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Akacis

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Rock band Akacis grew from summer camp to renown
EGILS KALJO
August 30, 2009
Akacis, a musical group that existed from 1977 into the 1990s, was the longest lived Latvian-American rock band of its time. While groups like Čikāgas piecīši and Trīs no Pārdaugavas performed and were influenced by traditional songs, Akacis was one of the first Latvian-American groups to be guided by more contemporary sounds, with aspects in its music of pop, hard rock, progressive rock, and even jazz rock, folk and reggae.

The group performed throughout North America and Europe at Latvian song festivals, American Latvian Youth Organization (Amerikas latviešu jaunatnes apvienība, or ALJA) events and many other functions. The band also toured Latvia during the cultural exchanges of the Third National Awakening from 1989-1990.
The group’s name means “pit in a bog” in English, and is similar to the literal definition of the word “quagmire,” something the group would later allude to when it gave itself the more “American” name of Quags. Why the band chose the name Akacis (the name itself was suggested by drummer Aivars Šmits) remains unclear, but apart from the standard reason of “it sounds cool,” there is also the fact that it might be in the first bin at the record store.
Akacis officially began in New York in 1977. Many of the members had grown up together, either meeting at the Latvian school in Yonkers, N.Y., or at the Latvian summer camp in the Catskill Mountains upstate.

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