Nils Ile – The Master of the Rhythm from Riga

The Language of the Rhythm

Nils Ile was the first Latvian to investigate the language of the rhythm on a profound level. Now he speaks it to everybody who hears his masterly, emotional and sincere playing.

He uses a large set of different musical instruments from Africa, Latin America, India and even Latvia.*

Nils started his career of a musician as a drummer, but it was just like a rehearsal before the great revelation – studies of the percussion techniques. In the year 1995 he studied to play percussion instruments from Africa and Latin America in Leiden (Holland), under the supervision of Alain Anglionin.

Nils Ile has visited Africa two times. In 1999 he visited Gambia and there it came evident that even a blond Latvian guy can have a great sense of rhythm and can perform Afro dances with absorbing interest – so even the local people are fascinated.

All Nils’ performances are filled with the energy given by the African sun.

He often performs in pubs, restaurants and various Latvian casinos and gambling halls (spēļu zālē). Click here to see a list of casinos in Latvia.

Not a traditional synthesis

Nils doesn’t try to instil other culture’s traditions in Latvia, but yet adds to the rhythms dwelling in Latvian folklore a vivid zest. He composes his rhythmic pieces harmonically synthesizing Afro rhythms and Latvian folklore. In the year 1996 he created musical performance “Kanisaiph” – Sun’s dainas, where rhythmic accompaniment plays the principal role – thus the essence of Nils’ activity is reflected in the performance. Now Nils has plans to bring “Kanisaph” to Holland – but with less artists as it was originally. This year, just at Ligo*, together with folklore ensemble “Laiksne” Nils has performed in Bauska with “Saulgriezu Perkons” (“Solstice’ thunder/storm”) performance. And again, it was a merging of Latvian folklore (for example, Latvian national instrument “kokle” was widely used to form a musical body of “Solstice thunder”) and an unusual for Latvians rhythmic language. Next year “Solstice’ thunder” is going to be performed in several Latvian cities around Ligo time – to prepare people for the great Summer Solstice day.

The concert is a ritual. Music is pure rhythm that consists of sounds. Sounds are voices of different drums. They whisper, cry, sing and the rhythm is walking around on the toes. And then it flies in curls and is perceptible in each and every movement of the listeners.

It is a dialog between the drums. They speak the language of the rhythm. Everybody understands it- rhythm lives everywhere throughout our lives. Just observe, listen and hear. Rhythm brings liveliness.

Rhythm and Movement

Undoubtedly, rhythm is connected with movement. It would be difficult to imagine Nils’ concert without the public participating in with dance. Dance lets people to forget grey everyday problems and let go with the music and feel the fascination of the outlines of rhythm.

Nils’ creativeness, energy, vitality and natural charm make some of his listeners become his students and even potential members of his group. At the moment he has 15 students who are frequently performing with him.

Where dwells the rhythm

One could hear Nils’ rhythmic compositions at many cultural events in Latvia. His activities include author’s/solo concerts in different embassies, co-creations for the theatre performances, work at the seminars, concerts together with other musicians, and, of course, performing in different clubs and bars. So far his venues of the night life were “Skyline” bar, “Nautilus” night club, “Mauricius” restaurant – this just a drop in the sea of his musical scenes. Most frequently Nils and his apprentices play in “Terra Incognita” club and gallery, where the environment adds force to the language of the rhythm.

  • for example Jambo, Dundumba (Africa), Congo, Bongo, Udu (Latin America), Clay pots (Latvia) and many other percussion instruments.
    ** Latvian national short poems in the end of the 19th century were collected by Krishjanis Barons. An ancient spirit of indigenous Latvians is reflected in Dainas. Often dainas were not only recited but also sung.
    *** Jani and Ligo- 23rd and 24th of June – Latvian national holiday. People celebrate the summer solstice day.