Daina (Latvia)

Daina (Latvia)

A daina is a traditional form of music or poetry from Latvia. Lithuanian dainas share common traits. Latvian dainas often feature pre-Christian themes and legends, drone vocal styles and Baltic zithers (kokle).

Dainas are very short, usually only one or two unrhymed stanzas, unrhymed and in a four-footed trochaic metre. Lyrically, dainas concern themselves with native mythology but, in contrast to most similar forms, do not have any legendary heroes. Stories often revolve around pre-Christian deities like the sun goddess Saule, the moon god Meness and, most notably, the life of people, especially its three most important events - birth, wedding and death (including burial). The first collection of dainas was published between 1894 and 1915 as Latvju Dainas by Krišjānis Barons. There are well over two hundred thousand collected dainas in written form.

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