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Aarzemnieki: We believe in our song, because it makes us happy

Latvia_2014_AarzemniekiAuthor: MÁDI Sándor

This year Latvia will be represented by the group Aarzemnieki. 2008 was the last year when the Baltic country qualified for the Grand Final (Pirates of the Sea). On 6th May we will know if they have the luck this year, until this read my interview I made with the group.

How did the group’s music career start?

“Aarzemnieki” is a band consisting of 3 Latvians and one German.

“Aarzemnieki” began as a German guy, Jöran Steinhauer wrote a farewell song to the Lat currency, aptly naming the song „Paldies Latiņam!“ (“Thank you, Lat!”).  Later, the video became a Youtube sensation.  The popularity surrounding the song was so large that Jöran decided to pack his bags and make his way to Latvia with one thing in mind- “let’s see what happens next!”

However Jöran has actually been connected with Latvia since 2005 as he was a exchange student there. Later he volunteered at a children’s centre and in the German church of Riga. The story behind the “Aarzemnieki” (Foreigners) group’s name is quite precise due to Jöran’s status in Latvia.

The word’s complicated pronunciation reflects each foreigner’s struggle to integrate into the local society. In the fall of 2013, the group grew from a solo act with three new members- violinist and vocalist Katrīna Dimanta, drummer Raitis Viļumovs and pianist Guntis Veilands.

This year you were selected to represent Latvia at Eurovision Song Contest 2014 in Copenhagen. What does it mean for you?

Eurovision is very important for us, because it is the biggest music competition between so many countries. To have the chance to sing for Latvia is fantastic!

How was your song created, what’s the message of the lyrics?

The song says – don’t be too proud to admit to your fails or lack of knowledge, go and ask for help and learn something new. Basically – everything is possible, like to melt the ice of the polar caps, for instance 🙂 (a line from the song)

Do you follow Eurovision Song Contest? If yes, since when?

Our vocalist Jöran Steinhauer is always up ­to­ date about the ESC, he even took part at the Latvian Pre-Selection already in 2008. Besides it is not a secret anymore that Brainstorm (Latvian band which participated at the ESC in year 2000) made Jöran such a fan of Latvia and the Contest.

Another group member Katrīna has also been at the National Finals in Latvia, it was in year 2009 with a band named “Camillas” and the song “Time goes”.

Who are your favourite singers? (In the world, not only Eurovision singers.)

Jöran: Billy Joel, Meat Loaf, Guus Meeuwis

Katrīna: Queen

This year there will be 37 countries in the contest. Do you have your favourites?

We have heard all the songs. But we don’t have any favourites yet. Maybe we will have one, when we see the performances live 😉

What are your expectations, your main aims?

We believe in our song, because it makes us happy and if it makes the viewers happy, this is our success!  Of course, we feel a big responsibility to Latvia, which is hoping to get the best possible result. That’s our aim.

What inspires you?

We wouldn’t say that concrete musicians are our inspiration. Each group member is so different, so are our inspirers. Our idols are  Queen, Renars Kaupers (band Brainstorm), Billy Joel, Reinhard Mey, Udo Lindenberg, Guus Meeuw, and many more.

What are your plans after Eurovision?

The ideal “After-Eurovision-Time” would be to have the opportunity to remain being musician and make people happy with our music. In the moment we are thinking and speaking only about Eurvovision. We enjoy the moment and don’t think about future.

What would you like to send to the Hungarian readers and fans of Aarzemnieki?

Dear friends and fans, thank you very much for being a part of Eurovision. Without you, the ESC wouldn’t exist. You understand the importance and the positive idea of it. Musical and tasty greetings from “Aarzemnieki” 🙂

Thanks for Katrína Dimanta (vocalist) for this interview and special thanks for Gunita Piterane.

We wish good luck for you in Copenhagen!

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