Olga Rajecka‏: “I am mesmerized by the folk dancing and want to keep everything authentic and Latvian” [Interview]

For the second year Latvia is using the new style Dziesma national final to select its entry to the Eurovision Song Contest. With the semi-finals behind us and the finals looming on the horizon, we took the chance to catch up with some of the singers taking part and today we speak to an absolute legend of Latvia’s music industry Olga Rajecka‏, who is taking part with the dance group
escXtra: Hello Olga, thanks for taking some to speak to us today! Firstly we’d like to congratulate you on your qualification final of Dziesma 2014!
Olga Rajecka‏: Thank you.
X: Firstly, can you introduce yourself and tell us a little about your career so far?
O: I have had a great long career and I am very happy to continue to bring joy to people
I have sang in a popular vocal quartet “Eolika” with whom I traveled half of  the world, and the performances were generally attended by hundreds of thousands of people, they have been numerous gramophone records (LP, CD), captured video and television films.  In addition, I have long been a soloist at a group called ‘’Turaidas Roze” created by composer Imants Kalnins. Later on I was a part of various projects, such as “Tango”, “Bāze 7” and “Dāmu pops”.
X: How did you come to work together with Ligo and the creative team behind your entry ‘Saule Riet?
O: The traditional folk dance ensemble “Ligo” has been directed by choreographer John Purviņš for many years is one of the leading Latvian folk dance groups, founded in 1945. The team boasts a nearly 50-year old history and traditions. The group has performed and is reaping laurels at various festivals around the world. Founded in 1995 the ensemble was led by artistic director John Purviņš.  I was just mesmerized by the folk dancing they do and the idea came about to keep everything authentic and Latvian, so what can be more Latvian than our folk dances.
X: Could you tell us what the song is about?
O: The author of the song lyrics is Guntars Racs. We have worked together on many successful projects for many years now. The literal translation of the song would be “Sun Goes Down”. The song is about myself, really, because it tells a story is about a girl, who waits for the sunset from the time that day begins; she is waiting  for the sunset because that is the time, when the real life of love, friends and joy begins. When or if the sun no longer sets it would not only be the end of all the fun times, but also the end of the world. So, the girl is happy that the sun is setting and love continues. I have found an inner girl, who the song is about.
X: This year marks 10 years since the last and only Eurovision song was sung in Latvian. If you were to win Dziesma would you keep the song in Latvian or would you sing an English version?
O: I would keep the Latvian version. The English version is very nice, but to have the full Latvian experience with the dancers and our folk costumes the Latvian language is the one to use.
X: For many of the participants in Dziesma, Eurovision is not always the overall goal in participation. For you, what does it mean to take part in Dziesma?
O: I have a new appreciation for the Eurovision Song contest and for me it would be something out of the ordinary and a very exciting experience.
X: What are your feelings on the fact that if you win you will be representing your nation at Eurovision in Copenhagen in May?
O: I just feel a great responsibility towards the people, who have helped me.
X: Are you a Eurovision fan, and if so do you have any favourite Eurovision songs? Perhaps a favourite Latvian entry?
O: I could not say that before because it seemed that it was not right for me. I guess I made a mistake, because now I feel very good and inspired. From our most artists I like Prata Vetra (Brainstorm), Musiqq and of course, Fomins & Kleins, who first dared to perform with a Latvian song to go to the international competition. I appreciate it and hope to be the next one to represent Latvia.
X: Now some questions to get to know a little better, how did you spend your Christmas and New Year?
O: I spent my holidays with my family at the countryside, it was very nice to be away from the city and enjoy some quality family time.
X: Where is your favourite place in Latvia and/or where would you recommend someone visiting Latvia go see?
O: If you come to Latvia, definitely make time for the Latvian countryside, not only for the beautiful Riga. I myself am from the city of Lielvarde and believe me, the peace and blessing is in the fields of the countryside, which have no comparison. Latvians are hospitable, though a bit reserved. This is because there are people, who have caused us a lot of pain in the past, so we might seem reserved to the strangers, but as soon as we feel that people come with good intentions, we welcome them as best friends.
X: What is your favourite food to cook?
O: I love to cook soups – always warms you up.
X: If you could have any animal in the world as a pet, what would you choose?
O: I love the pet animals, cats and dogs; they are the sincerest friends possible.
X: What is the most embarrassing thing that has ever happened to you?
O: Oh, there have been plenty of moments like those, even at my shows 🙂
X: Finally, do you have a message for our readers?
O: For the big Eurovision event this year, I would love to see the Latvian language represented , and to have the peace around the world, clean water, blue skies and every child with an ice cream in hand.
Thank you very much for the time and attention. I truly appreciate each person’s time devoted to me.
Olga and Ligo, along with 11 other acts take part in the final of Dziesma 2014 this Saturday. See their semi-final performance of ‘Saule Riet below! On behalf of all the team at escXtra I would like to thank Olga for speaking with us once again and wish her all the best with whatever may be next!

Liam Clark

I am a founding editor of escXtra who now works as a member of the Estonian Delegation's Press Team. Even though my Xtra days are behind me, I still like writing the odd piece here and there. P.S vote for Estonia 😘 🇪🇪 ❤️

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