Songs and Music from Suvalkija
Songs, Sutartines and Instrumental Music from Aukštaitija
Songs and Music from Žemaitija
Songs and Music from Dzūkija


Songs and Music from Žemaitija . Phonograph records of 1935–1941. Edited by Austė Nakienė and Rūta Žarskienė. Sound restoration by Skirmantas Sasnauskas. 43 records, 41 transcription, 25 texts, 19 photos, an article. Vilnius : Institute of Lithuanian Literature and Folklore, 2005, 119 P. ISMN M-706239-04-0

The CD is a serial publication of the restored phonograph records providing the listener with traditional music of various ethnographic regions in Lithuania . This publication presents compositions selected from the original records of the Lithuanian Folklore Archive made in 1935–1941.

Folksongs from Žemaitija (Samogitia) resting on phonograph records were sung by Morta Katkienė, Antanina Karpienė, Antanina Ereminienė, Malvina Montvydienė, Akvelina Montvydaitė, Juozas Alejūnas, Jurgis Valauskas and others. Songs pertaining links with ancient trade – hunting and husbandry are probably the most archaic ones of this CD, they feature the archaic structure of the lyrics and melody. The ancient singing and its fabulous melody patterns are represented by Samogitian songs of haymaking. Poetic texts of haymaking songs are created on the spot by combining traditional stanzas with the newly created ones. Melody lines either come up or fall down, as the singers themselves have it, they swing.

The CD presents a number of love, family, and wedding songs that were sung at wedding parties in the late 19 th and early 20 th century. Considering lyrical wedding songs, somewhat different is the song of giving gifts to the bride which was described in the famous nineteenth-century ethnographic collection “Wedding proceedings” by Antanas Juška. Several Christian hymns included in this selection reflect the 19 th century tradition of singing as well.

Instrumental music presented in the publication provides a wide variety of genres and colours of timbre of different instruments. Here we have heard musical pieces performed on one of the most primitive musical instruments – birch bark, also pieces played on shepherds' old wind instruments: goat horn, cow horn, lamzdelis , reed-pipe as well as on kanklės (zither type instrument), and mandoline.

Most musicians from Samogitia were masters at playing different instruments and good singers. For example, Mečislovas Virmauskas, who blew cow horn, was one of the most famous singers in his region. The inventive Vladas Šimkus imitated voices of birds both in birch bark and with his lips. Bonifacas Brazinskas blew a goat horn, a cow horn, played on different reed-pipes, and flutes. Stasys Abromavičius, a descendant of an outstanding family of musicians played not only on kanklės but also played the fiddle. His talent passed to his daughter Stasė who similarly performed on both those instruments. The CD presents a few dances recorded from Abromavičius family: Polka, Waltz, “Kryžiokas”, “Angelčikas”, “Šalabanas”.

Mixed ensembles of different composition were popular in Samogitia, containing a fiddle, a diatonic accordion or bandonion and a bass or a drum. The capelle of the same composition of the Paalsiai village was invited to Lithuanian Folklore Archive. The orchestra consisting of a fiddle, concertina and contrabass executed several Polkas, Country March , Youth Waltz , and other pieces.

Arranging this publication there was a whish to recreate the mood of entertainments, traditional weddings and works, therefore the records of songs and instrumental music were grouped so as to create an integral composition.


© 2004 Lietuvių literatūros ir tautosakos institutas




Sound examples :

1. Oh, Ill Go, I Won’t Stay in Here (family song)
Juozas Alejūnas

2. Melody of a Horn (cow horn)
Bonifacas Brazinskas

3. Across the Birch Grove, Across the Pine Grove (love song)
Malvina Montvydienė, Akvelina Montvydaitė

4. Country March (fiddle, concertina, contrabass)
Povilas Birzgiolas, Kleopas Skrickis, Jurgis Zaksas

Musicians from Šaukėnai.
Photographed by Balys Buračas 1933