Year 2013 in “Rigas Ritmi” festival

The 13th annual “Rigas Ritmi” festival has concluded. Throughout 2013, 257 artists and musicians from 21 countries – Slovakia, the US, Croatia, Latvia, Nigeria, Denmark, Estonia, Iceland, Great Britain, New Zealand, Lithuania, Italy, the Czech Republic, Israel, East Africa, Germany, France, Ireland and other countries. All together 33 concerts took place, of which nine were free-of-charge; audience of over 14 000 attended these concerts.

Music lovers had the chance to see performances of world-renowned artists and musicians, like “Grammy” award winners Diane Schuur, “Robert Glasper Experiment”, Medeski Martin & Wood, as well as such young talent as Somi, Butterscotch, Andreas Varady, “Andromeda Mega Express Orchestra”. Cooperation between local and foreign artists – “Dynamic Groove Society”, “Frank/Pashkevich Experience”– as well as the special project of the festival, “Zarbugans”, featuring kokle player Laima Jansone, percussionist Artis Orubs and contrabass player Andris Grunte – took place in 2013 as well.

This year the renewed Latvian Radion Bigband performed together with Italian vocalist Roberta Gambarini, “New York Voices”, drummer Jojo Mayer and Maestro Raimonds Pauls.

The festival’s performances took place at different places and venues around Riga – the Riga Congress Hall, Origo Summer Stage, Latvian National Opera, the Latvian Radio concert studio, open-air leisure park “Egle”, as well as the Kalnciema Quarter and the small cruise ship “Misisipi”.

During the festival, alongside concerts, other activities took place also - master-classes, showcase programs and a photo expo at the Congress Hall that was dedicated to artists, who had performed in previous “Rigas Ritmi” festivals. In 2013, six master-classes were held, all together measuring up to 12 hours; the master-classes, which were attended by 150 people, were hosted by the likes of Robert Glasper, John Medeski, Jojo Mayer, Andreas Varady, Butterscotch and Ori Dakari.

The festival organized the showcase programme for the fifth annual year, which is aimed at promoting the best jazz, improvisation and world music artists and musicians in Latvia to producers, journalists and festival organizers from around the world. The most recent showcase was attended by Bruce Lindsay (“All About Jazz” journalist, Great Britain), Nikolay Bogaychyk (“Jazz.Ru” journalist, producer, Russia/Ukraine), Anne Erm (“Jazkaar” director, Estonia), Osku Rajala (“Jazzrytmit” editor, Finland), Levon Malkhasyan (Malkhas Jazz club, Armenia).

At the end of 2013, the festival’s audience cast their vote about the best and most excellent artists, who performed in “Rigas Ritmi”, in 2013, concluding that their favourites were the “Robert Glasper Experiment”, Latvian Radio Bigband, “Naturally 7” and Medeski Martin & Wood.

“The Latvian Radio Bigband is Latvia’s treasure.” – Peter Eldridge, New York Voices

“The festival is a celebration of rhythms!” – Bruce Lindsay, All About Jazz

“It is hard to recall another concert that happened at the right time and place than that of the Robert Glasper Experiment.” – Jānis Žilde, TVNET

“Jojo Mayer and Latvian Radio bigband’s tribute to Buddy Ritch most definitely is the most special and honourable gesture that has taken place on the Latvian jazz scene over the last few years.” – Mārtiņš Enģelis, Easyget