Interview with Silga Loka, musician
New York City
August 25th, 2011
By Laura Korpa
Silga Loka was my classmate in the Music School of Baldone in Latvia. I was learning how to play the piano, and she also took violin lessons. Her mother was our class teacher, and also a teacher of violin. All Music School years were interwoven into music – History of music, learning how to read and play music, understanding of different times and how its portrayed into music since our childhood. Now I live in New York, but Silga is still a student back in Latvia, Latvian Academy of Culture, one of the most experienced and rich in traditions, academies in Latvia, offers modern cultural education according to the demands of labor market.
Silga, I heard that you just came back from Spain where you were singing in a choir which got the 2nd place in the music contest. Can you please tell me more about it ?
- Yes, that’s right. From July 22nd to July 30th I was in Spain (Torrevieja) and our choir Via Stella took part in the 57th International contest of “Habaneras and Polyphony” (57 certamen internacinal de habaneras y polifonia). The trip started on July 18th when we left Latvia (Riga) and after five days and four nights we finally reached Torrevieja where we found out that we could not check in the hotel yet so we spent the night in a little park in front of the hotel in our sleeping bags. But it was fun though. The next day, July 23rd we finally got in our rooms, nothing special, just the most wonderful view on the Mediterranean Sea from the sixth floor of our Cabo Cervera hotel. And if we felt too lazy to walk those five minutes to the sea we could just lounge by the hotel pool. Of course, I have to mention our delicious meals three times a day where we could eat as much as we wanted.
First two days we had rehearsals because we had to perform on July 24th. The hotel staff was very kind and they allowed us to rehearse in their conference room. Our performance that night of July 24th (actually it was already July 25th because when it was our turn it was already 1a.m.) was just the way we wanted, we gave our best and public reaction was great.So finally we could just relax and enjoy our time in Spain, walk around, swim, go to the club… …until the last day – the organizers told us that we have to sing again on July 29th, the final. By the end of the final night, Indonesian choir and others had gotten most of the prizes and we didn’t even have hope, but when the host called our name we were just exalted – We got the second place in polyphony and 5000 euros (approximately 7565.50 $). Right after that we went to our hotel, packed our things, got in the bus and left Torrevieja. We had a very long drive home ahead of us.
Were you excited? Was there anything that touched you for a while at the contest ?
- We had an opportunity to listen to other contestants during their performance and I think that the most interesting part was their chosen repertoire. The second thing that surprised me (OK, actually it didn’t, but I really enjoyed it) that everybody was very friendly and wasn’t afraid to start talking. And, I guess, they really like European girls, especially those with brighter hair color. The third thing was that my roommates were very cool and we had very much fun together.
Can you please tell me more about the choir you were singing with?
- Our choir is Via Stella. It’s a girl’s choir, and it was founded in 1996 and our conductor is Liene Batna. The girls choir Via Stella is a creative and active choir. It performs not only in its own country but also takes part in different international projects and song contests.
In 2001, the choir took part in master classes in Riga led by the BBC's former singer of The Sing Singers, Bob Chilchote and the vocal teacher Vivien Pike. In 1999 and 2002, the choir Via Stella became the double winner of the golden prize of the International J. Brahms festival in Germany.In 2003, it won first place among the children choirs in the International Choir Contest, Silver Bells, in Latvia.In summer 2005, it became the third prize winner of the IX Song and Dance Festival for Schools. In October 2005, it took part in the International E. Darzin’s Choir Contest – winning the first place in its category. In 2006, it won the first place in the International Children’s Choir Habanera Contest in Spain in 2007. Competition "Music Inspiration Landscape" Via Stella won first place and got Grand Prix - Concert tour to Austria and Germany. In 2007 winning the first place in XVI International S.Shimkus Choir competition and got "The Minor Amber" prize.
Silga, please tell me about your musical experience.
- My mother is a violin teacher, so I, of course, had to attend music school. I play violin and piano. After graduating music school I decided that I didn’t want to continue to study music but I just couldn’t give it up completely so I stayed in my mother’s little orchestra that has now grown into a youths sympho-jazz orchestra and has performed abroad and in various festivals in Latvia. For example, the Annual Jazz Festival in Valmiera.
Do you consider going to NYC and building your music career there ? Why ?
- Actually, yes. NYC is in my plans but I have to finish school first. About music career - It’s just a dream but maybe I could join a jazz orchestra. But first I’d really like to feel how it is to be and live in NYC and of course I’m dying to see some underground jazz clubs/bars.
What do you think of music career in NYC in general, you think it’s easy or very difficult to be a successful musician here and why ?
- I think that you don’t have to be a graduate of an exclusive music school or academy – All you need is talent, brain and good management.
Your contact information.
- FB, twitter – Silga Loka
My orchestra performs Moon River by Henry Mancini
Our performance in Torrevieja, Spain