Latvian Folk Songs

The basic form of a Latvian folk song is a blank verse quatrain; that is: four lines of poetry that don't rhyme! Each line is usually eight syllables long. Some songs are longer, but they still use the same basic pattern.

Folk songs can be sacred invocations, they can be insulting, obscene, funny, or heart-rendingly sad. They can be about deities, people, and animals — about anything and everything.

To date, about 1.4 million such songs have been recorded. Here is a tiny, tiny sample, chosen completely at random, and certainly not intended to be representative. I have tentatively classed them into two groups: short songs (one verse only) and long songs (several verses).

Please note that Latvian folk songs don't necessarily have only a single variant. In fact, very few of the songs have only one variant; some may have dozens of variants. This is typical of folk songs in general. The variant I have chosen for this web site is merely the one most familiar to me; it is not in any way "standard".

Links to sites about Latvian Folk Songs:

Country of Latvia | Travel in Latvia | Latvian Language | History of Latvia | Latvian Cuisine | Latvian Folklore and Folk Costumes | Latvian Music, Songs, and Dances

This page created and maintained by
A. Steinbergs

Last revised September 20, 2008