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RAIMONDS PAULS

Raimonds Pauls (1936) is the most outstanding Latvian popular music composer who has at the same time maintained a close relationship to his academic musical education.  While honing his skills as a brilliant pianist at the Latvian Conservatory of Music (1953-1958), Pauls also gained experience playing accompaniment to gymnastics lessons, parties, and dances as well as becoming member of a number of jazz and popular music groups. In 1956, together with his classmate Egils Švarcs he forms the first Latvian popular/jazz group and becomes a pioneer of Latvian popular song.

The song genre became Pauls’s favorite way of expressing his musical talents – the total number of his songs exceeds 800 and they are heard both at Song Festivals and at home parties. Starting the 1970s, Pauls became popular throughout the Soviet Union; about 250 of his songs have been translated into Russian; translations into Japanese, German, Egnlish, Polish, and other languages also exist. Pauls’s musical expression is rooted in Latvian folk songs whose intonations are woven together with jazz, blues, rock’n’roll, chanson, Schlager, and other popular music elements. The key to Pauls’s success is not only his infectious melodies, but also his uncanny sense of what is topical and au courant in popular music. For several lengthy periods, Pauls has created his own musical "labs": when he headed the very famous Rīgas Estrādes Orķestris (REO; 1964–1971) a number of legendary songs, including  "Mežrozīte", "Baltā saule", "Baltijas jūra", and others were created; his collaboration with the group "Modo" (1972–1978) produced the popular songs "Manai Dzimtenei", "Mēmā dziesma", "Laternu stundā" etc. along with the series of jazz-rock songs with lyrics by poet Daina Avotiņa (1973).

In the 1980s Pauls turned mostly to choir music: he collaborated with the children’s group "Dzeguzīte", and created a number of song cycles set to Latvian classical poetry that can hardly be classified as popular music.  A novelty in his middle-age was a close collaboration with Latvian singing actors. Among his concert performances that spanned the globe, one of the most notable was at Carnegie Hall in New York in 1981.

Throughout his career Pauls has also written instrumental music (about 300 pieces), movie soundtracks (about 30), as well as music for plays (about 40); he is also the authors of several musicals, with  "Māsa Kerija" (1979), "Nāc pie puikām" (1982), and "Meža gulbji" (1995) the most popular.

A prolific composer, Pauls is also a brilliant pianist who has developed his own individual style rooted in jazz. Pauls’s touch is sharp, laconic, impeccably technical. From his creative partners, singers and musicians, he likewise demands the highest quality and total commitment.

Daiga Mazvērsīte

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