Savage Rose, when he was asked to delve a little deeper into this direction as well... In order to feel even more the subtle nuances of flamenco, Jacob found his second home in Majorca, which knows no shortage of sun. Gurevitsch's apparently carefree music-making style will also offer visitors of our festival to indulge in relaxing imagination and a sense of romance.
In addition to the main programme of the festival, the Jersika Stage will be operating in the Noass art center on the AB dam, where the most current Baltic jazz artists will perform with new programmes.
On July 7 at 8 PM at the Noass art center, the Kārlis Auziņš Trio will perform. He is a bright saxophonist and composer of jazz and contemporary music, who regularly performs and makes recordings together with foreign and Latvian jazz musicians. Kārlis Auziņš Trio plays his original compositions, which were created under the influence of European and American jazz music traditions, as well as folk music of Latvian and other nations. The compositions of the trio, which also includes double bass player Edvīns Ozols and drummer Kaspars Kurdeko, are the starting point for an improvised journey where the main emphasis is on interaction. It is a rich musical experience where abstraction meets lyrical melodies, while meditative calm and simplicity work together with conceptual rhythms, energetic passages and virtuosity.
After the Kārlis Auziņš Trio, on July 7, vibrophonist, keyboardist, composer and producer Miķelis Dzenuška of the new jazz generation will perform together with his band Uzvaras Bulvāris (Victory Boulevard), who will present their debut album Satiksmes mezgls (Traffic Junction). The concept and musical material of the album was born in 2021, at the height of the pandemic. Inspired by the analog recording process of Jersika Records, the compositions of this album were also created "analogously" - using a piano, sheet music and a pencil. The idea of the album was to create "Latvian jazz standards" - clear, understandable and easy to remember themes. In the form and content of the compositions, there are references to the works of American jazz greats, such as Miles Davis, Wayne Shorter and The Brecker Brothers, as well as Latvian jazz greats Gunārs Rozenbergs and Egīls Straume.
On July 8 at 8 PM at the Noass art center, M.A.S.A. will perform, which is a project created by pianist and composer Rūdolfs Macats and featuring singer Elīna Silova, saxophonist Kārlis Auziņš and drummer Ivars Arutyunyan. It will be a transcendental and hypnotic flight of minimalist development sounds, in which electronic music and jazz will mix, creating a collective improvisation that will turn into organic compositions.
The musical evening of the festival will continue with the Jason Hunter Baltic Quartet, which has brought together four jazz artists known in the Baltic countries - Jason Hunter, an American trumpeter residing in Estonia, Augustas Baronas, a percussionist from Lithuania, Atis Andersons, a virtuoso of the Hammond electric organ from Latvia, and an alto saxophonist Allan Kaljaste from Estonia. At the concert, the musicians will present their latest LP ImagiNation, which was made in cooperation with the Latvian jazz music label Jersika Records.
American trumpeter, arranger and composer Jason Hunter combines modern jazz with the best traditions of Western Europe in his playing style, and his music can be considered a special refreshment for the mind, body and soul. Atis Andersons regularly performs concerts in Latvia and abroad, has performed together with such outstanding artists as Seamus Blake, Rick Margitza, Michael Pipoquinha, Beppe di Benedetto, Villu Veski, Kestutis Vaiginis and others. Allan Kaljaste is a luminary of the new generation in Estonia, who has been writing his own music for a couple of years and has also created his own band - Allan Kaljaste Smooth Group. He has been influenced by greats like Everette Harp, Gerald Albright and Kenny G.
Augustas Baronas started his career as a professional musician when he was very young and as part of the Lithuanian big band The Magic Time Orchestra he performed at festivals in Lithuania and Latvia, as well as in Germany and Sweden. He obtained a bachelor's degree at the Royal Conservatory in The Hague and a master's degree at the Amsterdam Conservatory, but currently lives in Vilnius, where he performs with well-known Lithuanian jazz musicians - Dainius Pulauskas, Kestutis Vaiginis, Leonardas Pilkauskas, Dominykas Vyšniauskas and others.
On both days, the documentary film KIKOK 1962 | Latvia's first jazz festival will be shown at 7.30 PM at the Noass art center.
On all days of the festival – from July 5 to 8 – official jam session evenings will be held in the bar of the hotel Radisson Blu Latvija - Riga Jazz Lounge, in which both the concert artists of the festival and other guests will participate.
On July 6 at 9 PM, Latvian singer and pianist Monta Tupčijenko will perform there, who studies jazz arrangement and composition at the Folkwang University of the Arts in Germany, and in Riga, together with great colleagues, she will offer an extended program of her debut album On the Brink of Light.
On July 7 at 9 PM, the winner of the Riga Jazz Stage 2022 jazz artist competition in the vocalist category – British musician Louise Balkwill will perform at Riga Jazz Lounge. Already last year, at the Riga Jazz Stage competition, Louise proved that she has absolute stage charisma, which, combined with her convincing, free vocal performance, is able to instantly enchant the audience and make them want this musical performance not to end for a long time. Balkwill represents the new generation of British swing jazz, proving that this genre too is still full of ageless joie de vivre and modern vibes.
On July 8 at 9 PM, the Latvian jazz vocalist Santa Šillere will sing together with the Andris Grunte Trio, offering a colorful vocal range and love for stories in music. As a musician and composer of the new generation, Santa brings her own perspective to the genre, creating an eclectic mix of rich jazz traditions and modern musical influences, creating a sound uniquely her own.
On July 6 and 7, the Latvian Radio Studio 1 will also host entrance-free workshops given by the main guest artists of the festival.