- Women Choir
Dzintars is the Latvian word for amber, the translucent fossilized pine pitch highly prized in Latvia. Commonly worn in necklaces, bracelets and rings, as a symbol of national identity it signifies beauty, openness, and freedom. The Dzintars choir, the leading female chorale of the region, was founded in 1947 and has evolved into an internationally acclaimed professional chorus. Their awards include Hungary’s 1968 Gold Diploma in the Bartok Competition, and the Netherlands’ Grand Prix in 1977. The present company includes 76 skilled professional singers, under the direction of Imants Cepitis and Ausma Derkevica. During their 1989 U.S. tour, the Dzintars stopped at the state-of-the-art sound studios of George Lucas’ Skywalker Ranch in northern California to record this album with producers Mickey Hart and Jerry Garcia. Drawing upon a rich cross-section of their native Latvian repertoire, both traditional and “avant-garde,” this is a pristine showcase of their remarkably pure voices and impeccable harmonies. Included are arrangements of such traditional folk songs as “Blow, Wind, Blow” (the Latvian freedom anthem), new interpretations of folkloric materials such as “The Forest Shook from Dancing,” and several new songs by young Latvian composers (“Song of the Wind,” Autumn Landscape,” The Tomtit’s Message”). Also included are three Yiddish folks songs (“Sleep, My Child,” “Di Raike,” and “Oi Hanuke”) and “So Silent is the Ukrainian Night,” a modern Russian composition.