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Prāta Vētra (outside Latvia also known as Brainstorm) was formed in the summer of 1989 in Jelgava by four former classmates – Renārs Kaupers, Jānis Jubalts, Gundars Mauševics and Kaspars Roga. Just after Latvia became independent in 1991 Prāta Vētra released one of the first popsingles sung in their own language called ‘Jo tu nāc’ (Because you come) and finished 9th in Latvian music contest ‘Michrophones’. Their first album ‘Vairāk nekā skaļi’ (More than loud) was released on their own label in 1993 as a cassette only. The next year, with some more budget, they released a mini-album on cd called ‘Vietu nav’ (No Vacancies!) in a limited amount 500 copies. A second CD-single ‘Lidmašīnas’ (Airplanes) became a rather successful radio hit. The album ‘Veronika’ was again released as a cassette only (in 2004 it would finally get a CD release).

Meanwhile radio picked up on the song ‘Tavas mājas manā azotē’ (Under my wing is your home), which stood at number one in the charts for 9 weeks and became the biggest hit of 1996. This triggered the young EMI sublabel Mikrofona Ierakstiem to sign the band and release their first CD album ‘Viss ir tieši tā kā tu vēlies’ (Everything's the way you want it) in 1997. Due to this success the bandmembers (with singer Renars Kaupers up front) became popular guests for TV and radio shows. But EMI had international plans for the band releasing an English sung single ‘Under My Wing’ which made them win the Grand Prix of the Karlshamn music fest in Sweden. This made the band record their follow up album in two languages, a Latvian and an English version. ‘Starp divām saulēm’ or ‘Among The Suns’ was recorded in Sweden and Denmark but it was the Latvian version that gained the most success. This changed when they entered the Eurovision song contest in 2000 as Brainstorm and performed ‘My Star’. It ended third but the song became an international hit anyway. This was enough reason to release a compilation with their best Latvian work (including al the cassette stuff) under the name ‘Islaze '89-'99’ and an English album ‘Among the suns’. The follow up albums were all released bilingual trying to confirm the status the band gained abroad. This succeeds partly with some success in Germany. the UK and Czech republic. It is at a concert in Prague, where they perform as a support to The Rolling Stones . they present a saxophone to Mick Jagger for his birthday.

In 2004 ill fate strikes when bassist Gundars Mauševics dies in a car accident near Riga. Despite this loss, the other band members continue working and record the song ‘Skol'zkie Ulitsy’ (Slippery Streets) with the Russian band Bi-2. Supporting the album ‘Četri krasti’ in 2005 Prāta Vētra organised a concert at Mežaparks attracting 40,000 fans. At the beginning of 2006 Brainstorm released an English verse of Četri krasti – Four Shores. They received the MTV Europe Music award for Best Baltic Act in 2006.

In 2007 tensions started to rise in the band with Renārs Kaupers and Jānis Jubalts opting for a musical course change while they other bandmembers wanted to keep the regular sound. Ignoring that Kaupers and Jubalts bring in Latvian rapper and hiphop producer Gustavo as a producer. Further more recording sessions include working with a string quartet, the GG Choir (led by Gunārs Kalniņš, son of Imants Kalniņš) and the Turkish Yansimalar ensemble. The CD ‘Tur kaut kam ir jābūt’ became a big hit in Latvia selling over 18.000 copies. In spring of 2009 the same album with Russian lyrics were released in Russia and Ukraine. An English album ‘Years and seconds’ is planned for 2010. By 2012 they start working on a new Latvian album moving to Hudson, USA to reclusively work on the songs. The album is produced by David Field and released later that year in three different versions, Latvian, Russian and English.

On the web:

- Prāta Vētra's website: http://www.brainstorm.lv/

If you like this, you probably like... / european counterparts:

The Scene (Netherlands)

Idoli (Serbia)

Tocotronic (Germany)

What do we think:

DB: I remember my mother-in-law was completely taken with Brainstorm's performance at the 2000 Eurovision (although she thought Kaupers rolling his eyes all the time was a bit weird). But indeed the song was very good and turned out to be one of those few timeless Eurovision songs. But the band has much more to offer and to me sound much more at ease singing in their own language. Great band if you're into merry poptunes. The 'Islazes' compilation is a nice way to start. Oh, and 18.000 copies may not sound as much to Anglo-American standards but remember that with only 2,2 million residents Latvia is one of the least-populated aereas of Europe.


♪♪ - Veronika - 1996

♪♪♪ - Viss ir tieši tā kā tu vēlies (Everything is exactly as you want) - 1997

♪♪♪ - Starp divām saulēm - 1999

- Kaķēns, kurš atteicās no jūrasskolas - 2001

- Dienās, kad lidlauks pārāk tāls - 2003

- Četri krasti (Four Shores) - 2005

- Tur kaut kam ir jābūt - 2008

♪♪♪♪ - Vēl viena klusā daba - 2012

Further listening: Vairāk nekā skaļi - 1993 (cassette only);
Vietu nav - 1994
(cassette only).

♪♪♪♪♪ = outstanding album, an absolute must-have
♪♪♪♪ = great album, highly recomended
♪♪♪ = nice album
♪♪ = be careful, requires listening before buying
♪ = best to be avoided


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