RIGA - There may be Grammy’s or MTV award ceremonies, but when it comes down to Latvia’s music industry there is only one prize that every musician is keen to win, as it reflects not just the popularity but also the vision of Latvia’s musical environment – this is the Annual Prize of Latvia’s Music Recordings. The winners of 2010 will be announced at Latvia’s National Theater on Feb. 22.
Founded in 1994, the music awards’ ceremony has turned into Grammy’s Latvian sibling, defining the winner of five nominees in each category. For more than ten years the Annual Prize has praised music recordings of Latvian artists in all possible genres – from hip hop to academic music, from dance tunes to children’s music – becoming the country’s only award ceremony which actually does this! Evaluated by a strong jury, the musicians have a chance to get their hands on probably the most valuable music statuette in the country. Thus, everyone, accompanied by the performances of the winners and other popular musicians, guests of the award ceremony and the spectators in front of their TVs feel the energy of Latvia’s musical stage.
Who to watch at the ceremony? As with every year, the most interesting fights are in the nominations of The Best Debut and The Best Pop Album. Tradition states that the prize for the best debut is handed out by last year’s winner, so this ‘handing out’ for the 2010 winner might be quite entertaining as the panda-humans “Instrumenti” comes to the stage for the handover. Contenders for the pop award are also in a tough situation – the jury has to decide amongst “Musiqq,” “Labveligais Tips,” Lauris Reiniks, Janis Stibelis and Goran Gora and “The Yrs.” With the Latvian interest in dance music, the nomination The Best Dance Music Album or Song gains a welcomed twist in the variety of musical artists, with the biggest expectation obviously for Normunds Rutulis, who has dominated Latvia’s hit music for most of his career (he has won the Annual Prize in hit music three times in the last five years).
Other nominations are for Best Rock Album, Best Hip-Hop Album, Best Hit Music Album, Best Alternative Album, Best Folk Music Album, Best Academic Album, Best Instrumental, Movie or Theater Music Album, Best Music Album for Children, Best Video and Best Live Record.
While the winners are determined by the jury, there is one nomination where the last vote is by the public, not the judges. The nomination for Song of the Year is exclusively devoted to the audience, which decides the winner by voting. The shopping center Alfa transforms into a voting venue where every person can vote for one of the year’s contenders. Experience shows that the interest for this voting is huge – more than 100,000 people every year have their say in the year’s best song decision. The nominees for 2010 are: Instrumenti Zemeslodes, Brainstorm Gara diena, Lauris Reiniks Es skrienu, Gustavo Kur ir mana galodina and Kazha Tici vai ne. Voting ends on Feb. 20 – for every purchase above one lat in any of Alfa’s shops, it is possible to get one credit, good for a vote.
The creators of the ceremony will make sure that the musical party is greater than ever – with fantastic lighting effects, sound quality and even three dimensional stages. If the technical side doesn’t have an effect on you, stick to the music – the creators promise unforgettable performances.
Unfortunately, the ceremony is overshadowed by the sudden death of one of Latvia’s musical luminaries - Martins Freimanis - who passed away on Jan. 27. Freimanis, a frequent guest at the award ceremony, has his name written in gold in Latvian music – a tribute will be seen on Feb. 22 to honor his personality and artistry.
The Annual Prize of Latvia’s Music Recordings marks a new year in Latvia’s music industry – it awards the best, encourages the rest and simply shows that music is something that will never disappear. That’s why this is one of the major events of the year in the entertainment industry in Latvia!
For full nominee list visit www.gadabalva.lv