Arts & Culture

Positivus 2013 – Three Days of Peace and Music

by Paolo Sorbello

Salacgrīvā, Latvia is a small town on the Baltic Sea shoreline that offers nothing special throughout the year. It’s too far from both Riga and Tallinn to make for a summer retreat. However, for the past seven years, every July, it becomes the venue of the famous Positivus festival, attracting tens of thousands of people from all ages and corners of Europe. Tidily organized, but at the same time laid-back and not too strict, Positivus attracts lovers of all kinds of contemporary music, from the electronic to the more instrumental flavors

Jewish Cultural Revival: A New Remedy to Poland’s ‘Phantom Pain’?*

by Marta Łomża

Singer’s Warsaw is great fun. The one street that survived the two wartime uprisings and the post-war demolitions is dressed in posters and fairy lights, its normally empty ground floors turned into shops, lecture spaces and coffee shops. It is hard to make one’s way through the thick crowd. There is a dance workshop and an art exhibition, and in the evening an open air concert, the blue lights rendering the space almost unreal

Restaurant Review: Mamuśka – A Polish Milkbar in London

by Kristofer Jäntti

Tucked away in one of the ugliest buildings in London, the Elephant Castle Shopping Centre, Mamuśka offers Polish home-cooking at affordable prices.  The restaurant seeks to be a focal point for London’s Polish community, offering not only authentically Polish cuisine and television, but also a décor slightly reminiscent of Poland’s Communist Milkbars’ – though without the poor service nor the inevitable stomach flu.

Looking for All Things Nordic? The Nordic Bakery in London

by Anna-Cara Keim

Who doesn’t like a crusty and sweet cinnamon bun and a good, strong cup of coffee served in a chic, but relaxing environment?

This must have been exactly what Jahli Wahlsten must have thought when he set out to open his first Scandinavian style café on Golden Square in Soho in 2007. Four years later, there are now 3 branches of the Nordic bakery – the other two are in Marylebone –  serving Nordic café staples that include delicious treats such as the Swedish Tosca cake, an almond cake topped with caramel, or open sandwiches on Finnish rye bread with herring and pickles or salmon

Film review – ‘September Eleven 1683′ or: How the Poles lost the Battle of Vienna 330 years after the fighting ended


by Mateusz Zatonski

The Battle of Vienna, which saw a league of Christian European states defeat the Ottoman Imperial forces at the gates of the Habsburg city, has a prominent place in the Polish historical psyche. Most Polish schoolchildren are taught from an early age that it was thanks to the brave Polish cavalry led by the Polish king Jan III Sobieski, who also held overall command over the Christian armies, that the Ottomans were prevented from continuing their conquest of Central Europe. In other words, the battle, which most famously included the largest cavalry charge in history, is the stuff of legends in Poland

Film review –  ‘Jesteś Bogiem’ (‘You are God’)

by Mateusz Zatonski

On its opening weekend, Jesteś Bogiem (You are God) attracted over 370 000 Poles to their local cinemas. For a nation notoriously unenthusiastic about spending an evening with film and popcorn (unless the film is streamed for free online and the popcorn is accompanied by a can of beer, preferably consumed on the sofa), this is a truly stellar result – in fact, the third best movie opening weekend in Poland in the last two decades. Even more surprisingly, the movie that attracted the Poles to the silver screens is a biopic of the icon of a music genre that is also far past its prime on the Polish market – the psychedelic rapper Piotr ‘Magik’ Łuszcz

The North and the Notion of Space: Mental Geographies in the Baltic Sea Region

by Anna-Cara Keim

East, West, North or South? The notion of geographical space is always subjective. What we view as North or East constitutes South or West for those living respectively living further North or further East. However, in most cases mental geographies are very conscious constructions, and geographical space is no longer simply formed by spatial boundaries but rather becomes a construct in people’s heads. The idea of any particular space is thus culturally and morally loaded. Ultimately, mental geographies also function to create a sense of (common) identity

Crossing The Bridge

by Anna-Cara Keim

The Bridge, “Broen” in Danish and “Bron” in Swedish, is a ten part crime series about a Swedish-Danish police investigation of a murder that has just recently been broadcasted by the BBC. The Bridge follows in the footsteps of internationally successful Scandinavian television dramas such as the Danish crime series The Killing, the political dramaBorgen, or the long-running and popular Wallander series from Sweden. Once again the British television audiences were thrilled

Russian Cinema: From Eisenstein to Sokurov

by Mateusz Zatonski

The history of Russian cinema mirrors closely the turbulent fate of the country in the last century. Until the mid-1920s no one took it under account as a major film producer. Destroyed by the lengthy Civil War, there was simply no money for sets, equipment or film stock. This is why Battleship Potemkin (Sergei Eisenstein, 1925) came to many like a bolt from the blue. Today best known for its Odessa Steps sequence

Languages in the Contact Zone: An Insight into the Origins of Baltic-Finnic Languages

by Krister SK Vasshus

The Baltic languages are considered to be archaic due to the the similarity of their features to the linguistic ancestor of the modern Indo-European (IE) languages: the Proto-Indo-European language. Lithuanian is thought to be the most conservative off all IE languages spoken today

Amber – Gold from the Baltic Sea

by Mateusz Zatonski

Amidst all this a silver river flows
Under crags by the waving reeds,
The far-flowing Vistula pours over marble pebbles,
Her head in a wreath of willows;
She divides into three at the coast,
Where boats toss gently, and like dolphins
On the water glimmering with gold
The shores shine with amber

A Beginner’s Guide to Helsinki Nightlife

by Peter Lindén

Helsinki is often ruled out when big name pop artists embark on tours of Nordic capitals. A city on the outskirts of Scandinavia, on the other side of the Baltic sea, it just isn’t worth it for many artists to make the trip out East to Finnish lands. While this exclusion from global tours has become less and less of a problem as word of lively Helsinki crowds has reached music agents, the city’s nightlife still operates in remarkable isolation from the other Nordic capitals

Fortune-tellers, bears and goats: Winter solstice celebration in Latvia

by Ilze Dimanta

(“Ziemas svētki” or “Ziemas saulgrieži” in Latvian)

Big seasonal celebrations like winter and summer solstice, as well as Easter (“The Great Day” – Lieldienas) and fall celebration in Latvia are rich in traditions. Rituals and traditions are mostly inherited from previous centuries when the farm work was directly dependent on the length of the day and night, as well as weather conditions. However, ancient traditions now coexist with newer invented and established traditions

How Latvian became Latvian

by Kārlis Caune

How did Latvia become Latvia? History is a funny thing. Every country and nations shares a different story of how their names came into being. Often these names and their etymology can be traced back hundreds and thousands of years into history. Many linguists  are still struggling  whether the Baltic languages are actually a branch of the Slavonic languages  but one is certain: true Latvians are not getting enough credit where credit is due

One comment

  1. It sounds like a good project and I look forward to reading some posts on this page to learn about the art and culture on the Baltic scenes. Keep me posted!

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