Lithuanian Music -- The Music of the “Last Pagans”
Lithuania is a small country on the shores of the Baltic Sea. The largest of the three, so called,
”Baltic States” ( which also include Latvia and
Estonia ), Lithuania is an ancient land with a relatively obscure history even though Lithuania was
the largest country in Europe in the 14th Century. Lithuania is also remarkable in that, along with Latvia, it is part of a distinct Indo European
language and ethno-cultural family called “the Balts” (the better known Prussians were also
The Baltic languages are exceptionally ancient languages and are of particular interest to linguistic scholars in that find that
retains many of the original features of the nominal morphology found in the common ancestors of the Indo-European languages, and has therefore been
the focus of much study in the area of Indo-European linguistics. Studies in the field of comparative linguistics have shown it to be the most
conservative living Indo-European language. source
There is a quotation by the renowned French linguist, Antoine Meillet that certainly captures
the reason why linguists might find Lithuanian of interest: “Anyone wishing to hear how Indo-Europeans spoke should come and listen to a
Lithuanian peasant. “ .
There are also some unusually striking similarities between Lithuanian and Sanskrit!
Scholars have concluded that Lithuanian language also bears some resemblances to Sanskrit, which seems difficult to fathom considering how
drastically separated the two languages are, geographically and otherwise.
Another particularly curious feature of Lithuanian history, that is certainly expressed in the culture and music of Lithuania, is the fact that
Lithuania is the last country in Europe to accept Christianity which it did in 1386.
Lithuania's Ruler, Jogaila married a Polish Princess, Jadwiga – bartering a deal to form a Great Polish-Lithuanian Empire as a King – on
condition that he convert to Catholicism and that the pagan Lithuanian tribes similarly convert. Lithuanians are a religiously tolerant
people. They seem to readily accept different faiths. Besides, this did seem like a “no brainer”. Whether this was a genuine conversion?
Perhaps. Today Lithuania is a predominantly Catholic country with strong pagan customs and rituals that persist to this day – often along side
the Church without perceived contradiction. Lithuanians are fiercely proud of their pagan roots, customs and beliefs.
Music often reflects the intangible in a people – the soul. This is no less true of the Lithuanians and their music. From their ancient folk
melodies, to more modern “takes” on those ancient themes, the warrior spirit, the connection to the earth, the connection to the spirit is
prominent and readily felt......
This is the thread to post your own particular favorite pieces of Lithuanian Pagan Music...... some of my own are:
Oi, tu, bijun, bijuneli by traditional Lithuanian pagan folk group “ “Kulgrinda”
There's a lot of this sort of music to be found .... a lot. Latvia, Lithuania's neighbor, is said to have a “songbook” dainos with
nearly two million songs! Lithuania is comparable. Traditional pagan music abounds.
“Bite lingo” by Lithuanian Pagan NeoFolk musiciansDonis and Rasa Serris
The most curious development in Lithuanian pagan music is probably the merger between Kulgrinda .... (the first video) and the Lithuanian black metal
band , Ugnelakis
”Tirpsmas” (instrumental) by Lithuanian black metal band Ugnelakis
(incidentally, these guys have a great guitarist...he makes it seem effortless and he is creative and, as you will see in subsequent videos,
When black metal band Ugnelakis teamed up with Kulgrinda to play traditional Lithuanian pagan melodies, it must have been apparent that they had
“something”. ”Skauda Galveli, Negaliu” by Ugnelakis and Kulgrinda
Ugnelakis and Kulgrinda followed this CD by merging and creating a new band called Zalvarinis.....I find that merging the traditional sounds of an
ancient choral tradition with the driving rock rythmms quite enticing and more than “just pleasing”.... again...note the lead guitarist.....
In my opinion, I think that he “just rocks” and is quite imaginative....”nice” stuff
”Krapas by Zalvarinis
”Sermuonelis by Zalvarinis
Of course, the music does tend to get, well, “harder”. As the music tends to lean toward some of the “darker” genres of todays' music.
Case in point.....Obtest....Lithuania's “pagan-metal heroes” ”Auka Seniems Dievams”
”Sviesa” (“Light”) by Obtest
Kur Lygus Laukai (Where the land is level) by Eudine Seythe from a poem, “Milzinu Kapai” by the Lithuanian poet, Maironis which relates the epic battle between the pagan forces of Lithuania against the
Christian Crusaders – the German Teutonic Knights – at The Battle of Grunwald (1410)
Zpoan Vtenz - Milzinu Sugrizimas
This Lithuanian pagan metal band takes it's name from the Prussian (a Baltic dialect) meaning the victories of
Zpoan Vtenz was formed by Lithuanian metal guitarist, Ramūnas Peršonis, a former member of two other pagan metal bands, Poccollus and
Ha Lela. This album, "Gime Nugalet" (Born to Victory) was the bands lone release.
The most poignant aspect of Lithuanian pagan or folk metal is the language of the lyrics. Keep in mind that Lithuanian is considered by linguists to
be one of the most archaic Indo European languages. That is, Lithuanian has not changed considerably over the centuries. The language you hear
spoken (or, in this case, sung) would be readily understood by a Lithuanian of the Middle Ages.
Anyone wishing to hear how Indo-Europeans spoke should come and listen to a Lithuanian peasant.
—Antoine Meillet source
Ha Lela - Sidabrines Saules Simbolis / Symbol of the Silver Sun
(featuring Ramūnas Peršonis, guitarist. He formed Zpoan Vtenz ).
Ha Lela - Audros Sirdis ir Kraujas / Heart and Blood of Storm
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