Compilation of Midsummer (Jāņi) song recordings


The Archives of Latvian Folklore (ALF) has published a selection of Midsummer Jāņi song recordings. This collection includes 23 recordings made between 1951 and 1991. Most of the songs in the selection were popular throughout Latvia. Since the second half of the 19th century, these songs have traveled with the development of the choir movement and published folk song collections, branching into countless variants. The ALF digital archive currently offers around 150 Jāņi song recordings, compiled under the keyword "Jāņi." Also available are phonograph and other recordings from the 1920s and 1930s, which were not included in the selection due to technical quality issues.

Listen to the compilation here.

We hope that these ancient recordings will fit into your summer solstice soundtrack, and perhaps a new melody or text variant will make its way into your singing repertoire.

Priecīgus Jāņus!

The Academic Edition "Latvian Folksongs" Digitized


The Archives of Latvian Folklore (ALF) have digitized volumes 1-9 of the academic edition "Latviešu tautasdziesmas" ("Latvian Folksongs"). It can be accessed in the digital archive of ALF as a separate collection "Academic edition "Latvian Folksongs"". Thus, approximately half a million thematically arranged folksong texts have become available digitally. 

The academic edition "Latvian Folksongs" is a complete collection of folksongs collected by the Archives of Latvian Folklore. The ALF holds the largest collection of Latvian folksongs – about 1 million folksong texts, which were collected after the publication of Krišjānis Barons’s "Latvju dainas" (~219,000 texts). In order to make this valuable collection publicly available, ALF in 1960 started the preparation of the academic edition. Between 1979 and 2018, thanks to the work of several generations of folklorists, eleven volumes of "Latvian Folksongs" were published containing about 650 thousand folksong texts and scholarly articles commenting on them. At the moment, the last two volumes are being prepared. Thus, this edition is the largest publication of Latvian folksongs that has ever been published. 

Since the first volumes of "Latviešu Folksongs" have already become a bibliographic rarity, but at the same time they are a valuable source for getting to know and studying Latvian folklore, in the summer of 2021 ALF digitized the volumes that are no longer available in bookstores. From now on, everyone has access to more than 500 thousand texts of Latvian folksongs, arranged thematically in 9 volumes (10 books). Along with the folksong texts, the digital collection also includes the collection index of the academic edition "Latvian Folksongs", which compiles the manuscript collections used in the publication according to the regional principle. Using the collection numbers included in the index, it is possible to conduct further research on folksongs, their singers and recorders.

The digitization of the volumes was carried out as part of the project "Accessibility of diverse traditional cultural content in the digital environment", which received funding from the "KultūELPA" program of the State Culture Capital Foundation.

Digital Catalogue of Latvian Charms


A new digital text corpus for charm research in Latvia was developed by the researcher of Archives of Latvian Folklore (ALF) Aigars Lielbārdis in the postdoctoral project "Digital Catalogues of Latvian Charms" (No. The methodology is based on digital humanities principles that allow charm texts to be analyzed according to multiple criteria simultaneously. This methodology has been applied to ALF Collection 150 which is the main charm collection of the Archives of Latvian Folklore. Read more

A Collection of Ethnographic Ensembles


The newly created collection No. 2235, "Recordings of Ethnographic Ensembles", comprise a repertoire of 24 Latvian ethnographic ensembles which continue to sing and play local traditional music from various villages of Kurzeme and Latgale. This is a special audio-visual collection, as it reveals musical soundscapes presented by current Latvian ethnographic ensembles. The recordings are now available in a digital environment along with thorough historical information about the ensembles and rich illustrative material in the form of photographs.

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A New Study on Charms


The publishing house of the Institute of Literature, Folklore and Art (University of Latvia) recently published Aigars Lielbārdis' research on Latvian charms, “Collection 150. Charms”. The book includes a description of the development and content of the ALF Collection 150, as well as an analysis of the largest functional groups of charms and a chronological listing of the materials, the names of charm-book owners, folk performers, as well as collectors and contributors (presented chronologically by date of contribution). Read more

Call for Diaries in the Time of Pandemics!


The Archives of Latvian Folklore are publishing Diaries in the Time of Pandemic 2020, inviting anyone documenting these uncertain times in Latvia to send their entry to or tag if posting on Facebook. The project is carried out in cooperation with Punctum,, and UbiSunt.

Sing with the Archives


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. Read more

Autobiography Collection launched by the Archives of Latvian Folklore


In early 2018, the Archives of Latvian Folklore launched a new initiative—the Autobiography Collection with the aim of preserving and documenting the tradition of life writing of people living in Latvia. The Autobiography Collection is made up of materials people have written during various periods to document their own lives and the times in which they live. Mostly these are diaries, written life stories, memoirs, and letters, as well as various other materials providing complementary information—photographs, interviews with the authors, and their relatives’ stories about them.

The Autobiography Collection of the Archives of Latvian Folklore continues to grow actively. Anyone with a connection to Latvia is invited to submit materials, which can be done by contacting the collection curators. If the author/owner of the autobiographical material wants to keep the original, the material can be digitised at the Archives of Latvian Folklore, or at some other agreed-upon location. Once the materials have been digitised, they are returned to the owner.


International Folklore Festival Baltica – explore photos from 1988


On June 16–21, the International Folklore Festival Baltica will take place in Latvia. The festival is a co–project of the three Baltic States. Festival, which brings together ethnographic ensembles, folklore groups, folk music groups, narrators, craftsmen and individual performers, happens every year, switching location between Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia. The theme for this year is The Solstice. Blossoming (

The first Baltica Festival took place in 1987, but in Latvia a year later – in 1988. Archives of Latvian folklore hold unique photos from the very first year of the festival in Latvia. Explore them here in the collection of Vaira Strautniece LFK [2184].

Phonograph Recordings included in the UNESCO Memory of the World Latvian National Register


Collection of the phonograph recordings (1926-1947) of the Archives of Latvian Folklore has been included in the UNESCO Memory of the World Latvian National Register.

In April 1926, two years after the foundation of the Archives of Latvian Folklore (ALF), the first Edison phonograph was purchased. In September of the same year, two more phonographs were acquired, both Excelsior models manufactured in Cologne, Germany.

The first phonograph recordings were made in 1926 by Anna Bērzkalne, the first Head of the ALF. The last recordings were completed during the field work session of the Folklore Institute carried out from June to September of 1947 in eastern Latvia. This was the last occasion when phonograph recordings were used by ALF.

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Your time for Latvia!


In June, 2016, the Archives of Latvian Folklore in cooperation with "Latvia-100" (Centenary Office Latvia) and Radio Latvia opened a long lasting crowd-sourcing event for folklore manuscript transcription, called "Simtgades burtnieki" (Wizards of Centenary). Within the activity, we invite everyone to devote time for Latvia by transcribing folklore manuscripts thus safeguarding and making digitally available all kind of folklore held by the Archives of Latvian Folklore. Each minute spent by the Wizzards of Centenary within the digital platform is counted up. You are welcome to join!

Audio recordings online!


A selection of almost 5000 audio recordings of Archives of Latvian Folklore are made available online! Visit audio section to explore unique sounds, mainly folk songs and various stories, from all over Latvia and outside. 

Folklore collections from Kurzeme


May, 2015 was dedicated to the folklore collections from Kurzeme - the Western part of Latvia, mainly from the south-west corner of it, near Liepāja city. The largest part of the digitized collections from that region are the ones collected by school children during the interwar period:

  • Klostere Primary School LKF [6]
  • Otaņķi Primary School LFK [9]
  • Vecpils Primary School LFK [13]
  • Skrunda 2nd Primary School LFK [103]
  • Bāte Primary School LFK [466]
  • Liepāja City 2nd Primary School LFK [576]
  • Basi Primary School LFK [1158]
  • Vanga Primary School LFK [1191]
  • Lēni Primary School LFK [1227]
  • Sieksāte Primary School LFK [1231] and LFK [1232]
  • Tadaiķi Primary School LFK [1706]
  • Aizviķi Primary School LFK [1709]
  • Liepāja Commercial School LFK [1715]

The collection of Liepāja Institute of Pedagogy, LFK [1921], contains bright examples of Soviet folklore, collected in Alsunga parish in 1955, whereas folklore collections of Miķelis Zvirbulis [43], Milda Rolmane [133] and Alvīne Ģeistaute [192] include folklore materials, collected in Rucava parish during the interwar period.

Folklore of national minorities of Latvia


The Archives of Latvian Folklore hold five remarkable folklore collections of Latvian national minorities. All of them are published online in the Digital Archive of Latvian Folklore:

Workshop on folklore collections of national minorities of Latvia


Workshop on folklore collections of national minorities of Latvia held by Archives of Latvian Folklore will take place on Friday, April 10 in National Library of Latvia (Mūkusalas street 3, Riga). In the workshop, the folklore collections of Latvian Belarus, German, Russian, Roma, Jew and other national minorities will be presented, along with the digital archive of Latvian folklore More information:

Johann Gottfried von Herder's Collection of Latvian Folksongs


The manuscript of Latvian folksongs and their translations into German, the collection of Johann Gottfried Herder (1744–1803). The manuscript is published in collaboration with Berlin State Library and National Library of Latvia.

Folklore collections of Northern Latgale


  • Folklore collection of Cipriāns Apšenieks in Bērzpils, ALF [190]
  • Folklore collection of Viestura State Primary School near Viļaka, ALF [380]
  • Folklore collection of Marija Dekšņa in Rugāji, ALF [461]
  • Folklore collection of Zeļči (Upīte) Primary School, ALF [691]
  • Folklore collection of Krišjāņi Primary School, ALF [1219]
  • Folklore collection of Paulis Svenne in Purvmala, ALF [536]
  • Folklore collection of Pakrava Primary School, ALF [886]

Folklore of Latvian Jews


The collection of Latvian Jews' folklore collected by Girša Etkin is added to Submitted to archives in 1946. In total 500 folklore units, mainly proverbs and sayings. Manuscript [1791].

Latvian Roma folklore


The collection of Latvian Roma folklore collected by Jānis Leimanis included in the database. Manuscript [1389]: 500 folklore units, 1094 manuscript images. Roma language materials are provided with interlinear Latvian translation.

Folklore collection of Herder Institute in Riga


Folklore collection of Herder Institute in Riga included in the database. Submitted in 1939 by Lutz Mackensen. Languages: German and Estonian. Manuscript [1825].

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