Global groovers Bokanté and local heroes Liudas Mockunas/Arvydas Kazlauskas and Jānis Ruņģis impress, so says Martin Longley
The 21st Rigas Ritmi festival was able to exist in the physical realm, as Latvia has just recently started to revive its live music scene. Subtitled ‘Impro-Jazz-Global’, this four-dayer did indeed cover all of those areas, with Bokanté (formed by Snarky Puppy’s Michael League) providing the Guadeloupean fusion, and the Spanish saxophonist Antonio Lizana offering his marriage of jazz and flamenco. The festival’s only disadvantage is that several shows always happen simultaneously, around seven or eight p.m., meaning that punters are forced into choosing just one of the night’s potential gigs. This year, most of the artists were Latvian, but there was also a substantial presence from the neighbouring Lithuania.