LATVIA, capital Riga, is a north-eastern European country, bordering the Baltic Sea, with Lithuania to the South, Belarus and Russia to the East and Estonia to the North. It's area is 64,589 sq km (24,940 sq miles); the terrain is low and flat, with the highest point being Gaizinkalns, 312 m (1024 ft). The population is about 2 million (2018 estimate), consisting of about 60% Latvians and Livonians, 28% Russians, as well as Belarusians, Ukrainians, Poles, Lithuanians and other small minorities. Latvian folk songs are based on the Dainas - these are one or two stanzas with a strict metre. Thematically, the Dainas range from ancient mythological themes, addressing pre-Christian deities like the goddess Sun (Saule) and the gods Moon (Meness) or Thunder (Perkons), to descriptions of everyday life on an agricultural farm - work, cattle, annual celebrations, and most notably, the lives of people, especially the three most important events: birth, wedding and death (including burial). These songs can be very personal, reflecting on the experiences and emotions of an individual. They also can tell mythical stories, praise the beauty of the surrounding nature or express ethical and philosophical values. The cyclic processes in nature and in human life are the framework within which the actions take place in folk songs. Many folk songs are sung on a special day: during summer solstice (Jani), Easter or Christmas. The songs mainly reflect the reality, thinking and perception of 19th century agricultural society, though in many texts much more ancient layers can be found. This collection has been carefully selected to show a great variety of folk styles, from a cappella and traditional instrumental ensembles, to rock-based and other modern arrangements. Information about each song and artist included.