Merema: Kezeren Koiht

The 14 songs on Kezeren Koiht (Ancient Custom) have everything required of first-rate folk tales: Dreams and journeys, peril and gore, omens and clairvoyants, love sagas that end well and badly. But where the Brothers Grimm had the perfect family name for their collected works, a suitable adjective for Merema’s collection should perhaps reflect the ensemble’s honorable purpose: Survival of the culture and languages their stories represent. Merema is based … More Merema: Kezeren Koiht

Sen Svaja: Kraitis iš pelkės / Dowry from a Swamp

Three women who present themselves as pixies, mixing real and mythic realms. Three pillars: Smart theatricality; venue (a biodiverse marsh); and group name (Sen Svaja), from an Old Prussian term meaning “with family,” implying not only blood but also those adopted from outside. The sundry elements of Dowry from a Swamp work and play in the service of darkly magical folk songs, five from the … More Sen Svaja: Kraitis iš pelkės / Dowry from a Swamp

Vedan Kolod: Wild Games

Siberia is renowned for vast panoramas and extreme temperatures but it is also rich in sound. Over the past 15 years the folk trio Vedan Kolod has been introducing world audiences to the region’s acoustic qualities, from whistling forest winds to echoes of time to their own spellbinding blend of voices and traditional instruments. A family band from Krasnoyarsk, roughly the halfway point on the Trans-Siberian Railway, Vedan Kolod has a repertoire … More Vedan Kolod: Wild Games

Tautumeitas

Laptops, extended lifespans, the means to reach any point on Earth within 24 hours—modernity has its advantages. The past, meanwhile, beckons with things like community, patience, art, wisdom. The six women of the Latvian folk group Tautumeitas appeal to our traditional vein with polyphonic stories but also remind us—with old-new and local-global beats and tones—that we can meld eras and cultures and have it all. On their almost-debut … More Tautumeitas