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Jōra means ‘lake’ in the Livonian language. Long ago, the similar Latvian word jūra meant ‘lake’ also in the Baltic languages, but this meaning shifted over time to mean ‘sea’. In the context of contemporary ethnic music, however, Jōra denotes a group of four energetic young people who perform Latvian music as well as music from other regions. With a small ensemble of violin, kokle, guitar, and percussion, they fuse the sounds of Latvia and northern Europe.

The members of Jōra are Dārta Drava (violin, vocals), Lauma Matule (kokle, wooden flute, vocals), Ivars Štubis (guitar) and Kalvis Vītols (percussion). The two women studied ethnomusicology together, Ivars grew up in an Australian-Latvian family and moved to Latvia only relatively recently, and Kalvis is a member of a large family of folklorists. In addition to post-folk interpretations of Latvian songs, the group’s repertoire also includes Scandinavian flavours.