Springtime Urlalla: HL in Jolly Company of Sōla

by Fat 11. June 2011 08:02


The June 4 show we did with the Riga-based mixed choir Sōla was an experience to remember

and a wonderful collaboration too. Earlier this year, in March, we got a message from our friend who is also one of the choristers with Sōla. He told us that the conductor of the choir, the talented Mr Kaspars Vēvers, would like to put on a show with Holy Lamb and perform the 30+ minute piece of music 'Jolly Company' ('Jautra sabiedrība') penned by Latvian dadaist composer Juris Ābols (b. 1950). For initial reference, we were supplied with a recording of that piece by the famous Latvian Radio Choir, the entity which records Mr Ābols's music by default. So we had a listen and some good laugh (some of us claimed to hear smatterings of Mr Bungle in it, not far from the truth anyway!), but then the sheet music arrived backed up with Guitar Pro files. That was when things started to look darn serious: numerous tempo/mood changes, weird measures... The composer's favourite must be 7/16!


We started to study the material in mid-April, but our drummer Toms had a 3-week business commitment in Slovakia, so we had to do without him. The more we studied, the more we fell in love with the music... and the more persistent were questions like 'Can we really do this?' and 'How on earth is one supposed to play this part?' Toms returned to the fold only a week before the scheduled first rehearsal with the choir and things were really starting to gel. All of a sudden we were playing with a real drummer (as opposed to the midi hitter in Guitar Pro)! Regardless of what we might have expected, the rehearsals went very well, and we had four of them in the two weeks before the show.


The show managed to attract a four-generation crowd, quite a big one! The concert kicked off with an a capella piece by Swedish composer Jan Sandström, followed by another Ābols' composition called Karawane (extremely weird stuff!). As the choir went off to get changed, we performed a couple of our own instrumental tracks, The Lingering Dream and iINTHESKY. Then the choir came back and WE DID IT! Later we learned that this was the very first time that 'Jolly Company' was performed live in its entirety. The live recording of our version of the piece clocks in at 35+ minutes, so, when the show was over, we knew that we had just got past an important milestone in our timeline. Just like finishing the final page in a chapter of a book with an unpredictable plot. Or probably starting a new one.


By the way, the concert was Mr Vēvers' master's exam for the Latvian Academy of Music. He got a 10 (out of 10), which translates as excellent. In our opinion, though, he deserved an 11!!


Check out some of the pics (megathanks to Ludis Illo!) from the show by clicking on the one below. Hopefully, we'll also be able to share a video with you one day: we spotted a couple of video cameras in the hall.


Springtime = Party Time

by Fat 27. February 2011 00:16

Damn right! We had a couple of fantastic gigs with local band Busy Bee (see photos here) and Palindrome from Austria (pictures taken by Ludwig Illo are up on his own website) in the months of March and April 2011.


On March 12, we joined Latvian rockers Busy Bee at the Students' club of Latvian Academy of Music. We were invited as special guests to bring a "proggy" edge to the hosting band's and their frontman Flame's birthday party. For Holy Lamb, this was the first live performance to feature lead guitarist Ansis Markauss who joined the band last autumn. Our former drummer Jānis Burmeisters helped us out on this occasion since our current skinsman Toms was unable to make it due to a business commitment. To see a selection of pics from this gig, click on the link above or the photo below.


The Nabaklab gig (April 9) saw Holy Lamb's first ever live appearance with newcomer Toms Circenis on drums. We opened for the mighty Palindrome from Vienna. They did an excellent show at last year's Baltic Prog Fest and it's really great that they decided to come back to the Baltics again. Those interested may check out their profile on MySpace. As regards Holy Lamb's live set, we did a couple of numbers: 'Winterlude', an instrumental track with a fantastic outro section composed by our guitarist Quizz, and 'iINTHESKY' (sorry, we'd done this one in Liepāja last summer, but still new to Rigans).

Up and running again

by Fat 17. December 2010 03:28


It's been a while since our last post, hasn't it? Our website had gone offline at some point in November, but now it's obviously back where it used to be. :)


Anyway... As the website remained down for a few weeks we were unable to give you any news, so here we go now. Where do I start? Right. In August 2010, Holy Lamb was joined by its long-time friend Ansis Markauss (of Latvian prog-metal band Morpholatria), a technically advanced guitarist with a lot of brilliant ideas. This basically means that, for the second time in the band's history, we have parted ways with Uldis 'Ludis' Ēlerts. Two months later three of us attended a concert of contemporary music in Riga which showcased a number of Daniel Denis/Univers Zero compositions among other things. That's where we bumped into Toms Circenis, a drummer we have known for years. To cut the long story short, Toms told us that his previous band, Hospitāļu iela, had broken up, so he accepted our offer to replace Jānis Burmeisters, whom we wish the best of success with his tattoo studio in the old town of Riga and the Tesa band. Interestingly enough, Ansis and Toms had already auditioned for Holy Lamb 8 and 11 years ago, respectively, but their services were turned down by the band in favour of other musicians. Not this time though! Work on new material is well underway, so let's keep our fingers crossed that 2011 brings everything it takes to release the fourth Holy Lamb album. Gosh, it's our TWENTIETH anniversary next September!!!!


The new faces: Ansis (left) and Toms.