This year, Latvijas Pasts releases two new stamps in the joint Europa series. The new stamps feature traditional Latvian musical instruments: the Kokle (a type of zither) and theDūdas (a type of bagpipe). Musical instruments is the 320th stamp release of Latvijas Pasts since 1991 when the issue of stamps was resumed in the independent Republic of Latvia. In 2014,the topic of the Europa stamp series is musical instruments, therefore a number of European countries are coming out with stamps featuring their national musical instruments this spring.
The denominations of the new stamps are EUR 0.78 and EUR 1.71, corresponding, respectively, to the cost of mailing a regular Class A letter and a registered Class A letter to any country within the European Union. The stamps Musical instruments have been designed by artist Lilija Dinere. The print run of Kokle is 54,000 copies and that of Dūdas is 30,000 copies.
The kokle is an ancient Baltic plucked string musical instrument which has also been adopted by the Finno-Ugric and Slavic tribes. It is in fact the most admired Latvian musical instrument. The ethnomusicologist Valdis Muktupāvels calls the kokle the singing soul of the wood, because this musical instrument symbolically is the most important one in Latvia.
The dūdas, which is a type of bagpipe, is described by V.Muktupāvels as one of the most popular musical instruments for dancing, which was widely used in festivals and celebrations, such as weddings and fairs, as well as in voluntary joint work activities and taphouse dances from the 16th until the 19th century.