Singer Marija Naumova: May peace be in our hearts
In the mood of the summer solstice, the always charming stage diva tells Neatkarīgā about her family's traditions on Līgo Day, outlines her creative plans for this summer, invites us to join her for "French Sunset" evenings, and reveals what birthday present would make her happy.
It's Līgo Day and it's your birthday. What are the traditions in your family on this day?
I love Līgo, but I don't remember celebrating my birthday on this day. But people shouldn't be deprived of such a beautiful celebration, so I invite my friends over at a different time. For example, on my name day. It's just a chance to get together, to talk, to have a good laugh. When I meet my friends, it's important for me that they have a good time, because if other people have a good time, I have a good time.
Actually, in our family, the main celebrations are the children's birthdays. That has been the case so far, but now our son has grown up (Artūrs will be 12 in September) and soon he will be more interested in parties with friends and we parents won't be needed there anymore.
My birthday is not important to me, it is just a beautiful day. Of course, I am happy because many people call me and congratulate me and I get a lot of positive emotions. But I like more to organize the celebrations and make others happy.
But to experience the summer solstice, we had a tradition for several years to go on a campervan trip for a few days in Latvia. On Līgo Day we went to my friend Līga's place in Vecpiebalga and there we celebrated the festival with many traditions - burning torches, lighting bonfires, singing and dancing. We have also gone there to celebrate in neighboring houses, and it was always a very lovely celebration. With Covid, everything changed.
What about this time?
This time it will probably be quiet. That's how it is now. A lot of unanswered questions, a lot of unknowns... Yes, we will stay at home for the first time in many years. Maybe we'll go to the beach, where there will be bonfires, and we'll have a bonfire ourselves. If Raitis is not at home, we will just hang out with some friends. My husband is at work, he might be away for a while. But maybe he will surprise me. Raitis knows how to do that.
How has your summer been thus far? Are there any musical events planned?
I can't say that I will have a very, very creatively active summer, but there will be some concerts. This year I really wanted to go back to French music - it gives a feeling of lightness, and this emotion is the most important for me now. I think we all need it now - to disconnect from the daily rush, worries and pains and just be together and dream. Yes, dream! I have often heard that people have stopped dreaming because the conditions in which we have been living for the last two years, and now the third year is passing, have made us suffer and ache. That's why I come back to French music from time to time, because it allows me to dream... And this summer I'll be giving four concerts - a summer music concert program called "French Sunset". I've prepared an acoustic program of my favorite French songs. This summer marks fifteen years since my husband, daughter and I boarded our little van to go to Paris. We lived there for nine beautiful years of our lives. There is an indescribable sense of freedom and independence, lightness, romance and joie de vivre in the air of France and Paris in particular, and this is also reflected in their music. And how could it be without the contemplation of love!
Where will these concerts take place?
In Latvian manor houses and castles. We will start at Bīriņu Castle on July 14, which is French Republic Day, and on July 22 at Jaunmoku Castle we will celebrate together the name day of me and all the Marijas. On August 12 we will be at Mazmežotne Manor, and on August 19 at Vecgulbene Manor. All concerts start at 7 pm.
Will it be just four concerts?
Yes, because there are other things to do and I also want to enjoy the summer. Next year will be my big birthday, then I will organize something bigger. I have several ideas, I've already spoken to my colleagues and friends from France and other countries, and it could be something new. I really hope that nothing will change, that everything can happen and that I can make my dream come true. I will not say anything more, so it will remain a secret for now.
Are there new songs in the making?
We have just recorded a song by Raimonds Tiguls, with the help of a great Hungarian multi-instrumentalist, Alizbar Suhari. I've been cherishing this idea for several years, and now it's happened. There are still a few details to be worked out, and I hope that the song will be on the radio soon. I think it's a very beautiful piece by Raimonds. Yes, there are creative ideas, the main thing is to get everything done.
Alongside the big project your family is involved in, giving a helping hand to the people of Ukraine...
Honestly, I would love to go back even one year, to the time of the Covid, because what is happening now... It is horrible, painful and unacceptable. It is unthinkable, the mind refuses to believe and accept what is happening as reality... How will it develop, when and how will it end? And what consequences will it have... Can it ever end in such a way that it never happens again?! We don't know. That's also why we don't feel the need to really celebrate anything. But we should enjoy life! I think that we, creative people, have to give positive emotions from ourselves. We should all think as positively as possible, share good words, avoid negativity, because unfortunately there is a lot of bad and negative at the moment. That is what is needed - to open our hearts to each other. I believe that bright thoughts and our common positive energy will fill the ether with goodness and will help good things to happen, will help peace to return. I wish with all my heart that the skies over Ukraine will be clear as soon as possible, that there will be peace in the whole world, that there will be peace in Latvia. And above all, peace in our hearts.
At least at our home, what is happening in Ukraine is very painful, and we face it every day. Raitis picked up this project, helping the victims of war, he is working with very serious things. There are a lot of stories, a lot of information...
(Already in the first days of the war, Marija's family was involved in transporting Ukrainian war victims to Europe; support for the Ukrainians is still ongoing, and now medical care in Europe is being sought and provided for wounded people.)
My concern is for the people here, and it is quite difficult to switch to something else on a daily basis. I need the creative process this year literally as a medicine, because it is the music that helps me to come out of it all, to keep the strength to keep doing what I am doing. To be able to keep living and giving.
I'm just afraid that Covid hasn't gone anywhere either, come autumn it will probably be back. That is why I would very much like our politicians to finally “come down” to the people - to talk to the people about how they feel before they take major decisions. I think that diplomacy has a very important role to play today, because we have to find a happy medium - both within ourselves and in our political decisions. We lack the wisdom not to divide society in this difficult, complex situation, but to bring it together. Of course, nothing will change overnight, but perhaps this is the time to start from scratch on some issues. Not to live with the ideas, pains and complaints of the past, but to think about what our children need, because they are our future. Perhaps this is the time to think more forward.
Marija, what can I wish you for your birthday?
I don't think I need anything more than anyone else. Just good health. That the horrors that are happening in Ukraine end as soon as possible. That we can all start building peace from scratch together. That we can all live in a fairer, more reasonable, more compassionate and more humane society.
What to wish for me? I always thought that I knew how to enjoy today, here and now. And yet I still have to learn to enjoy life every day and to appreciate all that we have. Yes, appreciation is so important.