Solvita Avakian

Riga-Based Singer, Dancer Solvita Avakjana


By Artsvi Bakhchinyan

Special to the Mirror-Spectator

YEREVAN/RIGA — Solvita Avakjana (Avakian) is a Riga-based professional dancer, pop singer and fitness trainer. Years ago she was a member of the popular Latvian band A-Europa, with whom she toured many countries, including a series of charity concerts for Latvian soldiers in Afghanistan. She starred in the feature film “Where the Sea Ends,” directed by Arthurs Duboks, as the main protagonist, dancer Nadia. Today she is not only a popular Latvian dancer and singer who sing in several languages, but also a successful fitness coach and loving mother.

Dear Solvita, first tell our readers about your family.

My father was Armenian and my mother was Latvian. They met in Sochi in 1969, and immediately after the wedding they left to live in Tbilisi, where first my brother Albert was born in 1971 and later me, in 1979. Since childhood I have lived in two countries – 9 months of the year in Tbilisi and 3 months in Riga. When the war began in Georgia, my parents considered leaving the country. At that time I was a teenager, so I clearly remember the curfew and bread coupons. Mom’s relatives called us to Latvia, but unfortunately my mom passed away very young, so I left Tbilisi with my father and brother Albert.

When we settled in Latvia, I was 15 years old, and after 3 years, I started working in Riga’s popular night clubs as a go-go dancer. I never attended any dance classes. Dancing was always my passion, but my dad resisted my desire to dance, so in my heart I felt myself to be a failed ballerina. But his forbidding me only increased my interest in dance, so I decided to train and study at home.

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A dark-haired beauty must be exotic for the public of your northern country.

As you know all the people having Armenian blood are usually very talented and charismatic. Actually I was considered as one of first (and best!) go-go dancers in Riga; mass media interviewed me, and people came to watch how I dance energetically all night. At that time I was really well known among the party people in Riga, who were coming to see especially me and calling me Solla. Dancing was the only job I was doing.

And then you became a part of so-called Latvian Abba – A-Europa…

When I danced in a very popular night club, 7th Heaven, a guy approached me, introduced himself as the A-Europa pop band leader Arthurs Duboks and suggested I work with his band as a dancer. After three months I started living and working with Arthurs. We were four people in the band – two female dancers, the singer and a guy, who was our sound engineer and keyboard player. Our popularity grew very quickly, once we were actually a legendary pop band in all Latvia. A-Europa is my bright past, the great and very fantastic experience of my musical career. I was not only a dancer with the group, but also a kind of generator of many ideas. We shot video clips in warm countries, being the first band from Latvia who did this; after us others also copied this. We had more than 1,000 gigs between 2000-2010, until I left the band.

The reason?

I was very devoted to both the group and my beloved man, living just by that. Yet at some point, I realized that I have to sing and it was not interesting for me to dance my dances again and again! But unfortunately, the plans of the producer did not coincide with mine. Of course, parting with my civil husband Arthurs also played a role, although we had a two-year old daughter Michelle… So I decided to start a new life and moved to London for six months. It was my new school of life, which obviously tempered me and made me stronger. I started from zero again and went back to go-go dancing. For some months I worked in the Bond night club. People were taking photos with me and giving lots of compliments about my own style of dance improvisations. Afterward, for the first time in my life, I started to do another job other than dancing, working as a waitress at Ciro’s Pomodoro Pizza in Knightsbridge. It was a difficult period in my life, as all the time I was missing my little Michelle who was staying with Arthurs’ mom. So I have a hard, but very interesting life.

Topics: Dance

And how did the successful dancer become a successful singer and fitness coach?

Since my childhood I always wanted to be a singer. I began my solo career in 2012 with the participation of Latvian producer Sergey Prishvin, recording the song In the Night City in Russian and re-singing it later in English with the title Why love you. I mainly sing songs for which I have written the lyrics. I often tour in Latvia and neighboring countries. As to sports, I established my sports brand FitDance, combining dance and exercise, being the first to start training with this name.

Please tell us about your father.

My father’s name was Hrachik (Rachik) Aramovich Avakian. He was born in Armenia (in Leninakan if I am not mistaken) to Aram and Vartanush Avakians and as a newborn baby he migrated to Tbilisi with his parents, 5 sisters and 4 brothers. My father was youngest in family. I saw just 2 of his sisters — my aunts Liusia (Liudmila) and Seiranush and his 2 brothers Garnik and Sergo: the others had died earlier. My dad was a very strong man both spiritually and physically. He worked as driver and handyman: was a real workaholic (even when he retired!) and loved his life and the life in general. My father loved to dance very much, also sweets, always buying 2-3 kilos of Soviet chocolates. He was very wise, even he had just finished just two classes of school: he said that he had no time for studying, as since 10 years old he worked hard for helping his big family. He had very good sense of humor and was funny. My dad was a big hearted person and always helped people with jobs, money, advice or something else. He never remained indifferent to someone’s misfortune, always teaching me and my brother: “Do good and someday it will come to you.” And he also always said me these wonderful and powerful words: “You are my Hope for the bright future!” I remember his words and always will remember them; they give me power when I remember them. My father was 79 when he died in 2009. I miss him very much. It is very difficult to go through this life without parents and loved ones! Those who have parents – take care of them and love them!

I know in childhood you spoke Georgian fluently. What about Armenian?

In Tbilisi I attended a Russian school. They taught us the Georgian language in 5th or 6th classes. Until now I can write, read and understand good Georgian, but no one taught me Armenian, although my father used to speak Armenian with his brothers. It was Soviet time; in family we were speaking only Russian. I know some words and expressions in Armenian (including some swear words!!!), like “Es kez sirumem” (I love you), “ari pachi” (come to kiss), “Gna eli” (get lost), “Poh chka” (there is no money), “Ahchik” (girl), etc. I would like to learn to read and write in Armenian, at least the basics, so that later on I will learn Armenian I am really ashamed for not speaking Armenian, but I never had a good teacher for it as the contacts with my Armenians relatives is not strong.

By the way, have you ever been in Armenia?

Only once in Yerevan, in 1988 or 1989, to attend my cousin Erik Avakian’s wedding. After a year, when he was has coming by car from Yerevan to Tbilisi, he totally disappeared. Both him and the car…

I am sorry to know that, Solvita. If it happened in 1989 or 1990, I am almost sure that he disappeared while passing by the Azeri villages of southern Georgia – in this period many such accidents happened. And are you in touch with the Riga Armenian community?

No, but I know some Armenians here through my father, who has worked as a security guard in the Erebuni restaurant in Riga. I mostly communicate with the Georgian community of Riga.

Well, Solvita, thanks for sharing your life experience with Armenian readers. Please remember, that you are always welcome to your father’s land to visit and show your talents. And as you also wish, to study Armenian!

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