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New Wave - Riding the Wave of Fame

By Inese Timuka. 21.07.2009

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July and August are the most exciting months to visit Jurmala, Latvia’s sandy resort with its famous 33 km stretch of beach. And not just because of the weather. This is when New Wave, the biggest musical event of the year, hits the shores.


Officially known as the International Competition of Young Singers of Popular Music, New Wave has become an important event not only locally, but also in the international music arena. Each year this musical extravaganza attracts more locals and visitors alike to the beaches of Jurmala for six days of sun, fun and serious musical discoveries.
There were more than 8,000 applications sent in from 37 countries for the first selection round of New Wave 2009, from which the jury selected 160 for the semi-final. These talented singers were then given the opportunity to strut their stuff on stage. Only 16 have been chosen for the final race, which is taking place in Jurmala from July 28 to August 2.
According to the event’s management, the idea of organizing this kind of contest belongs to two legendary composers – Igor Krutoy from Russia and Raimonds Pauls from Latvia. This was to be a completely new type of competition, unlike others that have taken place in Russia, the CIS and the Baltics. Both composers agreed that there was a "musical crisis" in the modern popular music industry, not only in the Russian show business scene. Most
singers and bands are dull and uninspired, “here one day, gone the next”, but “real stars” seem to rise very rarely.
New Wave is a place where new talents can reveal their abilities and be helped to catch the wave and ride it as far as it will take them. Maestro Raimonds Pauls says: “You see, we have to create a place for these youngsters to appear. That’s why we’re interested in this event, which is broadcast by Russian television. This is television which nowadays is sent all over the world. There is a huge audience, and programs are screened in America and in Australia – wherever Russian speakers live, all over the world.”
The first competition was held in 2002. Regarding the actual competition, the jury’s main task is to discover new, talented and unusual singers. The audience becomes witness to the musical combat between the finalists. But they are also entertained by guest performances.
“For example, last year we saw the Spanish opera star Monserrat Caballe,” Pauls said. “And the American singer Joe Cocker. It takes a large sum of money to attract these performers. We can’t just get by with the aim of making new singers more popular – people don’t know them. The audience wants to come and see the performers they know, who are popular.”

Who’s who?
New Wave is organized by ARS Holding, whose president is Igor Krutoy. ARS Holding provides practically all kinds of services related to show business. It is a leading company in the Russian market that creates and produces music and entertainment television programs as requested by Russia’s leading state television channels, ORT and RTR.
The highly respected Latvian composer Raimonds Pauls has been the head of the jury for each year of the competition. Every year, famous singers and producers make up the other members of the jury.
New Wave wouldn’t be as successful as it is today without its general stage director, Alexander Revzin, who has taken part in organizing grand musical events such as “Slavianski Bazar” and “Pesnia Goda”.
Evgeniy Orlov is the competition’s music producer, who has worked with famous Russian bands including Via Slivki and Otpjatie Moshenniki. Alexander Rumiantsev is the event’s general director. And we shouldn’t forget that the muse of New Wave is the legendary Russian diva Alla Pugacheva.

How it all works
The concerts in Jurmala are just the peak point of the competition. Most of the work is done over the previous year. There are three rounds. Participants initially send in their recordings where there must be three or four songs, one or two of them in a foreign language.
Those who get through to the next round are invited to perform in front of the jury, where they must prove that they deserve to be in the final performance on stage in Jurmala. It’s not easy to choose the finalists, not least because each year the number of applicants increases.
Participants sing a song in their native language on the very first day of the competition, then perform an internationally famous hit and finally, in the third round, sing songs written especially for the festival. At the end, the jury chooses three winners.

Gallery of fame
The first winner of the contest in 2002 was the duo Smash! Nowadays, the pair no longer perform together, but both have their own solo pop careers that started in Jurmala.
That same year the then-unknown singer Dima Bilan took fourth place. Today he’s one of the very top money-spinning pop performers in Russia and Eastern Europe and he won the Eurovision Song Contest last year.
In 2004, the Latvian vocal band Cosmos were voted the best because of their unique style, which is completely a cappella. Another Latvian participant won the following year too, the singer and trombonist Intars Busulis. He went on to represent Latvia in this year’s Eurovision, but unfortunately luck wasn’t his companion this time.
Then, in 2007, Natalia Gordienko of Moldova won at New Wave, while last year all of the members of the jury were charmed by the duo Georgia from, yes that’s right, Georgia.
It seems there’s no harsh rivalry behind the scenes at the competition, as the young musicians spend a lot of time together during excursions, interviews, parties and even a beach football tournament organized in Jurmala to bring these future music stars closer together.
Plenty of world-class guest singers have performed during the festival, for example the legendary Stevie Wonder, Chris de Burgh, Patricia Kaas, Sarah Conor, Michael Bolton, Craig David, Enrique Iglesias, In-Grid and Thomas Anders.
Extremely popular Russian stars have taken part as well, including Valeria, Christina Orbakaite, Valery Leontiev, Philip Kirkorov, Vladimir Presnyakov, Valery Meladze, Sofia Rotaru, Nikolay Baskov and many more.

Cash and diamonds
Taking first place in the finals of New Wave is a grand event in itself, because its opens the door to widespread fame and popularity. The three top winners receive a significant amount of money as well.
For example in 2003, USD $25,000 was awarded for first place and the runner-up received $20,000. Last year, the winner was awarded $50,000 and second place earned $30,000. This year, the amounts of cash being handed out have stayed the same as last year. The winners also take home an elegant statue of cresting crystal waves.
Since 2005, Alla Pugacheva has been generously awarding her own special prize of $50,000 to her favorite contestant. There is also recognition for the performer who wins the audience’s heart; the crowd favorite takes home a certificate and special gift of Smolensky diamonds. Female winners of this award receive a diamond necklace, male winners an elegant ring.
On any day in Jurmala during the festival, you’ll probably spot a famous face. The event attracts more than just stars, however; there’s a huge influx of Russian and international visitors to the resort.
This year, the competition is as international as ever with 16 singers competing from different countries, including Belarus, China, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Indonesia, Italy, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Poland, Russia and Ukraine.
The festival contains all kind of events and lasts for six days. There’s a grand opening, three days of competition, the closing of the festival and after-parties for musicians, organizers and special VIP guests.
These parties are reputed for their live music, sophisticated food, fashion shows and lots of surprises. Those who have been lucky enough to be there in previous years will be sad to learn that there won’t be any all-night disco parties on the beach this year. The disco has been moved indoors – and inland – to the Godvil nightclub in Riga (see address and info in our Entertainment Guide listings).
If you want to attend the New Wave competition, don’t be late getting your tickets. And remember that the concert commentary will all be in Russian. Tickets for the events, which take place at the Dzintari Concert Hall, range from €45 to €245, depending on the seating and the day of the event. You can buy these online at ticketservice.lv. Tickets for VIP events are available from Dzintara Disks, Ģertrūdes 69/71, tel: 6727 7330.
With its outstanding beaches and see-and-be-seen atmosphere, Jurmala is a great place to have a good time. This is especially the case during New Wave – definitely the annual entertainment highlight for Latvia’s top resort city.

 

john 23.07.2009 11:26

Yeah, full of dazzling girls, mobs and betleys..... worth visiting is you really have cash

Reply

Force9Storm 30.07.2009 01:04

I've watched it for a couple of days now & it looks to me as though the whole lot is pre-recorded - why would anyone pay so
much money for non-live performances ?

Reply

Force9Storm 30.07.2009 01:06

But I've watched many so called "live concerts" in Eastern Europe that are not live. I guess it's just the norm over here !
If someone actually played live it'd probably sound shit to them & be booed off lol. Cause they're so used to all live music
being so perfect.

Reply




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