The Latvian rock band Fomins & Kleins was founded at the end of 2002.
Its members Ivo Fomins and Tomass Kleins were already accomplished and recognized rock musicians. Both are from the western Latvian port city of Liepāja, which is famous for its rock music traditions - many famous Latvian rock musicians have come from there. Liepāja can be considered Latvia's own Liverpool, thanks to many musicians and famous festivals, for example, "Liepājas dzintars" (Amber of Liepāja).
Both have worked together previously, in Soviet times forming the underground group "Saldās sejas" (Sweet Faces), which also featured well known Latvian musicians Zigfrīds Muktupāvels and Guntars Račs -- with whom a creative relationship continues to this day, since Račs himself is the author of the lyrics to all of Fomins & Kleins' songs.
Singer Ivo Fomins, also educated as a chef, has taken part in many musical projects in Latvia, performing together with the band "Liepājas Brāļi" (Brothers of Liepāja) and as a solo artist, performing in Russia, Poland, Austria, Denmark and elsewhere in the world, including the "Big Apple" festival in the United States. At the Jurmala Young Pop Singer Competition Ivo reached 3rd place in 1989 and received the viewer's choice award. Ivo's older brother Igo ((:lv:Igo)) is one of the most popular Latvian singers and is well known throughout the Baltic countries and Russia due to his work with the maestro Raimonds Pauls, which led to the formation and massive popularity of the band Remix. That is why it can be said that singing is a Fomins' family affair. Ivo grew up without his mother. His father, who was a taxicab driver, taught him to look at life realistically and accept it the way that it is. The singer's influences are Robert Plant (Led Zeppelin), David Coverdale (Deep Purple, Whitesnake) and Steven Tyler (Aerosmith).
Tomass Kleins is the group's guitarist, as well as the author of all the group's music. In his time, he has formed many groups and has played in the famous group "Neptūns" (Neptune), led by "Zodiaks" (Zodiac) producer and composer Jānis Lūsēns. By playing in the most famous Latvian rock band "Līvi", Tomass gained great experience and recognition. The musician grew up in a traditional Gypsy family, where singing and musicianship is already in the blood. While studying the guitar, Tomass learned much from AC/DC, Led Zeppelin, Ozzy Osbourne and Pink Floyd.
At the end of 2002, the group signed a contract with the largest local record company "Mikrofona Ieraksti" (Microphone Records), which is the representative of EMI in the Baltic states and whose artists include Prāta Vētra/Brainstorm, Raimonds Pauls, and many others.
At the start of 2003, the first song that they recorded together, "Sniegs" (Snow), brought the group success at radio stations, as well as winning 3rd place at the LNT Music Video Competition. The next single "Solījums" (Promise) is often played on many Latvian radio stations, and the song's video is frequently shown on television and was nominated for the Best Music Video Award at the Latvian Music Awards.
In July, the musicians participated in the international festival "Baltic Song Contest" in Sweden and achieved fourth place. The festival itself is shown on Swedish television as well as Polish television.
The group's debut album "Muzikants" (Musician) was released in 2003, and the album's title track became a huge hit after the duo successfully performed at the Latvian National Eurovision Competition and gained a convincing second place. That year it was the only song to be performed in Latvian and the public was on its feet during the performance.
In 2004, history repeated itself and, after the release of the group's second album, "Dzimis Latvijā" (Born in Latvia), they again found themselves singing the only Latvian-language song in the country's Eurovision pre-selection. This time they won, and the song "Dziesma par laimi" was duly selected as Latvia's entry for the Eurovision Song Contest 2004 in Istanbul. The group were largely praised for swiftly dismissing any suggestions of switching to English-language lyrics for their performance in Turkey. Due to the poor result of the previous year's Latvian entry on home soil, Fomins and Kleins had to take part in the novelty of a Eurovision semi-final, in which they failed to achieve the top-ten placing needed to advance to the grand final. Nevertheless, they subsequently remained upbeat about the experience, and about Latvia's future in the contest.
Together with Ivo Fomins and Tomass Kleins, the group is rounded out by bass guitarist Egils Mežs, drummer Valery Inutin and keyboardist Jānis Lūsēns Jr., talented Armenian Nellija Bubujance, who skillfully learned drumming with her teacher, legendary drummer Tālis Gžibovskis (Eolika, Sīpoli, and others).
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