Latvia’s centenary celebrations culminated on 18 November at the Proclamation Day of the Republic of Latvia. Among the major cultural events was a large-scale performance on the embankments of the river Daugava in central Riga. Experienced by more than 100,000 people and broadcasted live on national television, ‘Saules mūžs’, which translates as ‘Lifetime of the Sun’, combined music and a choreography of lights and pyrotechnics and told the story of the Latvian state, from its foundation to the present day. The music score was composed by Ēriks and Kristaps Krievkalns and included fragments of Latvia’s musical history as well as arrangements of Ēriks’ own works. See the full 25-minute coverage of the event by Latvian Public Broadcasting.
On the eve before Latvia’s Independence Day, Ēriks’ new work ‘Arirang’ was premiered by the Camarata Chamber Singers and conductor Dr Ryan Goessl at Spazio Luce Art Hall in Itaewon, Seoul. It was commissioned on the occasion of Latvia’s centenary for the Latvian Embassy in Seoul by Kyung-Hoon Kwon, Honorary Consul General of Latvia in South Korea. The Camarata Chamber Singers were joined by Latvia’s Emīls Darziņš Mixed Choir and conductor Nora Kalniņa, who are in South Korea for a tour of five concerts in Seoul and Pyeongtaek. The new work quotes two folks songs: the ‘Arirang’ from the Korean Peninsula and Latvia’s ‘Stāvēju, dziedāju’ or ‘Singing I Stood’. Dubbed the unofficial national anthem of Korea, the Arirang is estimated to be more than 600 years old and to have about 3,600 variations of 60 different versions. It is inscribed on UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage list with local variations from both South and North Korea.