Festival theme – Baltic tribes

The Ethno-Festival „SVIESTS” strives to feature music, that is based in the ancient past, in the tradition, but has surpassed the test of time and has reached nowadays and is resounding in a way that is enjoyable for contemporary listeners preserving the ancient message. If we look into the past where the songs and music originate from, we cannot speak only about Latvian folk music, because Latvian people were formed from many different more or less related tribes,  that had lived and loved and fought against each other or together through the centuries. But together they formed the culture region of the Balts – which today is Latvia, Lithuania, Eastern Germany, Northern Poland, Byelorussia,  and parts of Russia. In these areas the hydronimes (names of rivers and lakes) have preserved traces of the ancient inhabitants till nowadays.

It is sad that so few information has been preserved about Curonians, Semigallians, Selonians, Latgalians, Samogitians, Scalvians, Prussians, Lithuanians, Aukštaititians, Yotvingians, Sudovians and Galindians. Also in Western Europe, when looking into the past, mainly Vikings, Slavs, Germanic tribes or Bretons are mentioned. But about the Baltic tribes information is scarce. Many of the differen Baltic languages have vanished too, only some songs in Old Prussian or Curonian have been preserved, thus making the still living Latvian and Lithuanian languages particularly precious.

The term Baltic tribes has been romanticised and partly misused and covered with different myths and legends. However – the archaeological findings as well as researches in the origins of the languages, different words, songs and tales that show ancient rites and beliefs provide evidence of a distictive, rich and thick cultural layer on which we all still live nowadays.

The Ethno-Festival „SVIESTS” represents traditional culture and its different manifestations – music, crafts, also food – everything that is based in its immediate environment and local tradition, and thus can be understandable and enjoyable also to people nowadays, who live in this same environment. If we gain a deeper understanding of our own traditions and cultural treasures that originate in the past, we can avoid superficial stereotypes. It is also very enriching to be aware of our personal culture layer  and integrate some ancient elements that have surpassed the test of time, into our contemporary life. The festival strives to show artists of different disciplines, crafts people, but first and foremost musicians, who have succeeded in integrating some of these elements into their contemporary creative expressions.