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Concert of the group "Ramoda", Riga,
14 December 2003

      In December, after a long break, the concerts of the festival Riga music have resumed. Already in a second time at this year in the festival participated a Russian folklore ensemble; this time - Ramoda from Moscow.
      The group is founded rather recently - in 1996, but a majority of the participants are engaged in folklore much longer. The ensemble has two leaders: Svetlana Vlasova (a professional ethnomusicologist, a graduate of a conservatory, participated in many expeditions) and Grigory Kholodnoff (an active worker of folklore movement, known in whole Russia).

Sings Ilyinskaya pyatnitsa

      From the previous concerts of the Riga music this one differed now by lay-out of the hall (where was not the habitual stage), now by organizational concept (at the beginning of the concert has performed a local ensemble Ilyinskaya pyatnitsa).

Ilyinskaya pyatnitsa shows a round dance

      Ilyinskaya pyatnitsa has started by two Christmas songs of Latgalian Byelorussians and has continued by a recruits song of old-believers and a ballad of Arakchevians (soldiers-peasants, which in caric Russia times have settled in Latgalia too). Then women and girls has danced a wedding round dance, and one girl has sang a children's comic song, intended for development of skills of singing of funeral wailing songs. Then the ensemble has performed a ballad about the Kiev widow and her nine sons-robbers. The performance has finished by whirlings (action, during which everyone stand in a semicircle and sing, and one pair in middle whirles). As in Ilyinskaya pyatnitsa there are only two men - the leader and her small son, the muscovites have helped to whirle.

Ramoda appears in the hall

      Ramoda camed out with a lingering song and a polonaise-like motion. Then Svetlana Vlasova has told about the work of the ensemble. Ramoda works with two traditions of the so-called late resettlement: Siberian and South Russian.

A roundel

      At the first part of the performance the ensemble showed a folklore of Siberian old-believers. At the beginning they have shown some roundelays.

"Caps' fight"

      An interesting matter was a song "under fight" - fisticuffs in accompaniment of folk music. As for a true fight a special mental and fleshly preparation is required, and an achievement of an appropriate condition too, the ensemble has shown a children's educational version, in which the purpose of wrestling is to tear off the cap from the head of a contender.
      At the end of the Siberian program the group has sang a known song A black crow, but on other, unknown melody.


      Within the tradition of villages near Ukrainian border, the collective has shown also some interesting folk music instruments - kolyukas, pipes (played by men) and koogeeklas (played by women).

A solo dance in accompaniment of balalaikas

      On two balalaikas two lads have played a melody, and the third one has danced.
      After sad, but beautiful man's song Oh, you, the dale the women have appeared in other - South-Russian - clothes, so, we understood where they were for a such long time. The costumes are magnificent and look richly; it pleases that the ensemble can own different clothes for each folk tradition. After a serious women song the group showed a dance Krakowiak (choreography was similar to variants, popular in Latvia and Lithuania, but anyway a little bit different).

While the men "fighted", women changed clothes; sounds koogeeklas

      The sound of koogeeklas was very original and interesting.
      After a joint song Oh, John had a headache, the group has shown a quadrille.

Ramoda sings

      The ability of the ensemble to give a such long concert, not having lost an attention of the spectators for the whole time, is worthy of admiration. It, obviously, was possible due to the large diversity of the repertoir.
      At the end we shall try to characterize the performance of each group. Ilyinskaya pyatnitsa sang well and loudly, but it looked, that the girls started to sing too high, and the leader Sergey Alyonkin was not able to sing so high. Ramoda sang well too, however, the character of singing more reminded a sound of a qualitative folklore ensemble, not of successors of an authentic tradition; dancing was quite good too, though it would be nice to have some more stateliness.

      Songs' recordings from this activity:

      Article: Ansis Ataols Bērziņš, 24 December 2003
      Photos: Ansis Ataols Bērziņš

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03 September 2018

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