On 8 April 2019, the Chapter of Orders awarded the Order of the Three Stars, 5th Class, to Dzintra Tauniņa for special merits to the Republic of Latvia. Tauniņa is a kokle instructor (the kokle is the Latvian variety of the Baltic box zither) at the Kolka music section of the Dundaga Art and Music School. She is also the director of the Kolka Community House kokle ensemble as well as the director of the Kolka Livonian choral ensemble “Laula”.
A native of the coast, Dzintra Tauniņa came to Kolka in 1985 after completing her studies at the Rīga Pedagogical School and began work as a music instructor at the Kolka kindergarten. Subsequently she completed her post-secondary music studies specialising in the kokle and conducting at the Rīga Teacher Training and Educational Management Academy. Dzintra has been working at the Kolka Music School since its establishment on 1 September 1993 (since 1 January 2012, the Dundaga Art and Music School Kolka Music School) as a kokle instructor. Since 1 September 2009, she has also worked as an assistant to the director of the Kolka Community House. In addition to these positions, she also is the director of the Kolka Community House kokle ensemble and the Kolka Livonian choral ensemble “Laula”.
Kolka is the only place where it is possible to learn to play the kokle in northern Kurzeme and is also the location of the only kokle ensemble in this region. Dzintra Tauniņa’s initiative, energy, and selfless work over the course of many years has ensured that every child and young person has the opportunity to learn to play the kokle, in this way learning a uniquely Latvian cultural skill that they will have for their entire lives. The Kolka kokle ensemble is a constant presence at every song festival regardless of whether the participants are children, young people, or adults. The artistic talent of the groups she directs has also often been highly praised outside of Latvia when these groups have performed at folk music festivals or at events or concerts associated with Latvia or Livonian culture in Finland, Estonia, Slovakia, Russia. Dzintra Tauniņa’s knowledge and understanding of the importance of history, culture, and traditions for Latvia’s national development allows her to provide a significant contribution to the maintenance and support of society – especially the education of children and young people as well as Latvian and Livonian national and cultural identity.
The most significant confirmation of Dzintra Tauniņa’s professional abilities was her kokle concert performance of “Stīgo, brālīt! Stīgo, māsiņ!” at the 2018 Latvian Song and Dance Festival. The artistic directors of this performance were Dzintra Tauniņa and Ineta Tauriņa, the director of the “Austriņa” and “Kokļu klubs” kokle ensembles. At the concert, Dzintra, dressed in a Livonian folk costume, led the kokle combined ensemble in its performance of the Livonian song “Piškizt īrõd, sūrõd īrõd” according to their own arrangement.
The Livonian ensemble “Laula” was founded in Kolka in 2000 in order to popularise and maintain living Livonian musical heritage. The ensemble regularly performs at the Livonian Festival in Mazirbe, the Livonian Culture Days in Ventspils, Kolka, and Rīga as well as at other events connected with Livonian and Latvian culture. The ensemble has represented Livonian culture at the Song Festival, the “Baltica” folklore festival, the Finno-Ugric Culture Days. Livonian songs performed by “Laula” in Kolka have been heard by the presidents of Estonia and Latvia, performances by the ensemble have been recorded by foreign as well as domestic filmmakers. There are practically no cultural events in northern Kurzeme to which the kokle players or Livonian singers directed by Dzintra Tauniņa are not invited. Dzintra’s creativity in realising cultural projects is boundless. She always ensures that every event is captivating, interesting, and creatively inspiring. She always finds a place for Livonian cultural heritage. She always includes the younger generation in events, in that way ensuring that Latvian and Livonian culture continues to be passed on.
It would be difficult to imagine cultural life in Kolka without Dzintra Tauniņa. She is an inexhaustible source of ideas and energy for many events. She is always ready to get involved in any way necessary – anything from acting as a witty master of ceremonies at a particular event to being the Easter Bunny or Snow White. Cultural and environmental activities at Cape Kolka also do not occur without the participation of the ensembles directed by Dzintra Tauniņa or their creative vision. She has been the director of the Kolka mixed choir and the organiser of outreach activities at the Kolka Primary School. For many years, thanks to Dzintra’s care and attention, the “Ziedu laivas” (Flower boats) have bloomed all around Kolka and have brought joy to people there all summer long. Dzintra Tauniņa is involved in all community activities in Kolka, she contributes her views and thoughts at community meetings and activities, and stands ready to support any creative initiative or project with her knowledge.
For her significant contributions to cultural life in Dundaga Municipality, Dzintra Tauniņa received a Dundaga Municipality Certificate of Gratitude in 2015.