Human chain helps move folksong trove

Take note – story published 9 years and 9 months ago

Young and old alike lined up between the Academy of Sciences (LZA) building in downtown Riga and vehicles of the National Armed Forces (NBS) Tuesday to help transfer the ‘cabinet of folksong’ collection of folklorist Krišjānis Barons to its new home. 

There the Latvian folksongs or 'dainas' were ceremoniously loaded up for transfer to the new National Library (LNB) building across the river as inaugurating opening week activities for the celebrated new architectural landmark and cultural-historical milestone project continued this week.

Academic Jānis Stradiņš remarked that he was feeling both “elevated and sadly nostalgic” at the removal from the Latvian Folklore Collection at the LZA of the celebrated trove of Latvian verses collected in the late 19th century by Barons, who traveled the countryside compiling the oral tradition from practicing elders.

The LNB building’s 5th Floor will now house the ‘Cabinet of Folksong’ collection in its Latvian Folklore Collection Reading Room space. The 4th, 5th and 6th Floor special collections about Latvia and the Baltic states, including rare books and handwriting, cartographic materials, miniature print works, books about music and the arts, scores, audio and video recordings and more were opened Sunday.

‘The cabinet of folksongs’ is one of two Memory of the World treasures listed for Latvia by UNESCO’s documentary heritage, the other being the far more recent Baltic Way event just celebrated upon its 25th anniversary this weekend.

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