Remembering Riga

Back in August 2016 i had the pleasure of visiting Latvia, this blog post is about that journey and the song it inspired.

The main reason for the adventure was to attend my older brothers wedding. It was my first trip abroad and during my stay of 4 days i met many kind and welcoming people, this song focuses on one of those people in particular.

The song is called Take Me Back To Riga.


The Latvian Adventure.

I spent most of my time in Latvia in a town called Jelgava with the family of my brother’s wife and they were all incredibly kind and made me and my family feel very welcome. It was a pleasure to share the days and the occasion of the wedding with them.


Garfield was as welcoming as most cats. What a splendid bundle of fur he is.

The song centres around a friend i met while on a visit to the capital city Riga, a fellow vegan who i’d been speaking to online for a short while before news of the planned Latvian wedding adventure had reached me. Fate fell kindly and allowed us time to meet the day before i flew back home.

It’s not often i meet someone on the same, or even a similar wavelength to myself, so i’m grateful that we were able to meet and talk a while in person. Sometimes a good chat with a like-minded soul can inspire in many ways and i arrived back to England full of hope and purpose.


“i flew past the setting sun on a journey guided by love”

The photo used for the artwork was one i took as we sat by the river. We came close to falling in as a wave threatened to tip over the floating pier we were sitting on but we just about avoided it and soon scurried back to the safety of land. We weren’t quite as lucky when it came to avoiding a heavy rainfall before we said our goodbyes. The rain couldn’t dampen the day though.

Will i go back to Riga? Time and money will dictate that i guess but if anyone has a spare ticket or can offer free accommodation then please do get in touch.

The Song Itself.

Having spent time in London either side of visiting Latvia i didn’t really begin the song until mid-to-late September. It began on the piano, with the chorus and a lyric that was very similar to the finished version. Often i will write a whole song at once but this one took a bit more time to get right.

Despite numerous studio sessions in the latter half of 2016 it wasn’t until the 24th of November, my final full session of the year that i recored the song. The bridge was only written the night before recording and i went in knowing i had the basics of a good song formed.

The track features a Zither, which is a popular folk instrument and in Latvia a traditional instrument is the Kokle, a type of Zither. I hadn’t planned on going with a Latvian theme in terms of the music, i imagined the song having a somewhat overblown production with piano, strings and the like.

It was Duncan Chave, the engineer at Sound Gallery Studios that made the song sound so good with the Zither that the only addition i suggested was the flute and once we had added those two instruments in place it didn’t feel like the song needed anything else.

The mix you hear today is the only mix we made, aside from a few lyric stumbles it was essentially a one take vocal too – i think. Listening to the song as i write this blog post i am really happy with how it turned out and would go as far to say that it’s one of my favourite songs of my own to date.

The B-Sides.

I’m In Love: Written and demoed in March 2016 it’d been kicking around a while without a home. The lyrics hold no meaning and it was written as a generic love song, this happens when you grow up listening to The Beatles and 1950s rock and roll.

What’ll I Do: This recording has been around since September 2015 but never as part of a collection. The songs theme fits in well with Take Me Back To Riga so i thought adding it to the release would give the song more exposure.

Happy Listening.

I hope you enjoy the song, it can be found on SoundCloud and Bandcamp.


About Ross Mayhew :: Vegan Musician

Vegan Singer/Songwriter
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