person from Lithuania (Jogile)

Lithuanian Song Festival

Jogile ( Lithuania Lithuania )

National Lithuanian song festival, symbol of unity and strength – Jogile’s goosebump moment

(text video)

“Hey, my name is Jogile and I come from Lithuania. My goosebump moment is when I realized the power of singing. The story is that it has been more than 12 years since I have been singing in a choir. We have this National Lithuanian song festival, held every 4 years. All the ages – elders, teenagers, kids, adults, choirs from towns, villages – gather in one spot, and they sing. Songs, Lithuanian songs, English songs but mostly Lithuanian songs. I remember we were standing for 12 hours in pouring rain, 4 days straight. Tired, hungry… Then there was this conductor, he stood up, with a wand he just swished and there was a 5 second pause. You could hear the rain pouring. We all started singing one note in unison which is like one word meaning nature / mist / fog in Lithuanian. I felt those goosebumps and it was something as ecstatic as it was so bizarre… I felt cold sweat just started running, and then I felt awe and O.M.G – it was so insanely powerful! Probably explains why I love singing and why I love Lithuanian folk songs. So that would be my moment”.


The power of singing

Human beings always live with music, it accompanies us even from our mother’s womb. It is an art that makes us remember, smile and even through it many of us have come to know and share with people that otherwise might not have been possible.

It is also said that music is “the true universal language” and that it also connects us with the deepest part of our soul, which is why when we listen to or sing a particular song we feel deeply moved, to the point of letting a tear escape.

Music and song are strongly rooted in Lithuanian folk culture. Proof of this are the numerous festivals held throughout the year in the country. Traditional songs (dainos) have existed since feudal times and are the oldest folkloric testimony of the country.

Music of Lithuania

Lithuanian music refers to all forms of music associated with Lithuania, which has a long history of folk, popular and classical musical development. Music was an important part of polytheistic and pre-Christian Lithuania: rituals were accompanied by musical instruments and singing, the deeds of heroes and those who did not return from war were celebrated with songs.

Music was a very important part of the ancient Lithuanian polytheistic belief. It is known that, at the beginning of the second millennium, Baltic tribes had special funeral traditions in which the deeds of the dead were narrated by recitation, and there were also ritual songs about war campaigns, heroes and rulers.

The first professional music was introduced in Lithuania with traveling monks in the 11th century. After the Christianization of Lithuania in 1387, religious music began to spread, Gregorian chant was introduced. Itinerant musicians organized concerts in the mansions and castles of the Lithuanian nobility, local cappellas were founded.

Lithuanian Song Festival

The Lithuanian Song Festival (also called Song Celebration) is a massive festival of traditional songs and dances. Since regaining Independence in 1990, the event has gained the status of a national celebration. The most recent event took place between June 30 and July 6, 2018.

The 2018 edition of the Song Celebration was dedicated to the Centenary of the Restoration of the independent state of Lithuania and took place in Kaunas and Vilnius. The main event was held in Vingis Park in Vilnius. On November 7, 2003, UNESCO proclaimed the tradition of song and dance celebration in Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia as a masterpiece of the oral and intangible heritage of humanity and in 2008 added it to the Cultural Heritage List.

After the restoration of Lithuania’s independence in 1990, the Lithuanian Song Festival returned to its traditional identity and gained the status of a national tradition. The festival is considered the unique manifestation of national culture and the symbol of unity and strength. The main parts of the song festival are the Folklore Day, which shows the geographical and gender diversity of traditional culture, and the Evening of Ensembles.

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