Accepted Paper:

Latvian song heritage and the concept of "singing nation"  

Author:

Valdis Muktupāvels (University of Latvia)

Paper short abstract:

The study focuses on Latvian song celebration and materials for informal, social singing. Studying different aspects of two significant song collections, a special attention is payed to the layers of meaning, having formed the identity construction of Latvians as “a singing nation”.

Paper long abstract:

The living and informal spirit of Latvian Song celebration has been most clearly represented by the spontaneous social singing of huge masses of people after the final concert. The Baltic song and dance celebration has been included into the UNESCO list of intangible cultural heritage in 2003, and a special law of song and dance celebration has been adopted in Latvia in 2005, thus marking a certain formalization of the more than a century old tradition globally and nationally. Besides, a song collection "Latvieša dziesmu klade" for informal singing has been selected and published in 2008 by the organizing committee, thus raising the status of the aforementioned spontaneous singing to state-supported and professionally-guided event. Consequently, it means a new level of formalization of the previously informal tradition.

The focus of the study is on the collection "Latvieša dziesmu klade", which is compared to "Dziesmu rota" - the essential collection of pre-national singing culture. In the view of these two collections, such aspects as their formation, structure, repertoire and symbolic contexts are studied here, paying a special attention to the layers of meaning, having formed the identity construction of Latvians as "a singing nation".

Panel P38
Cultural heritage, status and mobility