Musicians support orphanages, city rocks

  • 2000-06-08
  • By Rokas M. Tracevskis
VILNIUS - On May 27, eight Lithuanian bands of rock, pop, hip hop and rap musicians held a concert named "Parama 2000 (Support 2000)" in the Vingio Park. Some 25,000 people came to see the concert, a charity benefit for kids living in orphanages.

Vilnius Mayor Rolandas Paksas was happy to see such a large crowd in Vingio Park.

"There were thousands of 15-year-olds there. And there were thousands of those who are twice that age. And there were those of three times 15, like me," Paksas said.

Arturas Butkevicius, head of the concert agency Tigris, who organized this event, said about 30,000 litas ($7,500) in ticket sales will be spent by buying musical instruments and books as gifts for the children. Several orphans were on stage during the final song.

"The main inspiration for the concert is Andrius Mamontovas. His name attracts such sponsors as Coca-Cola," Butkevicius said.

Mamontovas, composer and singer of poetic rock, is an idol for Lithuanian youngsters. It was his idea to organize the first concert "Parama" with the same goal in 1995. "Parama 2000" is the third such charity concert.

Mamontovas is more known for his work acting in Western European theaters. He played Hamlet in the performance staged by Eimuntas Nekrosius, recognized by European critics as one of the best theater directors on the European continent.

"Mamontovas is a legend. He is not a typical rock musician. He doesn't drink, smoke and is faithful to his wife. Well, 50,000 fans in Vingio Park attended one of Mamontovas' concerts. I guess Pet Shop Boys or Alice Cooper who are coming to Vilnius this month can only dream about such a crowd here," said Rima, a Vilnius University student.

She also told a funny story about her travel to the "Parama" concert by trolley bus from Sauletekio Alley, where most of students live in the dormitories. The atmosphere of "Parama" was in the air of the city on that day.

The trolley was packed with students loudly singing Lithuanian folk songs which inspired the trolley's driver. She started to sing Lithuanian pop songs of the 1970s over the trolley's radio, usually used for announcing the names of stops.

The "Parama" concert was opened by the hip hop group "Skamp" comprising Erica Jennings, an Irish woman living in Vilnius, Viktoras Diawara, half-Lithuanian, half-Malawian, and Vilius Alesius. Diawara and Alesius, fed up with boredom, left Lithuanian school in Germany to return to their fatherland. Jennings sang, "Summertime and the living is easy." They conquered jolly Vilnius with their version of this old hit played on local music stations for a couple of years.

Many in the crowd imbibed a lot of beer in Vingio Park while youngsters sang in the streets after buying additional beer in all-night liquor stores.

The rap group ZAS sang one of the top songs at "Parama." It speaks in mixed Lithuanian and Italian lyrics about drunken Lithuanians who came to Milan and destroyed it. The words have little to do with lofty endeavors to help orphans, but then again, it is summertime and the living is easy.