Very Cool People

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Very Cool People
Very cool people.jpg
Background information
OriginRīga, Latvia
Genresjazz-funk, soul, jazz, funk, hip-hop, rock, world
Years active2007–present
Websiteverycoolpeople.org
MembersElvijs Grafcovs (guitar)
Māris Vitkus (organ, keyboards synth)
Jānis Olekšs (bass)
Andris Buiķis (drums)
Māris Jēkabsons (tenor sax
Oskars Ozoliņš (trumpet)
Laura Rozenberga (trombone)
Kristaps Lubovs (baritone sax)
Past membersToms Rudzinskis (alto sax)
Artis Ločmelis (tenor sax)
Toms Poišs (bass)
Valters Sprūdžs (bass)
Artūrs Reirs (drums)
Jānis Jaunalksnis (drums
Kaspars Grigalis (drums)

Very Cool People is a Latvian jazz-funk, jazz, funk, and soul band, incorporating influences from surf, klezmer, rock, and hip-hop. The band was formed in Riga, Latvia in 2007 and has released seven albums. "Very Cool People" is regarded as one of Latvia's most active concert bands that has toured also in Lithuania, Estonia, Russia, Poland, Germany, Romania, Spain, Austria, Netherlands, Hungary, Serbia, Slovenia and South Korea.

Year 2007 "Very Cool People" was formed as trio Elvijs Grafcovs - guitar; Toms Poišs - bass; Arturs Reirs - drums, soon Toms Rudzinskis – alto saxophone and pianist Māris Vitkus joined the band. In the year 2020 "Very Cool People" are eight musicians: Elvijs Grafcovs - guitar; Māris Vitkus - keys, piano, organ; Andris Buiķis - drums; Jānis Olekšs - bass; Oskars Ozoliņš - trumpet; Laura Rozenberga - trombone; Kristaps Lubovs - bariton saxophone; Māris Jēkabsons - tenor sax. All of the musicians are active professionals in the Latvian music scene playing also in other projects - pop, rock, and jazz music, such as Latvian Radio Big band, and are teaching the music students.

"Very Cool People" have collaborated with the acknowledged Latvian singers such as Kristīne Prauliņa, Aija Vītoliņa, Ralfs Eilands, Evilena Protektore, Dinara Rudan, Oskars Stolse-Semerovs, Jānis Stībelis, as well as foreign vocalists Hannah Horvath, Erika Székely.

2009[edit]

At the beginning of summer 2009, "Very Cool People" released a self-titled debut album and had been nominated in two 2009 Latvian music award nominations- "Best instrumental album of 2009" and "Best debut 2009".[1]. From the Year 2008 to 2010 band often performed with different Latvian hip-hop artists like Ozols, Kurts, Nātre, Ray, and many more. In this period blues saxophonist, Artis Ločmelis was occasionally substituting Rudzinskis.

“To call themselves "Very Cool People" they got to have a good sense of humor or huge self-confidence – almost verging on arrogance. After listening to the band you are happily entitled to say they are rightful to call themselves "Very Cool People" even if they meant it seriously,” the band introduces the Latvian music magazine "Mūzikas saule".[2]

2010 - 2011[edit]

From 2010 till 2011 "Very Cool People" had released several singles together with guest musicians they also played concerts with. The singles are not included in any of the albums.

Two of these singles – "Hugo" and "Cool People’s House" came out with video animations made by Latvian artists Liene & Maija Mackus("Hugo") and Liene Rubane("Cool People’s House"). "Hugo" had been nominated as "Best music video 2010"[3] in Latvian music awards.

2012 - 2013[edit]

In October 2012 the band released its second album "Cruising In The Trolley". This album was nominated as “Best Jazz album of 2012″ at Latvian Music Awards 2012[4]. For bands second album Cruising In The Trolley presentation, "Very Cool People" rented a trolley in Riga, Latvia, and did a live show in moving trolly, picking up fans and media on the way around Riga.

2014 - 2015[edit]

From autumn 2014 till summer 2015 the musicians were doing FUNKOLOGY - monthly concert series were each month band was arranging and preparing tribute to some of the funk music legends The Meters, James Brown, Curtis Mayfield, Stevie Wonder, Tower of Power, Funkadelic/Parliement. As well band invited for each concert special guest singer who sited in with the band - Kristīne Prauliņa, Evilena Protektore, Dināra Rundan, Aija Vītoliņa, Ralfs Eilands and Jānis Stībelis. The creation process of FUNKOLOGY was captured on a short documental film.

2017 - 2018[edit]

In April 2017 band released their fourth album "Heya Some Kind of Fish! We Don’t Know The Name Of This Fish In English, But In Latvian, It Is Vimbas" that represents the pieces of a symbiosis between the different allied music styles - funk, soul, jazz, klezmer, Balkan & Latvian folk music.

"The closing track “Hugo” sums up the anti-purist mixture of this indescribable album, in which the joke is in the foreground because the foaming high-speed Retromania of these very cool Latvians does one thing above all else: unbelievable fun!" writes Victoriah Szirmai[5].

"A perfect party music – from the patriotic point of view, it would be a sin to listen to the funk music & some kind and danceable, easy jazz of an unknown origin and elsewhere made, if such music is created in our home country," writes music journalist, Dj Uldis Rudaks.[6]

"Heya Some Kind Of Fish!" was nominated for Latvian Music Awards 2017 as "Best Jazz & Blues album".

August 2018 "Very Cool People" was going on tour around the Republic of Korea. It was the group's first tour in South Korea with the schedule: 18th of August – Nami Island, 19th of August – In Daegu Festival (Daegu, Korea), 21st of August – Ulsan Jazz Festival (Ulsan, Korea), 23rd of August – Busan Space UM (Busan, Korea), 25th of August – Gwangju world music festival (Gwangju, Korea). "Very Cool People" captured the tour experience on a short documental video.

In December 2018 "Very Cool People" together with the singers Kristīne Prauliņa and Ralfs Eilands released a Christmas album “Snowman’s Express”. The album was extra to their annual Christmas funk concert series they were playing all around Latvia. “Latvia’s finest with their march on soul brother number one!” - BBC6 Craig Charles about “St. James” from the album “Snowman’s Express”[7]

2019[edit]

In January 2019 "Very Cool People" represented Latvia at the music conference, showcase festival "Eurosonic Noorderslag"[8]. "Nice spicy, sometimes even wild songs with a lot of energy," the program was described by thenextgig.nl.[9]

In April 2019 band released their seventh album "Caution! Contains Words!” album is a mix of soul, funk, jazz, rock, and hip-hop that still sounds like "Very Cool People". The album consists of 12 compositions, of which only one is instrumental. That also explains the ironic title of the new album "Caution! Contains Words!”.

"Very Cool People" proves once again that the right chemistry and teamwork is what is necessary to make the music sound great," the album reviews Latvian saxophonist Deniss Pashkevich.[10]

In the Autumn 2019 "Very Cool People" toured in Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary, Serbia, and Slovenia.

2020[edit]

March 2020 Very Cool People together with two Latvian MC's Edavārdi & ansis, together with Latvian soul singer Kristīne Prauliņa released a live album "Koncertprogramma Pa Apli" which has been recorded in summer 2019 during their performance ar Saulkrasti Jazz Festival the previous year.

June 2020 Very Cool People headlined one of the concerts in the series "Koncerts Z studijā" of Latvian National Broadcasting television[11], and gained a worldwide audience since the concert was broadcasted online platform LSM.lv. The band took part in the festival "Rigas Ritmi 2020" in Riga together with the singer Aija Andrejeva performed the tribute program to Janis Joplin. July 2020 the band performed at Nida Jazz Maratonas in Lithuania.

14th October 2020 Very Cool People performed the program "Pa Apli" at Riga's culture location Hanzas Perons for 1000 people but following the epidemiological guideline the audience was divided in two - the first part attended evening and the second part - the night concert. 6th November 2020 Very Cool People performed concert program "Woodstock Renaissance" in Valmiera's concert hall side to the popular Latvian singer Aija Andrejeva. Band's trombone player Laura Rozenberga sung solo as well.

The band leader Elvijs Grafcovs and Latvian music journalist Kaspars Zaviļeiksis launched a radio show at Radio Naba called "Fankofīlija" dedicated to their love of funk music and with the aim to follow the news and discover the history of this particular genre. October 2020 Grafcovs established his record label "Very Cool Music" and released "Zaļš" the solo record of band's drummer Andris Buiķis.

December 2020 Very Cool People released single and video - the Latvian version of Christmas coral "The Little Drummer Boy". Laura Rozenberga and Andris Buiķis released another Christmas song, the hip-hop version of Latvian traditional song "Kaladū", the members of Very Cool People took part in the video as actors.

Very Cool People closed the Year 2020 by performing on the Latvian National Broadcasting television new Year's Eve TV show "Mission Impossible".

2021[edit]

Very Cool People's record "Koncertprogramma Pa Apli" has received the nomination for the annual Latvian Record Industry award "Zelta Mikrofons" category "Jazz and Funk Record". The band released a new single "Oskar". In March the band held an online concert at the historical location VEF Culture Palace - "50 Years of Influence + 30 Years of Cool Equals 13 Years of Music Hooliganism", the programm was named after the upcoming record.

Discography[edit]

  • Very Cool People (2009)
  • Cruising In The Trolley (2012)
  • Funkology (2015)
  • Heya Some Kind Of Fish! We Don't Know The Name Of This Fish In English, But In Latvian It Is Vimbas (2017)
  • Snowman's Express(2018) - Very Cool People feat. Ralfs Eilands & Kristīne Prauliņa (2019)
  • Caution! Contains Words! (2019)
  • Koncertprogramma Pa Apli (2020) - Very Cool People feat. Edavārdi, ansis & Kristīne Prauliņa

Videography[edit]

Awards/Nominations[edit]

  • Very Cool People (2009) - Latvian Music Awards 2009 - Nominated for "Best Debut 2009" & "Best Instrumental album 2009"
  • HUGO (2010 single) - Latvian Music Awards 2010 - Nominated for "Best Music Video 2010"
  • Cruising In The Trolley (2012) - Latvian Music Awards 2012 - Nominated for "Best Jazz album 2012"
  • Funkology (2015) - Latvian Music Awards 2015 - Nominated for "Best Jazz & Blues album 2015"
  • Heya Some Kind Of Fish! We Don't Know The Name Of This Fish In English, But In Latvian It Is Vimbas (2017) - Latvian Music Awards "Zelta Mikrofons2017" - Nominated for "Best Jazz & Blues album 2017"
  • Labirints(2019 single)- Latvian Music Awards 2019 - Nominated for "Best Music Video 2019"

Festivals[edit]

  • Vilnius jazz 2007(Vilnius, Lithuania), Bildes 2007 (Riga, Latvia);
  • Baltic Graffiti Festival 2008(Riga, Latvia), Jazzruller 2008 (Tallinn, Estonia);
  • Rīgas Ritmi 2009(Riga, Latvia), Moonlight Party 2009 (Saulkrasti, Latvia);
  • Sigulda Jazz 2011 (Sigulda, Latvia);
  • Siguldas Jazz 2012 (Sigulda, Latvia), Jazz On 2012 (Tallin, Estonia);
  • Positivus 2013 (Salacgriva, Latvia), Saulkrasti Jazz 2013 (Saulkrasti, Latvia)
  • IDeeJazz 2015 (Tartu, Estonia), Riga Funk Fest 2015 (Rīga, Latvia), Saulkrasti Jazz 2015(Sulkrasti, Latvia), LMT Summer Sound 2015 (Liepāja, Latvia), Riga Funk Fest 2014 (Rīga, Latvia);
  • Siauliai jazz 2016 (Šauļi, Lietuva), World Jazz Festival 2016 (Rīga, Latvija), Ventspils Groove 2016 (Rīga, Latvija), Rīgas Svētki 2016 (Riga, Latvia), Tallinn Music Week 2016 (Tallinn, Igaunija);
  • Mama Jazz 2017 (Vilnius, Lithuania), Siauliai jazz 2017 (Šiauliai, Lithuania), Veganfestivāls 2017, Petro Jazz 2017(St.Petersburg, Russia), Rīgas Svētki 2017(Riga, Latvia), LMT Summersound 2017 (Liepāja, Latvia), R&B Festival 2017 (Ropaži, Latvia), Žagarės vyšnių festivalis 2017 (Žagarė, Lithuania), Indiefest 2017(Tartu, Estonia);
  • ACC World Music Festival 2018 (Gwangju, South Korea), Jazz In Daegu 2018 (Daegu, South Korea), Ulsan Jazz Festival 2018 (Ulsan, South Korea);
  • Positivus 2019 (Salacgrīva, Latvia), Augustibluus 2019 (Haapsalu, Estonia), Summersound 2019 (Liepaja, Latvia), Jazztage Görlitz 2019 (Görlitz, Germany), Bliuzo Naktys 2019 (Varniai, Lithuania), Saulkrasti Jazz 2019 (Saulkrasti, Latvia), Siauliai Jazz 2019 (Siauliai, Lithuania), Eurosonic Noorderslag 2019 (Groningen, The Netherlands), Gaujas Svētki 2019 (Ādaži, Latvia), Tintes Festival 2019 (Valmiera, Latvia).

References[edit]

  1. "2009". Zelta Mikrofons.
  2. “Muzikas saule” the year 2009, issue Nr.3(53)
  3. "2010". Zelta Mikrofons.
  4. "2012". Zelta Mikrofons.
  5. Magazine "JAZZTHETIK Nr 283" (Berlin, Germany, July/August 2018)
  6. Magazine Mūzikas Saule Nr.2(90) 2017(Riga, Latvia, June 2017)
  7. Radio BBC 6, 24/12/2018, UK
  8. "VERY COOL PEOPLE". Eurosonic Noorderslag.
  9. "Very Cool People toeteren Plato plat – The Next Gig".
  10. Jazzin.lv No.14
  11. «Koncerts Z studijā». «Very Cool People», Edavārdi, ansis un Kristīne Prauliņa

External links[edit]


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