SONGS OF THE ZEMAITIJA (SAMOGITIA)

Zemaitija (Samogitia) is the ethnographic region at the Baltic Sea which is bordered upon Latvia Kurzeme in the North. Samogitians are distinguished by their ethnic cultural originality, having preserved their own language and customs. The remaining Samogitian many-voiced songs tell us about their old customs. The remaining Samogitian many-voiced songs tell us about their old and strong sinking folk-lore traditions. From the northern inhabitants of the Highlands they differ in their particular melodious styles and free way of singing. The leading voice improvises, beautifying the melody in different ways. He is accompanied by a large company of singers. The songs are performed in free, rich, and full voices. They reveal of singers. The songs are performed in free, rich, and full voices. They reveal the unusual, rich, and dialectal beauty of Samogitian words and melodies.
Zemaiciai (Samogitians) would play the kankles (psaltery), they blew whistles and birbyne (chalumeau). Recently the Samogitian musicians took a liking to fiddles, concertinas, besetle (stringed bass), and the drums using them in different ensembles. In Samogitia they like small brass bands which play during weddings, christening parties, evening-parties, and funerals. Brass band music had an influence on the repertoire of concertina and fiddle players. During the last century the Samogitian musicians played the music of all-European origin not forgetting Samogitian and Latvian dances. In this region of Lithuania there is a tradition of great vitality which is the production and repair of fiddles, stringed bass’, and bandoneons. Self-taught musicians could play many instruments and they were masters of different crafts.
Zemaicius (Samogitian) instrumental music-making tradition died away during the 1960’s when the dance style changed in the country.
There the Samogitian songs performed by folk-lore ensemble singers who took over this tradition from their parents, grandparents, old folk singers as well as the instrumental music played by the most prominent folk musicians. In 1987-1988 the scientific workers of the Institute of Ethnomusic visited them and made this recording.

Malunelis. Concertina performed by Vl. Budreckas (b. 1916) Plunge distr., Zemaiciu kalvarija, Sernele village.
 
Voi auga, auga zals pusynelis. Performed by folk  singer J. Bukantaite (b. 1952 ) Plunge distr., Plateliai.
 
Voi strazdeli. Folk song performed by L. Mukaite (b.1977) Kretinga distr., 
 
Polka Muzikantas is nakties. Performed (bandonia) by J. Vasiliauskas  (b. 1920) Plunge distr., Klepiciu vilage.
 
Valtz Kaip gera myleti. Violin play by M. Urbonavicius (b 1917), and  A. Kavaliauskas (b.1927) Siauliu distr., Kursenai.
 

[Foreword][Postilla][M. Dauksa and M. Giedraitis][Homeland][Customs][Language][History][Gallery][National Programm][Events][Mass Media][News][Information][Contents][Guest Book][Home]


Samogitian Cultural Association Editorial Board, 1998.
Comments to: samogitia@mch.mii.lt

Page updated 2008.10.08.