Glossary Of Terms

Arts Festival - Literally, Days of Culture, used by the Australian Latvian community for their festival, initially held annually but, more recently, every other year.

Chief choreographer - Literally chief director, but, in most cases, they actually choreograph the dances, hence this term is used.

Chief conductor - A person chosen to conduct a festival choir, whether that be for regional Days of Song, various festivals, or the greatest honour – conducting at for major concerts. Considering how many choirs and conductors there are in Latvia and how many compete to be part of the Song Celebration, yet fail to make it, the title virsdiriģents (chief conductor) is a greatly coveted one.

Choir competition - Literally choir competition, a tradition established at the first Song Festival in 1873.

Days of Song - A literal translation used to differentiate these events from svētki (festivals). As was the seminal event in 1864, these are specifically about choirs combining to put on a public concert. In certain cases, the term has been used for more diverse events (e.g. the exile community’s European events from the late 1980s), such events have been translated as song festivals.

Gathering - A less formal version of Days of Song, more about singing, learning than performing for the public.

Goda – Honorary.

Kokle - A traditional Latvian, stringed instrument in the zither family.

Massed choir, combined choir - The song-festival tradition revolves around a number of choirs joining together to perform a concert. But this term can cover many variations in scale, from 2-3 local choirs coming together to the massed choir of thousands at the closing concert – culmination – of the All-Latvian Song Festival, now termed the Song Celebration.

Review - Review, display.

Song Celebration - Elsewhere, this term has been used to describe the entire Song Festival. In this resource, it has been reserved for the Festival culmination – kopkora koncerts (massed-choir concert).

Song Festival - The first song festivals would now be considered Days of Song, i.e., standalone massed-choir concerts with limited other events. Over time, Dziesmu svētki (Song Festival) have evolved and grown to encompass many other events – theatre and opera, a variety of other concerts, more recently the Dance Festival – and now take up a whole week. Consequently, the term festival is used in this resource. Early festivals (1 to 13) were dziedāšanas (literally singing) festivals, but it is felt the adjective Song is more appropriate in English.