In the contemporary scene of Lithuanian folklore and post-folklore there appear to be two directions. One of them finds itself rippling with pervasive melancholy, tenderness, and sacral meditation which is in touch with the deepest of roots. The other is filled with fiery rhythms, dance, the energies of festivals and celebration. In music we often seek both, and that is expressed through the all-encompassing soundscapes of world music. This compilation expertly showcases the harmony of the current and the archaic in our region, and after having listened to each project in the album you will have heard the general sound of contemporary Lithuania.
head of the Mėnuo Juodaragis festival and the Dangus record label
The sphere of Lithuanian folk and world music is accepting more global influences than before, and this reveals itself through the incredibly organic sounds of Rokas Kašėta, Kamanių šilelis and Afrodelic. I am smiling broadly as I listen to Šventinis bankuchenas – with a frisky leap from tradition there seems to have emerged a folk for the current day and age that is filled with impactful and authentic detail. The poetic piece by Donatas Bielkauskas is the pure beauty of a seaside melody swathed mistily in industrial bay sounds. Planeta Polar rushes us into a parallel world fiesta. In other pieces, chthonic modes and archaic melodies stick more closely with tradition or try on the garbs of electronica, jazz or heavy guitar. The Jauna muzika choir forms an exceptional union with Merope. This compilation teeters between ‘light as air’ and a ‘sumptuous drifting into the underworld’.
performer, songwriter, band member of Skylė
When you listen to this world music collection from Lithuania, it might take you on a journey of deep feeling for our roots, as polyphonic singing and the sounds of kanklės meet a modern mix of electronics, and going as far as cumbia sounds that are made in Lithuania. There is evolution in music as in anything else, but the old traditions are coming back, with modern ways mixed in it as well.
head of the Gera Muzika Gyvai world music concert series and the One Root Music record label
When I listen to ethnic music as well as its contemporary interpreters, I’m first of all captivated by the timbre of the voice – authentic, unusual, suggestive. It seems, at times, that the fixed composition becomes secondary to its performance, made special by a memorable vocal expression. It is delightful that so many of this year’s selected artists – Yorige, Virginija Pievos, Merope, and Jauna muzika among others – are the owners of distinctive voices. Fresh gusts of wind in the music of new performers have not gone unnoticed either, with some of the artists’ creative directions being quite difficult to pin down. Some of the tracks are crazy sutartinės, created in keeping with an abundance of refrains as well as the polyphonic musical development characteristic of the genre.
ethnomusicologist, professor at the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre, performer of traditional Lithuanian songs
This time around, the folk/world music collection is especially diverse, from the dzūkodelika of the southern Lithuanian woods to the cumbia performed by Planeta Polar (which has me wondering whether it actually has anything to do with Lithuania at all beyond the fact that it’s performed by Lithuanians). But that’s the point of this compilation – to introduce new music to those who seek a diverse – if perhaps not strictly Lithuanian – assortment of folklore. Enjoy!
radio host at the Lithuanian National Broadcaster
Tracks selected by Aistė Smilgevičiūtė, Daiva Vyčinienė, Marius Eidukonis, Ugnius Liogė, Žilvinas Švarplys.
Text editing: Howard Jarvis
Graphic design: Jurgis Griškevičius
Mastering: Artūras Pugačiauskas
Executive producer: Greta Jakobsonaitė
Supported by Lithuanian Council for Culture and Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Lithuania.