20,000 voices, singing as one
July 1, 2014 1:33 PM Subscribe
The Latvian Song and Dance Festival has existed in some form or another since 1873, held roughly every five years. Along with similar festivals in Estonia and Lithuania, it has been recognized by UNESCO as one of the world's Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity. The approximately 35,000 amateur singers and dancers who travel from all around Latvia to perform the weeklong festival comprise 1.5% of the country's entire population. The centerpiece of the festival is always the final night, when the full complement of roughly 20,000 singers perform the most iconic Latvian folk songs a cappella. In 2013, a song performed on the final night was "Līgo" (a word meaning both "sway" and "summer solstice festival"). But for sheer spine-tingling pleasure, 2008's "Gaismas pils" ("Castle of Light") can't be beat.
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