Accepted Paper:

Recordings from WWI war prisoners as a representation of Estonian singing culture  


Janika Oras (Estonian Literary Museum)

Paper short abstract:

This presentation analyses song recordings made with Estonian war prisoners in 1916–1917, preserved in Berlin and in Vienna. Considering the unusual situation of the recording and the social status of the informants, different questions about the factors influencing the results of the collaboration of the collectors and informants could be posed.

Paper long abstract:

This presentation analyses recordings made with Estonian war prisoners in 1916-1917, preserved in Berlin (Lautarchiv and Phonogrammarchiv) and in Vienna (Phonogrammarchiv). Although the collections are small, they form a unique representation of the early 20th century Estonian singing culture. The cultural-historical meaning of the colletions emerges when being compared to the period collection of Estonian Folklore Archive's sound recordings and to the commercial recordings from the edition Estonian Gramophone Records 1901—1939.The war prisoners' song repertoire and their singing style partly coincide with the latter, forming a bridge between the ideology of founding a national folklore archive and the esthetic preferences of a current music consumer.

Concidering the unusual status of a war prisoner and the repertoire recorded from the performers, questions arise about the factors influencing the collaboration of collectors and informants. The collectors have been guided by the general comparative musical theory of the early 20th century and their approach to sound recordings, being affected also by the ideological background of recording war prisoners. I'll be interested in the group specifics in the repertoire performed, to discern whether the choices made were influenced by their subaltern position and goals.

Panel P323
Spaces, memories, history, identity