Collection of Ludis Bērziņš

Collection of Ludis Bērziņš

The LU professor Ludis (Ludvigs Ernests) Bērziņš (1870–1965) folklore collection [LFK 867] contains 7595 variants, of which 5432 are folk songs. Material was sent to ALF on six occasions between 1929 and 1942. This material can be described as the scholar’s work notes—dates are not systematically recorded, contributors’ names are often missing, and the professor’s own generally illegible comments appear at times.­­ The collection includes the folklore handwritings of many small children, most likely submitted by young teachers, former Riga Teacher Institute students. Bērziņš tried to extract songs from some of the recorded prose, writing in the margins: “Written down, song used, song from the Suiti region used, did not record, did not understand.” A very wide selection of note paper is used, mostly old forms—especially the back side of documents from Gudenieki parish, and the backs of transcripts (1915/1916) and handwritten tests on old literature belonging to students from Smiltene, small note papers as well as large sheets from office record books with red vertical stripes. The collection also includes several serious efforts of his students: Oļegs Ozoliņš of Alūksne filled eight handwritten notebooks with both songs and spells; Irma Vīksne (Sunākste) and Elfrida Šmite (Vārkava) recorded the vivid language peculiarities of several parishes; and Arturs Ozols recorded his impression of the performance of singers from Jumprava in Riga. His daughter Irēne Bērziņa assisted her father by filling several notebooks with songs from Madona and Skrunda. The handwritten notes (handwriting) of other students from the Riga Teacher Institute (Ella Ābele, Jēkabs Cinovskis, Kārlis Draviņš, Jānis Mencis, Pēteris Vēciņš, Arturs Plaudis, Alberts Plānics, Bernhards Kasars and others) can also be found. The lines of songs in this folklore collection are often divided into dipodija in the records of both Bērziņš and of his students; perhaps this was meant to be material for LU seminars.

The ALF collection precisely shows that on 27 July 1923 Bērziņš was in the Rucava poor house, on 28 July at the home of Mrs. Kalniņš, and on 29 July at Rucava Manor. He also met several times with Jēkabs Berķis at the Liepāja hospice [Liepājas nespējnieku patversme]. In the winter of 1924, he visited a homestead in the Suiti region, on 29 February—in Base and the Gudinieki Hospice. On 1 March he was already in Aizpute visiting Līga Rozenberģe (88 y. o.), on 2 March—in Kazdanga, and on 3 March back in Gudenieki, but at the end of March in Alšvanga. That year he first met Pēteris Korāts (53 y. o.) the Suiti researcher. They also met in 1931 and 1935. Once even in his in a flat in Virza. On 26 June 1929, Bērziņš visited the Kuldīga hospice, but on 8 September 8 he recorded 37 songs on a phonograph in Nīca, which was the beginning of his collection. On 10 May 1935, he was acquainted with Bārbala Šķēle (68 y. o.) in Sarkanmuiža near Ventspils, and on 31 May Anna Kurla (86 y. o.) sang to him in Muitenieki in Rucava; there is a record of a sown battle at Gudenieki school on the very next day. In 1936 Bērziņš went on an expedition to Dundaga, and in 1937 he worked at the Budberga (Panemūne) hospice.

Ludis Bērziņš influenced his students by his example and his inspiration for collecting folklore, and he was the first Latvian folklorist to start the tradition of demonstrating the singing of an authentic folk narrator for a wider audience, promoting the formation of folklore ensembles and educating the public. These folk narrators materials can also be found in the collection, together with a photograph of singers from Jumprava.

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50Pain charms
Pain charms
51Blood stanching chrams
Blood stanching chrams
52Blood stanching chrams
Blood stanching chrams
53Blood stanching chrams
Blood stanching chrams
54Snake charms
Snake charms
55Sacrum pain charms
Sacrum pain charms
64Snake charms
Snake charms
70Rose (erysipelas) charms
71Rose (erysipelas) charms
72Rose (erysipelas) charms
Rose (erysipelas) charms
79Rheumatism charms
Rheumatism charms
80Rheumatism charms
Rheumatism charms
81Snake charms
Snake charms
82Snake charms
Snake charms
83Blood stanching chrams
Blood stanching chrams
84Blood stanching chrams
Blood stanching chrams
85Blood stanching chrams
Blood stanching chrams
86Pain charms
Pain charms
87Cattle charms
Cattle charms
88Snake charms
Snake charms
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Tautasdziesmu teicējasImage0867-39241935Tautasdziesmu teicējas. Foto izgriezums no laikraksta "Brīvā zeme" 1935. gada izdevuma.
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ThumbnailTypeFolderNumber of fileLanguagesTranscription (text)MetadataTranscription (music) 
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