LV Latviski

Dziedi ar arhīvu

On 15th of February the Archives of Latvian Folklore launches a creative crowdsourcing campaign "Sing with the Archives". Its aim is to popularize the archival sound recordings and explore contemporary interpretations of traditional music. The digital platform invites to listen to the archival songs, to add their cover versions to the old recordings and to vote for the new versions.

How did traditional music sound long ago and how does it sound today? The project invites you to learn some new songs from the Digital Archives of Latvian Folklore and sing, record, arrange, compose, and upload your own 'cover versions' to the Archive's audio collection. The selection of recordings complied for this campaign includes a rich variety of songs in terms of content, style, origin, and language – everyday songs and mythological songs, joyful songs and sorrowful songs, folk songs and popular songs in Latvian, Livonian, Belarussian, Russian, and Romani. All regions of Latvia, as well as Latvian villages in Siberia and Bashkiria are represented in the selection. The oldest recordings were made in the 1920s and 30s, and the newest are from the beginning of the 21st century. Read more...

Tour de CLARIN highlights prominent User Involvement (UI) activities of a particular CLARIN national consortium. This time the focus is on Latvia and Sanita Reinsone, a leading researcher at the Institute of Literature, Folklore and Art at the University of Latvia. The interview was conducted via Skype by Jakob Lenardič.

CLARIN (Common Language Resources and Technology Infrastructure) is a research infrastructure that was initiated from the vision that all digital language resources and tools from all over Europe and beyond are accessible through a single sign-on online environment for the support of researchers in the humanities and social sciences.

You can read the interview here.

Pēckara tekstu lasīšana

Latvian folkloristics (1945-1985) research group launches Post-war Archive – a series of reading seminars dedicated to theoretical landscape of the discipline after the World War II. Seminars are intended as micro-studies of history of knowledge production, investigating reflexive links between academic statements, cultural trends, and political agendas.

Disciplinary histories are dominated by post-factual approach to theories of past and their uses. We are intended to reverse this approach by reconstructing the initial field of possibilities and taking it as a starting point towards the understanding of today.Acknowledging the success of New Historicism, each seminar will feature two texts. One directly related to theoretical side of disciplinary history and the other one representing milieu of its creation.

The first seminar on February 14 will be on late Stalinism. Texts discussed will be ‘Aims of ethnographers and folklorists in the light of decision of 7th September 1953 of Soviet Union Communist Party Central Committee general meeting’ by Arturs Ozols (in Latvian) and “On new man” by Maxim Gorky (in Russian). Read more...

Interdisciplinary and International Conference of the University of Latvia Institute of Literature, Folklore and Art with the support of the National Library of Latvia, Institut français de Lettonie and Goethe-Institut Lettland

Geography and Migration of Knowledge

April 26-27, 2019 in Riga, Latvia

(House of Europe, 28 Aspazijas Boulevard, Riga)

Working languages: Latvian, French and German with simultaneous interpretation

The knowledge structures, organizes and allows to grasp the visible and invisible reality. As a specific type of world management relationship, it has common characteristics with power. Thus, it is not without reason that the intensive accumulation of knowledge initiated in the mid-nineteenth century by the Latvian intellectual elite has resulted in a power structure – a nation-state – whose founding act dates back to 1918. As the relations were mutually reinforcing, soon important knowledge institutions were founded in the Republic of Latvia: the National Library and the University, which develop and strengthen the foundations of culture while continuing to accumulate knowledge. The development of education and the definition of its content facilitates search for new models of knowledge and their implementation, including adaptation of already existing models. Read more...

Joyful Christmas and a successful New Year 2019!

Photo by Sandis Laime, Siberia 2004.

11.00 on Tuesday 18 December will see the launch of Latvia’s National Encyclopaedia’s electronic site – a high-quality general-knowledge and information online resource in the Latvian language, accessible free of charge – at Bebrene Manor in Bebrene Parish. The authors of the volume of the National Encyclopaedia and the electronic site are also ILFA researchers – Dace Bula, Pauls Daija, Eva Eglāja-Kristsone, Benedikts Kalnačs and Rita Treija.

Thanks to the support of Latvijas Televīzija (Latvian Television), the event will be streamed live on the and portals. Read more...

Ilze Šarkovska-Liepiņa, ILFA researcher at the Department of Theater, Music and Cinema delivered a presentation at the International Musicology Conference "National Identities – European Universality. Music and Music Life in Central and Eastern Europe (1918–2018)”. The conference was held in Warsaw from 30 November to 1 December, organized by the Polish National Centre for Culture, Polish Composers’ Union, Institute of Musicology of the University of Warsaw, and “Waves Bratislava” (Music Festival & Conference).

World War I, and in particular the disintegration of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and the revolution in Russia, led to the emergence (or re-emergence) on the map of Europe of nine new countries. Poland regained its independence. The other new sovereign states were: Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Austria, Czechoslovakia, Hungary and Yugoslavia. What was the significance of the new political situation for the development of music and musical life in those countries? Did the freshly regained independence have impact on the music of composers from this region of Europe? Do national differences still exist in music a hundred years later, or have they all dissolved in the melting pot of European universalism? The jubilee year of 2018 provides an excellent opportunity for a debate on these questions. Ilze Šarkovska-Liepiņa held a lecture "Searching for National Identity: Choir Movement and Song Festivals in Latvia", devoted to issues of genesis and development of the Latvian professional music culture through the prism of the choral music and song celebrations. Read more...

Institute of Literature, Folklore and Art of the University of Latvia has released a Dr. art. Arnolds Klotiņ'š scholarly monograph "Music in Latvia during The Stalinist Post-War Decade" ("Mūzika pēckara staļinismā: Latvijas mūzikas dzīve un jaunrade 1944. līdz 1953. gadā" LU LFMI, 2018).

This work consists of a broad introduction followed by two parts that match the chronology events – Part I looks at the closing stages of the Second World War and the first two years that followed (1944–1946), while Part II deals with musical life and creative work at the height of the Stalinist totalitarian regime (1947–1953).

On 29 November 2018, the Latvian Academy of Sciences (LAS) held its annual Autumn General meeting. The Autumn General meeting elected, by secret ballot, nine Full members, sixteen Corresponding members, four Foreign members and one Honorary member. ILFA Leading researcher Pauls Daija has also been elected as a Corresponding member. Read more...

Anna Bērzkalne

Rita Treija's study "Anna Bērzkalne" (Rīga: Zinātne, 2018; 304 pp., ill.) has been released by the publishers "Zinātne". The new book is the fifth publication in the series "Folkloristikas bibliotēka" ("Library of Folkloristics") issued by the Archives of Latvian Folklore, Institute of Literature, Folklore and Art of the university of Latvia. The monograph is in Latvian, but an extensive English summary is provided.

Anna Bērzkalne (1891–1956) was an important figure of interwar period Latvian folkloristics and also one of the most educated women of her time. She was a dedicated folksong researcher and the founder of the Archives of Latvian Folklore (1924) which she led during the first five years. As with many other intellectuals of 1920s and 1930s, her name was silenced during the Soviet times. Only in the 1990s, after Latvia had regained its independence, was Anna Bērzkalne's professional legacy reintegrated into the disciplinary historiography. Over the past few years, her performance in folkloristics has been studied with greater diligence through several research projects carried out by the Institute of Literature, Folklore and Art of the University of Latvia.


The "History, Memory and Archives: Sensitive issues" ( was a conference dedicated to the Centenary of Finland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, and ultimately also Poland. It was the interim conference for the SIEF WG on Archives, in collaboration with the Institute of Lithuanian Literature and Folklore and the Nordic-Baltic Tradition Archives Network. More than 30 presentations analysed the ethical, sensitive and delicate issues in archival research and folklore research and publications in general. The Institute of Literature, Folklore and Art was represented by Baiba Krogzeme-Mosgorda (The Memory Album Collection in the Archives of Latvian Folklore: Creation and Presentation), Rita Treija (Personal Archives to Build a Disciplinary History), Māra Vīksna un Elvīra Žvarte (Diaries in the Archives of Latvian Folklore), Justīne Jaudzema (Interpretation of Archive Materials: Making a Song Repertoire), Elīna Gailīte (The Role of Harijs Sūna in the Development of the Choreography Genre at the Archives of Latvian Folklore) and Sanita Reinsone.


The Finnish Academy of Science and Letters in the Folklore Fellows' Communications series has released its book No. 315, "Visions and Traditions. Knowledge Production and Tradition Archives". This volume contains 18 scholarly articles that in various ways discuss the political, methodological and ethical aspects of how tradition archives have been – and are – involved in the production of knowledge (see the contents). The book was prepared by international editorial team: Lauri Harvilahti (Finland), Audun Kjus (Norway), Clíona O'Carroll (Ireland), Susanne Österlund-Pötzsch (Finland), Fredrik Skott (Sweden) and Rita Treija (Latvia).

Among the authors, there is Sanita Reinsone, leading researcher of the Archives of Latvian Folklore, Institute of Literature, Folklore and Art of the University of Latvia.


With the funding of Latvian Council of Science, ILFA launches a two-year long research project on the disciplinary history of folkloristics after World War II. Following the long term research strategy of the Institute, it extends the previous successful research grant funded by the Latvian Council of Science – study dedicated to Latvian folkloristics in the interwar period. Reflecting on current disciplinary legacy, the project’s team simultaneously considers the development of Latvian post-war folkloristics both in the Latvian Soviet Socialist Republic and within the Latvian exile community.

Through simultaneous and joint research of both historical directions, the project is designed to generate and disseminate novel insights into Latvian post-war folkloristics, based on a variety of methodological approaches. Read more...


The internationally acclaimed scientific journal Letonica (indexed in Scopus, ERIH PLUS and EBSCO) invites contributions of scholars of folklore and related disciplines. The theme of the next issue will be about diverse relationships of traditions and state power in disciplinary history since 1918, especially during the Cold War period and the following decades. All papers will be blind peer-reviewed. Journal style and additional information is available here.

Please send the title and short description of your intended article to the editor of the special issue Toms Ķencis by the end of this year. The deadline for articles is the 1st of March, 2019.

Traditions and Power

Organized by the Archives of Latvian Folklore, the annual scientific conference commemorating the Father of Latvian Folksongs, Krišjānis Barons, was held on last two days of October. Critically celebrating the Centenary of Independent Republic of Latvia, the multidisciplinary conference was dedicated to relationships between traditions and power, with an emphasis of less-researched years of the Soviet occupation (1944-1990). The conference featured 20 presentations, including also a plenary lecture on "Traditionality and the Language of Ontological Insecurity" by sociologist Mārtiņš Kaprāns and a guest lecture from Estonian researcher Ave Goršič titled "Presented by the Fourth Estate: Folklore and Traditional Culture as a Tool for State and Ideology".