Man patinka Lietuva

I like Lithuania – a visitor's point of view


Bars we have loved and lost – Lola’s Bar

There was a definite something about Lola’s bar which led me to it most nights I was in Vilnius a few years ago. Just off the Old Town on L.Stokuos-Guceviciaus g.

The slightly shabby chic decor with hand written letters from South America, the mis-matched furniture, the decent wine and the pineapple carpaccio!

And the owners were very hospitable. Saule and Indre always looked after us very well.

While my colleague was off at the opera or the theatre refreshing his high-brow tastes I was hanging out in this bar with a bottle of good red wine listening to the music waiting for him to join me.

Oh that playlist: I remember Ray Charles, Cab Calloway (singing Minnie the Moocher which you might remember from the Blues Brothers film) and the neo-tango Spanish/Argentinian collaboration called Otros Aires.

Then he would come in to enjoy the rest of the evening and more wine before we staggered back to our hotel, The Shakespeare, for a final nightcap.

But when we returned on our our next visit in June 2013 we found it was no more! It was being redeveloped as a boutique!






Musical footnote:

Otros Aires say it is “an electronic-archeological project created between Barcelona and Buenos Aires airports.  It mixes the first tangos and milongas (fast tangos but also used to describe places where these are danced) records of the beginning of the last century with electronic sequences, melodies and words of the 21st century”

Read more about them here at Otros Aires.

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I was in Vilnius and I heard Lily was here

2 Shades of Grey

Walking through the back streets of Vilnius, the capital city of Lithuania, on my last visit I heard the strains of “Here Comes the Rain Again“. It sounded like the Eurythmics but not quite them.

DSC00256On my way back I heard it again and realised it was coming from an artist’s studio. I went in and met Cica, the artist, playing a vinyl record by Dave Stewart and Candy Dufler over and over again, particularly the haunting track “Lily was here”.

As we chatted about his art, his visits toLondon, his disillusionment with the way things were being run in Lithuania, and his aspirations for a better Lithuania for his children he just kept re-playing this track. It got into my head. I knew I knew the tune but where from?

DSC00262He called me Big Mike, offered me a coffee and his philosophy on life and…

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Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla……front page of “The Times” newspaper

Kindadukish's Blog - I am not a number, I am a free man (The Prisoner)


Classical music very rarely makes the front page of any newspaper but today The Times here in the UK, features a large photograph of Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla, the newly appointed Music Director of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra.

There has been speculation for months about which candidates were in the running for the job and several fairly well known names (all men) were bandied about as leading contenders.

However, several months ago Norman Lebrecht on his blogsite “Slippedisc” suggested that one of Britain’s leading orchestras was about to appoint a woman as musical director.  In the discussion column someone wrote “it is the worst kept secret in Birmingham that Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla is the preferred choice of the orchestra.”

Everything then went quiet on the subject and some speculated that it would be a massive gamble to appoint not only a woman (shock horror!!!!) but one who had never led  a major orchestra…

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A Lithuanian folk song for Christmas

Sigita, my Lithuanian language teacher at Vytautas Magnus University (VDU) in Kaunas, sent me this at Christmas a couple of years ago before I started this blog. She just got back in touch with me after extensive travelling and it reminded me of this song she sent me.

So now I want to share it again with you, my Lithuanian friends and colleagues and followers of my blog. It’s a song from the Dzukija region performed by a collaboration between Donis and Kūlgrinda.

Donis is a Lithuanian ambient, neofolk and experimental music project created by the Klaipėda multi-instrumentalist Donatas Bielkauskas.

Kūlgrinda is a neofolk/pagan folk band from Vilnius, Lithuania, established in 1990 by Inja and Jonas Trinkūnas. The band owes its name to kūlgrinda – a secret Samogitian underwater causeway.

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Mirga Grazinyte-Tyla…………..Lithuanian conductor destined for great things

Kindadukish's Blog - I am not a number, I am a free man (The Prisoner)

mirgaOn Norman Lebrecht’s blog “Slippedisc” there is a debate going on about the relative merits of female orchestral conductors, and as usual there is the usual misogyny about how poor female conductors are (please change the record).

All of a sudden there is a left field contribution suggesting that Mirga Grazinyte-Tyla is being seriously considered for the music directors job at the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra to succeed Andris Nelsons.


Of Lithuanian birth, Ms Grazinyte-Tyla has been serving as Assistant Conductor at the Los Angelas Philharmonic as well as continuing to build a reputation in Europe.

I have no idea how substantial these rumours are but another contributor to the discussion say “it is the worst kept secret in Brumm, that she is being seriously considered.”

It would be an enormous leap of faith to appoint such a young and relatively inexperienced conductor however, when one looks back, the orchestra  did…

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Mano lankomiausi dienoraščiai 2014

P1000872Each year WordPress boffins provide me with an annual report on how well my efforts have been received in the blogosphere.

In 2014 I only published 42 posts (compared to 162 the previous year) which included some excellent contributions from other bloggers to whom I am grateful.

My posts were read in 86 different countries led by Lithuania, the USA and the UK (and smaller numbers from places like Qatar, Nepal, Zimbabwe and Peru).

The previous year I was read in 71 countries with most readers from the UK, followed by Lithuania and the USA so I’m glad I have attracted more attention from Lithuania recently.

My 10 most read posts in 2014 were:

  1. Baltic Way Memorial Wall in Vilnius – published in July 2013 and also the most read post in 2013
  2. A taste of Lithuania in Vilnius – published in July 2013
  3. Doctor Tsemakh Shabad – published in April 2013 and second most viewed in 2013
  4. One last time Lita, I’m going to miss you – first published in October 2014 (and republished in January 2015)
  5. Happy Birthday Piccolo Canopi (and Tadas) – published in October 2014
  6. Vincas Kudirka, composer of Lithuania’s national anthem – published in April 2013 and 7th most viewed in 2013
  7. Silver craftsman in Vilnius – published in October 2013
  8. Frank Zappa statue in Vilnius – published in April 2013
  9. Pinavija – my favourite Kibinai cafe in Vilnius – published in July 2013
  10. Mamma Mia in Vilnius – published in August 2013


I have a lot of catching up to do with posts from last year and I hope you continue to enjoy my blog.