CONCEPT OF LATGALE IN LYRICS OF LATGALIAN SCHLAGER MUSIC BANDS

Ingars Gusāns

Abstract


The visibility and success of Latgalian schlager groups in Latvia are of interest not only due to music composed by these groups, but even more regarding lyrics created by these musical associations, and especially concerning their relation to Latgale. The aim of the research is to describe the manifestations of the concept of Latgale in the lyrics of Latgalian schlager groups. The object of the research is the concept of Latgale, the subject of the study consists of the texts of Latgalian schlager groups (“Patrioti.lg”, “Galaktika”, “Ginc un Es”, etc.). The source of the study is 12 albums that have come out over the period of ten years (2008–2017). Both Latgalian (the Latvian language of Latgale) and Latvian texts are discussed. Latgalian groups sing about the same themes that are covered around the world – love, everyday life, reflection, quest for the sense of life, etc. The concept of Latgale is among them too. Taking into account that the term concept is often used in different linguistic and cultural spheres and its limits of understanding are quite extensive, in this study it is used in the linguacultural sense, i.e., concept is a unit of collective consciousness guiding towards higher spiritual values, which is linguistically expressive and which possesses ethno cultural features (Аngelova 2004). The first discoverer of the concept of Latgale is language. In this research it is the Latgalian language consistently used by some groups, for example, “Patrioti.lg”; also the last album of duet Inga and Normunds (2015) is completely in Latgalian, while other artists (“Galaktika”, “Ginc un Es”) use Latgalian lyrics only in separate songs written either by musicians themselves or by poets. In any case, at least some songs in Latgalian included in an album are positive examples of the liveliness and functionality of language. Geographical names are rather widely represented in the lyrics and serve as a confirmation of the territorial identity of Latgale. Several titles directly include an indication to Latgale, for example, the titles of the following albums – “Munai Latgolai”, “Latgaleite”, or the names of songs – “Latgale”, “Munai Latgolai”, etc. Latgale’s most famous geographical objects associated with our region in the rest of Latvia are mentioned in schlager songs. For example, Latgale’s largest lakes Rāzna and Lubāns, the river Daugava, the hills – Liepukalns, Mākoņkalns. The naming of geographic objects is inextricably linked with the sense of homeland. The lyrics of these songs acknowledge patriotism and pride about our land or region, partly attributable to the mentioned geographical objects; however, the manifestation of the concept of Latgale is often expressed in descriptive terms. Several authors successfully use the symbols of Latgale, thus influencing the listener’s awareness even more, for example, Latgale as the land of blue lakes – a traditional and positive stereotype of the region. Latgale is closely associated with Latgalians’ belief in God due to the strong Catholic traditions. Authors of lyrics include religious motifs truly believing in their hearts or emphasizing religious themes on purpose in order to particularly impress people of middle and older generation who make up one of the main parts of target audience. The song lyrics written by poets (Ineta Atpile-Jugane, Leontīne Apšeniece, etc.) stand out for their artistic and ideological qualities in contrast to texts created by musicians themselves. In their poetry too there is a call to stay, live and work in Latgale. It should be considered a positive trait that Latgale is not shown as a wictim, but it is a place that symbolizes hope and patriotism. As the main function of schlager music is entertaining the listeners, a number of texts depict cheerful social and party situations where beer belongs as one of the unwritten symbols of Latgale and Latvia. Also a significant part of Latgale is song, which gives strength and unites people. The portrayal of Latgale in lyrics mostly invokes nostalgic and positive emotions, confirming Latgalian values and objects that are known to common listeners.

Keywords


Latgale; belief; concept; patriotism; schlager music;

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.17770/latg2018.11.3069

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