The outdoor festival season starts in Sigulda

  • 2011-06-01
  • By Sam Logger

IT’S ALL ABOUT JAZZ: New musical project “Acoustic Guitar Master’s Trio” will debut in this year’s Sigulda Jazz Festival.

RIGA - The summer’s coming on rapidly, and the event list is filled with many outdoor activities taking place across Latvia. They chant about the hottest season of the year and welcome a taste of nature from anew. One of the headliners in this list is the open-air event Sigulda Jazz 2011 festival on June 4.

“Jazz is the Teacher, Funk is the Preacher” may be the words of James Blood Ulmer, but this line for one day will become the slogan of the festival in Sigulda, where visitors will enjoy the sounds of the smooth jazz, big band and certainly the funk. There is another significant feature – the hosts claim that there will be no academic approach to jazz, as it can be heard in the concert halls and hence, the audience can wait for an informal atmosphere, with the Sigulda castle ruins in the background.

Apparently, the town, which is full of musical traditions, can definitely make each visitor feel special.
And that is something we see in the artistic schedule. “Next to Dandelion Wine,” which gained a huge popularity in February, when they participated in Latvia’s Eurovision 2011 contest, and “Very Cool People,” the new generation of Latvian jazz emerges in the face of Riga Dome choir school’s combo and City Jazz Youth Band. Amongst the local musical guests, which also include Latvia’s legendary band “Remix,” the international stars – like Lilian Day Jackson and Raphael Wressnig – are seen, and that verifies the high standards of the festival.

Of course, the home band of Sigulda Jazz 2011 is “Remix.” The band, established in Soviet times, is still one of the most acknowledged musical groups in Latvia – and that does not appraise just the vocal abilities of the lead singer, but also the touch in the instrumental jazz-rock. This time, collaborating with the wind-instrument section of the band “Keksi,” “Remix” is ready to remind us about their magnificence. However, the festival salutes its international band – Raphael Wressnig. This Austrian-born musician is known by his playing style, which mixes together delight and elegance, producing a fantastic sound of jazz.

In Sigulda, Wressnig will join forces with other superb organists of the Enrico Crivellaro organ trio to perform at the thin boundary of blues and jazz, ensuring that the listener will also hear the indifference of the contemporary and ageing, as well as the young and old.

Is the artist list a worthy reason to visit the festival? Absolutely! However, for those who are still hesitating – the festival offers a full package to the jazz lovers in Latvia as a genre; related activities will be found throughout the territory all day long, starting with the possibility to buy jazz music albums and visit Sergey Budanov’s photo exhibition from the collection “EPSON Roots and Fruits,” dedicated to Latvia’s jazz. Apart from this, the EPSON Jazz movie room in the New Sigulda castle will showcase documentaries about jazz’s history and development, and, additionally, it will also hold Raphael Wressnig’s master-class in nuances of keyboard-instrument playing.

And that is not the end of it – as the grand finale is the ‘A’ train, which will depart from Sigulda train station early in the morning, garnishing the mood of the festival with the help of jazz musicians and reflecting the good memories of Sigulda Blues Festival 2010, when such a train departed for the first time. If this does not make you go to this event, obviously nothing will!

At the end it has to be said that Sigulda Jazz 2011 is a wonderful opportunity to feel the creative energy of jazz music, because there is hardly another environment than nature, which can portray the improvisation level that jazz music gives. Thus, the festival is probably one of the best ways to welcome in the summer in the backyard.

Ticket information can be found at