- Presidency and EU
Various venuesBrussels, Belgium
The European Festival of Latvian Culture (ELKS), taking place between 18 and 21 June 2015 in Brussels, will bring together different generations of the Latvian diaspora performing in choirs, dance and folk groups and other fields of art, with around 1 000 participants from a number of European countries and beyond. It will be a celebration of Latvia's first Presidency of the EU Council in the spirit of the Latvian Song and Dance Celebrations and will demonstrate Latvian cultural traditions to staff at the EU institutions and the Belgian people.
The countries represented at the festival are Spain, Luxembourg, Belgium, France, Switzerland, Germany, the Netherlands, Ireland, the United Kingdom, Norway, Finland, Sweden, Estonia, Canada and Latvia.
The Festival's special guests will be musicians from the Imants Ziedonis foundation Viegli and the band Astro'n'out from Latvia, the Austrumkalns and Kokļu zapte bands from the United Kingdom, the musicians Sējāne&Grasis from Germany, and the Brussels Latvian Theatre with its ten-year anniversary performance of the play Vēlreiz Silmačos.
The ELKS programme includes a concert at the European Parliament, a theatre performance, flash mob activities in Brussels, public debates on Latvian literature, culture and history, an exhibition of Latvian handicrafts, and concerts by chamber and popular musicians.
The culmination of the festival on the evening of 20 June will be the open-access Song and Dance Celebration Concert, which takes place on an open-air stage in the centre of Brussels. The concert will be preceded by a procession of the festival participants through the old town of Brussels. For the concert, Kristīne Kārkle-Puriņa will provide the musical accompaniment together with a band of musicians from Latvia formed especially for the festival.
The leitmotif of the Song and Dance Celebration Concert programme is love. Each participant and spectator will be invited to remember and honour the nation's cultural treasures acquired over the centuries, as well as the treasures of the heart – love for human beings, Nature and the homeland.
The repertoire of the Song and Dance Celebration Concert has been designed according to the traditions of the Latvian nationwide song and dance celebrations, which, along with the Lithuanian and Estonian Song and Dance Festivals, are included in UNESCO's Intangible Cultural Heritage List. The united choir will perform Latvian folk songs, masterpieces by Latvian composers and contemporary compositions. In turn, the dance repertoire will include beloved Latvian traditional and stage dances, as well as contemporary choreography. The concert will also feature children's dance performances and Latvian folklore groups.
For more information, see the ELKS webpage.