Book Reviews

  1. Maarja Kasema, Vaike Sarv Setu hällitused (Setu Lullabies). Ars Musicae Popularis 13. Tallinn 1999: Estonian Language Institute. 189 pp.

  2. Gillian Bennett Alas, Poor Ghost! Traditions of Belief in Story and Discourse. Logan, Utah 1999: Utah State University Press, 223 pp.

  3. Astrid Tuisk Eesti kultuur võõrsil. Loode-Venemaa ja Siberi asundused (Estonian Culture Abroad. Estonian Settlements in Northwestern Russia and Siberia). Tartu 1998. 228 pp.


Maarja Kasema, Vaike Sarv Setu hällitused (Setu Lullabies). Ars Musicae Popularis 13. Tallinn 1999: Estonian Language Institute. 189 pp.

Book The publication contains 117 lullabies with melodies recorded from the Setus, Orthodox South-East Estonians, an stored in the Estonian Folklore Archives. The publicated material consists of complete and detailed transcriptions (56 pieces) of sound recordings by the authors, and manuscript archival material (61 pieces, 47 of them partly transcribed from phonograms by A.O.Väisänen). The edition includes a preface which outlines the texts, the customary performance and musical material of the songs, but also the history of their collection: for the English summary of the preface, see pages 184-189. The book is provided with a topographical index and alphabetical indices of performers and collectors.

«Ars Musicae Popularis» is a series of publications on folk music, founded in 1980 by the Estonian Language Institute in Tallinn (formerly the Institute of Language and Literature of the Academy of Sciences of the Estonian Soviet Socialist Republic). The series covers the earlier Estonian folk songs with melodies, the selection of material being based on generic and regional principles. Prefaces contain detailed analyses of melodies and texts, also data on styles of performance and the history of their collection. The publication of the folk music of other Finno-Ugric people has also been initiated. 1

The series «Ars Musicae» covers a large number of Setu songs, i.e. the printed music and texts of folk songs traditionally performed by one person. To date all Setu death-dirges, herding songs and folk tales with songs have been published together with the melodies.2

In addition to the song genres mentioned above, lullabies and other children's songs are one of the few genres that can be sung alone in the Setu tradition. In Setumaa folk songs are customarily sung in chorus, and there is an ancient polyphonic singing tradition there, unique in both Estonia as well as among neighbouring peoples. According to V. Sarv, an editor of the collection who has long studied Setu folklore, the melodies of the songs performed by one singer differ considerably from those sung in chorus, but are still affected by them, as they form a dominant part of the tradition. Earlier studies point out the similarities between the monophonic Setu melodies: herding songs and death-dirges, but also songs in folk tales and children's songs.3 Lullabies seem to form a clearly distinct musical type, probably due to style of performance.4 The preface of the collection introduces the characteristic features of the Setu lullaby songs without providing exhaustive statistics on the number of variants (a thorough overview of this is available e.g. in the preface of «The Setu Folk Tales with Songs»). One of the characteristic features is the relatively smaller scale of the melody line, than the lines in polyphonic choruses, particularly in the melodies of the duration of one verse line (one-lined), which is typical to all Estonian lullabies (and runo songs in general) of the earlier era. The most typical melody lines of Setu lullabies range in the ascending pitch diatonically 2-3 basic tones higher, the higher supporting tone is a minor third, but the intonation of the third might be indistinct and vary within a song. More common is the use of a tone lower than the basic tone (sub-third or sub-fourth). Another feature typical of lullabies is the undulating melody turns (there is always a change to the third, often in even larger intervals). In the preface of the collection the authors emphasise that the rhythm of lullabies is determined by rocking movements, and support the assumption by H. Tampere that the more varied rhythm of lullabies must be connected with the use of pole-cradles5: the Setus hardly ever used cradles on rockers. This apparently refers to the metric phrase pattern with 5-6 stresses, in contrast to the more common pattern of 4 stresses (in rare cases, though); and also the occurrence of punctuated rhythm and melismatic phrases. In Setu lullabies one metrical unit is composed of a shorter and longer note (the longer may in turn be composed of two notes). The authors also argue that it is a metric pattern typical to other songs that involve moving.

The editors of the publication have coined a new term for lullabies [hällilaul - or 'lulling song' in Estonian], the new abbreviated term being hällitus [without the component 'song'] causing a slight discord in the terminology of Estonian children songs (cf. E. Laugaste)6. It is explained by the fact that in popular terminology lullabies are not sung, but spoken. The popular term suggests that the performance style of some song genres (such as, say, the songs performed by only one singer, without the typical chorus timbre) have been distinguished from'real' singing in chorus. However, according to the authors of the publication the term must also characterize the equal proportion of the song text among other performance elements (rhytmical rocking movements and the corresponding tune, see p. 8).

In speaking of lullabies we are inevitably faced with the issue of adequacy, as the material has been collected at a staged performance event. The editors claim that a large bulk of hand-written song material and sound recordings collected since 1913 do not contain all the characteristic elements of the typical forms of lullabies (melody, rhythm, lyrics).In earlier cultural layers the specific melodies and words were apparently substituted with others, depending on the mood of the performer or children, but at the same time the indistinctness of generic boundaries is characteristic to the period of gaps in tradition (see p. 9). The publication reveals that Setu lullabies have remained relatively stable during the 100-year collection period. The songs have more or less retained their aforementioned characteristics, and the texts collected during the second half of the 20th century are also still relatively long (up to 20-30 verse lines) and contain various traditional motifs, some of them created or modified by the given performer. The informants of the 1990s are representatives of the oldest generation, and it is reasonable to assume that the tradition of lullabies is undergoing major changes, just like the polyphonic Setu choir song, where melodic peculiarities are becoming more even and are substituted with major-minor forms, polyphony sounds functionally harmonious, texts are becoming shorter and changing, the younger generation is ignorant of several earlier song types and are unable to learn traditional variation methods.

The collection «The Setu Lullabies» provides a relatively thorough overview of a specific song type of a music culture that could be considered archaic in the European context. In the future printed music might be complemented by an audio edition of the collection(s).


  1. Rüütel, Ingrid. Mustjala regiviiside tüpoloogia. (Typology of Mustjala runo-tunes) V. Sarv (ed.), Ars Musicae Popularis [1].
    Pino, Veera; Sarv, Vaike. Setu surnuitkud 1, 2. (The Setu death dirges 1, 2) I. Rüütel (ed.), Ars Musicae Popularis [2, 3]. Tallinn 1981, 1982.
    Vissel, Anu. Eesti karjaselaulud 1-4 (Setu karjaselaulud; Võrumaa ja Tartumaa karjaselaulud; Mulgimaa karjaselaulud; Põhja- ja Lääne-Eesti karjaselaulud). (Estonian herding songs 1-4) I. Rüütel (ed.), Ars Musicae Popularis [4; 7; 9; 11]. Tallinn 1982; 1988; 1990; 1992.
    Salve, Kristi; Sarv, Vaike. Setu lauludega muinasjutud. (Setu folk tales with songs) I. Rüütel (ed.), Ars Musicae Popularis [5]. Tallinn 1987.
    Liimets, Airi. Viiulipalade muusikaline vorm eesti rahvatraditsioonis. (The musical structure of the fiddle tunes in the Estonian folk tradition) I. Rüütel (ed.), Ars Musicae Popularis [6]. Tallinn 1987.
    Salve, Kristi; Rüütel, Ingrid. Põhja-Tartumaa regilaulud I. Töö- ja tavandilaulud. (Northern Tartumaa runo songs I. Work and ceremonial songs) A. Vissel (ed.), Ars Musicae Popularis [8]. Tallinn 1989.
    Silvet, Heikki. Ob-Ugric Instrumental Music 1. (Hanti Melodies Played on the Lyre.) I. Rüütel (ed.), Ars Musicae Popularis [10]. Tallinn 1991.
    Rüütel, Ingrid. Istoritsheskie plasty estonskoi narodnoi pesni v kontekste etnitsheskikh otnoshenii. Ars Musicae Popularis 12. Tallinn 1994.
  2. The tradition of death-dirges is unique in Estonia: the material collected from other regions of Estonia contains only fragmentary variants. At the same time, motifs typical to death dirges occur in Estonian runo songs, which suggests that the song type was relatively well-known in Estonia. Ballads are also confined strictly to the Setu region, largely exemplifying a unique Balto-Finnic-Baltic typological layer.
  3. Tampere, H. Eesti rahvalaule viisidega I. Tallinn 1956, p. 47; Sarv, V. Vidy setuskikh pritshitanii i ih muzykalnyje osobennosti - Muzyka v obrjadah i trudovoi dejatelnosti finno-ugrov. Tallinn 1986, pp. 192, 212 /article on pp. 188-213/.
  4. While the Setu herding songs are predominantly two-lined (the proportion of one-lined songs is 100% - Vissel, A. Estonskije pastusheskie pesni (vidy, regionalnõje i muzykalnyje osobennosti) - Muzyka v obrjadah i trudovoi dejatelnosti finno-ugrov. Tallinn 1986, p. 115 /article on pp.101-119/), in lullabies the percentage is approx. 10% (The Setu Lullabies, p.18).
  5. Tampere, H. Eesti rahvalaule viisidega III. Tallinn 1958, p. 141.
  6. Laugaste, E. Vanhat virolaiset alkusoinnuliset tuuditus- ja kehtolaulut. - Sampo ei sanoja puutu. Kalevalaseuran vuosikirja 54. Porvoo-Helsinki 1974, pp. 205-217.

Janika Oras

Gillian Bennett Alas, Poor Ghost! Traditions of Belief in Story and Discourse. Logan, Utah 1999: Utah State University Press, 223 pp.

Book The work in question consists of a preface setting forth its structure and how it came to be, five extensive chapters and thorough appendixes providing information on methods of collection, the transcription of texts, linguistic peculiarities, narrative patterns and the personal data of narrators. The chapters provide a more detailed account of the historical, psychological and literary aspects of folk belief, which is above all concerned with contacts between the living and the dead.

The author of the book argues that folk belief has undergone extensive transformations today. Its several motifs and topics are employed in television, motion pictures, literature, etc, bringing traditional material into conformity with the (presumed) tastes of the audience. Thus folk belief might seem to have been reduced to the level of commerciality and fiction. At the same time people still experience the unexplainable and seek for solutions from the supernatural world. G. Bennett claims that even today many believe in poltergeists, ghosts and genii, and their belief does not differ significantly from the popular beliefs of the 16th and 17th centuries. This assumption, however, is not consistent with the author's previous ideas on the transformation of folklore. Nevertheless, the main point is that, contrary to the speculations of several authors based on their notions of an increasingly rationalised world, people still believe in supernatural creatures and life after death, and this belief lives on in various forms. The author also gives a thorough overview of earlier research in this field.

The book is based on a survey conducted among elderly English women on whether and how it is possible to communicate with one's deceased relatives. The source material for the research originates in the 1980s, when G. Bennett interviewed the customers in her father's pedicure clinic in Manchester. Of the collected material the research is based on the responses of 87 women. In addition to statistical data, the research includes a thorough psychological analysis and draws parallels with traditional concepts, also shedding light on the advantages and disadvantages of different surveying techniques. Bennett points out that directly formulated questions are often misleading, as people tend to answer them negatively, which does not necessarily reflect their real disposition. The author emphasises that she managed to create a comfortable conversational atmosphere only after she had adopted the terminology used by her respondents - for example, she soon discovered that the words 'ghost' and 'spirit' are associated with dreadful contacts, whereas a request to tell something of 'the mysterious side of life' sounds more neutral and inspires an open discussion of several unexplainable incidents. The author also notes that first she had attempted to ask very specific questions about the possibility of the communication between the living and the dead, but during the process she had realised that starting with less delicate topics, such as omens, dreams and horoscopes, proved more effective. This extra material later proved invaluable for understanding the broader context of the study.

G. Bennett's method for ascertaining the relations of beliefs and narratives is intriguing. In the course of the research she tried to produce a situation where people would have been provoked to assess the possibility of the contacts between the living and the dead. It soon turned out that people whose attitude towards the matter was positive replied in a narrative form, even if they had not been asked to do so. G. Bennett also discusses the issues of categorisation and terminology. She considers the term memorate to be the most suitable of the terms presently in use, and uses it to refer to narratives in which the narrator or her closest relatives are either protagonists or eyewitnesses. The author points out that after a supernatural incident is narrated by the person who experienced it, it becomes a part of cultural processes. Audience expectation exerts its influence on the narrative, and the result is that both the experience as well as its verbal transference in narrative form are to some extent subject to social stereotypes. G. Bennett maintains that established stereotypes help to attribute meaning to the otherwise insignificant incident and bring an individual experience into conformity with its cultural surroundings, but these stereotypes also determine how popular conceptions are used to satisfy personal needs. In order to interpret responses, the changes that occur during the harmonisation of texts must be considered. A narrator, for example, might tell a story of an encounter with her deceased relative and say it happened in a dream, while on another occasion claim it was a real or almost real meeting.

The author argues that such stories help us to ascertain what people believe in, as memorates are less affected by literary and folkloric stereotypes than myths, for instance. Bennett refers to an interesting tendency in the world view of the respondents: the women of Manchester were extremely open to beliefs about omens, telepathy and posthumous visitations, while their view of astrology and fortune-telling was much more sceptical. The author explains their preferences with the fact that the respondents were mostly elderly women who live relatively strict social roles. According to this model, a woman must be attentive, unselfish and independent: this idealistic disposition excludes fortune telling and astrology, as an interest in these subjects requires intellectuality and personal initiative. At the same time, the perception of the presence of the deceased relatives expresses enough intuition and independence to conform to the role. Nevertheless, G. Bennett seems to have overrated the significance of role in the development of the religious conceptions of a woman. Much more plausible is the argument offered below, that a belief in the presence of a lost relative helps a person to overcome grief and pain and offers a sense of security in the unpredictable world.

Bennett comes to an interesting conclusion, namely that the belief in the return of a dead relative does not become stronger with age or in connection with widowing, but rather with as a result of social values as such. Women who obviously valued their family and friends tended to have experienced more such incidents. Narrators told their stories to express their belief or disbelief, although belief was more common. Based on this assumption, G. Bennett treats the religious phenomena using the terms tradition of belief and tradition of disbelief. The latter attempts to explain mysterious incidents through the influence of alcohol, imagination, stress, psychosis, etc. This argument was supported by several women in Manchester. At the same time, the more prevalent tradition of belief employs evidence based on personal experience or that of close relatives. Narrators also point out that even religion supports the idea of the soul's existence after a person's death. Bennett argues that the traditions of belief and disbelief represent two opposing points of view, and neither is 'better' or less 'superstitious' than the other. The author also makes generalisations on the basis of the structural qualities of the material. Their notions on cause and effect, purpose and discipline continued to recur in each narrative these women told of their good deceased relatives. Bennett finds them so inseparable from traditional patterns of thought that they determine the way the experience is formulated into a narrative. In narrating the posthumous visits of their deceased relatives, the majority of respondents used a combination of five components: next to the comments marking the introduction and conclusion, three central elements were used. The introduction provided information regarding the mental (and also physical) health of the protagonist and introduced the scene; it was followed by the event and a conclusion or outcome. The degree of thoroughness and duration of the narrative event varied in different components.

The third chapter of the book is the result of the author's collaboration with her daughter, a psychologist by occupation, and is part of an extensive project on the lives of widows, conducted in the Widow's Club in Leicester. G. Bennett added a question about «sensing the continued presence of the deceased» to the survey, as this phenomenon is extremely common for people in the initial phase of mourning. The invaluable textual samples suggest that the presence of the deceased could be perceived as a slight sensation, but also as physical contact: the respondents could smell their husband's cigarettes, feel their touch, hear coughing, etc. The author points out that none of the women mentioned such legend motifs as haunting graveyards, crossroads or haunting animals. Rather surprisingly, half of the respondents believed in the existence of ghosts, poltergeists, or other unfriendly creatures, but were reluctant to discuss this matter: the whole recording period resulted in just seven complete stories. In contrast to the unpleasant incidents mentioned above, the visits of those close and dear to one are expected and hoped for. In some cases the appearance of the deceased proves to be a turning point for the mourner, giving her strength to go on with her life and overcome numbness.

The fourth chapter returns to the material collected in Manchester, and its analysis explains how personal experience transforms into a narrative, often becoming a philosophical argument between the narrator and an imaginary opponent. The author finds that the observation of the style of narrative performance is indispensable to gaining an understanding of the real 'meaning' of the stories. In order better to achieve that, the author separates the narratives into episodes and analyses the more important ones in greater detail. Finally, the author views the collected material against a broader background and draws parallels from literature and the history of folkloric science. Analysing Hamlet's father's ghost she also describes the historical background at the time the tragedy was written, the debate between the Protestant and Catholic communities about the possibility of communication between the living and the dead. The Protestants maintained that there are no such things as ghosts rambling around on the face of earth, as the souls of the deceased will go directly to heaven or hell. To refute this argument the Catholics referred to the popular heritage about the visitations of ghosts and deceased relatives, which in a broader sense would also have proved the existence of purgatory (from where else could the spirits return to the world of the living?). The refuting arguments of the Protestants began to form a tradition of disbelief. Hamlet's father's ghost, however, differs from the ghosts described in the popular heritage in that it is first and foremost a fictional character; in the present study the example is relevant only in that it also involves the posthumous appearance of a deceased relative. But while Hamlet's main problem was his ignorance of the ghost's status, the women who participated in Bennett's survey were truly aware of the identity of the characters in their memorates, and had no doubts whatsoever in that respect.

The author describes the development of the tradition of belief and disbelief using the example of a poltergeist incident well known in 18th-century London. She also gives an account of the famous debate between the folklorists Andrew Lang and Edward Clodd in the late 19th century, as it illustrates the strategies and arguments of the representatives of these traditions most expressively. In the final conclusion of the debate Lang stated that rationalists are as 'unprofessional' as believers, since their theory has also been established on the basis of incorrect conclusions due to prejudice and narrowness of mind. G. Bennett therefore concludes that in analysing folkloric material, folklore researchers should for the sake of objectivity stand aloof of personal emotions and evaluations as much as possible. At another point she realises that the experience of «perceiving the posthumous presence» is certainly more comprehensible to those who have lost a close relative. Thus she does not determine the extent to which the retention of a neutral bystander is possible (or necessary).

Then the author observes the development and alterations of popular conceptions about ghosts on the basis of a narrative type called «The Vanishing Hitchhiker», which is one of the most popular modern ghost stories. Bennett assumes that the archetype of the phantom hitchhiker is relatively recent, although it has roots in earlier tradition. Most of the phantoms in the narrative type mentioned are apparitions of victims of road casualties or violent acts. Bennett points out that the modern narratives fail to determine where the ghosts come from. As the notions of heaven, hell and purgatory are rather distant for modern conceptions, the issue of their 'home' remains unsolved, and is most often not even mentioned. And as everything valuable and interesting for a rational person is in this world (and the notion of paradise, which in the Middle Ages was a tremendous stimulus, has lost its significance), then any kind of death seems violent as it tears the person away from all thinkable goods. The author considers this change of perspective due to the different concept of death to be one of the most important qualities that distinguishes the modern tradition from the earlier heritage. Once we reconsider the arguments posed in the beginning of the book, where several of the respondents regarded death as a natural part of God's righteous ways, we will realise that such conceptual change is not absolute. In conclusion the author emphasises, however, the consistency of tradition, maintaining that the modest and observing ghosts of modern narrative tradition resemble the concepts of the ghost in earlier heritage in their justified appearance, awareness of worldly events and ability to help beloved relatives.

Reet Hiiemäe, Tartu

Astrid Tuisk Eesti kultuur võõrsil. Loode-Venemaa ja Siberi asundused (Estonian Culture Abroad. Estonian Settlements in Northwestern Russia and Siberia). Tartu 1998. 228 pp.

Book During the 19th and early 20th century nearly two hundred thousand people emigrated from Estonia in search of better living conditions. As a result nearly one sixth of the Estonian population settled outside its established borders. The majority of the emigrants left for the East, i.e. for Russia, where land, the peasant's dream, was cheap, and everyone could become a landlord. The emigration resulted in numerous Estonian settlements, where Estonian culture was held in esteem and the Estonian language spoken. Most of the settlements have been preserved till the present day, but over the decades they have undergone major changes, as the neighbouring peoples and natural environment have had their own effect on daily culture as well as on language.

Several researchers home and abroad have demonstrated interest towards life in the settlements. During the last couple of decades several expeditions to the Estonians in Russia have been made by ethnologists/ folklorists, geographers and linguists. Up to the present day researchers in different fields had no knowledge of each other's work. In Autumn 1997 they finally came together for an interdisciplinary scientific conference to introduce their work to others and learn of other research in the field. The conference materials have been gathered together in the collection «Estonian Culture Abroad: Estonian Settlements in Northwestern Russia and Siberia,» the authors of which include researchers not only from Estonia, but also from Russia, Latvia and Sweden. The following is a brief survey of the collection.

The collection consists of a preface, 11 scientific articles, an index of references, a resume in English and Russian and an index of place-names. The articles have been divided into three groups by subject: 1) emigration from Estonia, 2) settlements in northwest Russia, 3) settlements in Siberia.

The group involved with emigration contains two articles. An article by Raimo Raag entitled «A brief look at the formation of the Estonian settlements in Russia» observes the formation and development of Estonian settlement in Russia up to the year 1917, distinguishing between two subsequent periods in the formation of the settlement: 1) the early period, concerning emigration to the regions closer to Estonia (before the 19th century), 2) the later period (19th and 20th century, which affected great numbers of people and took the Estonians further into Russia: Siberia, the Crimea, the Caucasus.) Even though the article focuses on the story of emigration, it makes a slight reference also to the life of emigrants in their new country. Here the author describes the Estonian community in St. Petersburg, its education and culture.

Tiit Rosenberg draws interesting parallels between the emigrations of the Estonians and their neighbouring peoples in his article «Emigration from Estonia in the 19th and Early 20th Century: Background and Parallels with Neighbouring Peoples». In the introductory section the author focuses on the emigration movement in Europe during the period 1850 - 1914, establishing an international context for the wave of emigrants from the east and north coasts of the Baltic Sea. Then the author observed the emigration of the Estonians and neighbouring peoples such as the Finns, Latvians and Lithuanians. The author points out similarities between Estonia and Latvia on the one hand, and Lithuania and Finland on the other: emigration from the first two countries was strongly agrarian by nature, as the main objective of the emigrants was to obtain land and become a landlord, and also continental: the emigrants set a course for Russia. Emigration from the other two countries was, in contrast, directed towards towns and overseas countries.

The set of articles about the settlements in northwestern Russia is introduced by an article by Marina Zassetskaja, an ethnologist from St. Petersburg, entitled «On the Formation of the Group of Estonian Emigrants in St. Petersburg (An Attempt to Periodise the Emigration of the Estonians to the St. Petersburg district)». The author discusses the emigration of the Estonians and the formation of permanent settlement in the St. Peterburg district, dividing it into four stages: 1) the period of chaotic resettlement (14th century -1740s), 2) organised migration (1744 - 1861, the formation of urban dispersion), 3) the post-abolition [of slavery] migration (1861 - 1906), 4) the Stolypin period (1906 - 1914/17). M. Zassetskaja indicates the factors which compared to other regions were most favourable in the St. Petersburg district, and helped the emigrants to adapt to the new surroundings: 1) the small geographical distance from Estonia, 2) similar climatic conditions, 2) similar historical progress, 4) kindred peoples (the small Finno-Ugric peoples), 5) the local Lutheran church which is traditional for Estonians.

The article «Popular Research in Ingria and on the Other Side of Lake Peipus during World War II» by Ott Kurs gives an overview of the registration of ethnic minorities in northwestern Russia by German occupation forces during WW II, recording information also from the local Estonians. The study group registered 6125 Estonians in the six districts on the other side of Lake Peipus, of whom 4309 were questioned. The registration work was carried out by several distinguished Estonian researchers, who accumulated abundant material on the life, heritage, language and mentality of the local Estonians.

A local historical article by Richard Kääri «Cultural Life in Nurmekund» describes the development of one of the largest Estonian settlements in Russia since its formation in 1885. It provides an overview of the attempt to preserve Estonian culture and mentality, the economic aspect of the settlement, its reception in publications printed in Estonia and contacts between the homeland and the settlement.

The first article on the Estonian settlements in Siberia, «The Formation of Calendrical Rites among the Siberian Estonians» by Mall Hiiemäe, illustrates the maintenance and alteration of elements of tradition in the culture of settlements. The author points out factors affecting the development of cultural phenomena. Heritage is alive due to the emigrants' need to preserve their identity, as well as the traditional ways of living. Calendrical rites were gradually perishing because of different climatic-meteorological conditions in the new homeland, and as regards popular holidays, the tradition has been affected by the unevenness of public calendars: the holidays in Evangelical and Orthodox church calendars are celebrated at different times. The article views the holidays of the Estonian popular calendar (Shrove Tuesday, Lady Day, Easter, Whitsuntide, Christmas, etc.) in light of the factors mentioned above.

In his article «On the Importance of the Mother Tongue in the Ethnic Identity of the Siberian Estonians» Aivar Jürgenson observes the processes manifest in the language usage of the Siberian Estonians: language as a means to unite the group and separate it from others, on the example of the Siberian Estonians; the changes in the ethnic-linguistic situation during the course of a century; different manifestations of linguistic loyalty and the role of mixed marriage in language usage. The Russian language has become increasingly important in the language usage of the Siberian Estonians, which will inevitably lead to their linguistic assimilation with the Russians.

In her article «The Vocal Culture of the Siberian Estonians», Anu Korb, an Estonian researcher, who has visited the Siberian Estonians probably most frequently and has gathered and published material on heritage from a few dozen Estonian villages in Siberia, focuses on the processes manifest in the vocal tradition of the Estonians settled in the Tomsk, Kemerovo and Omsk oblasts in Krasnoyarski region. It gives an overview of the vocal repertoire of the Siberian Estonians and its variety in other settlements. The vocal culture of the Siberian Estonians contains ancient Estonian folk songs brought along from Estonia and passed on from generation to generation, but also more recent songs from Estonia, which provides evidence of the prolific cultural contacts between the homeland and its settlements. People also sing Russian songs, learnt from the local Russian population. The importance of the Estonian songs has been preserved mostly in domestic spheres. The author notes that even though the vocal culture of the Siberian Estonians has been alive for several decades, the overall culture is on the verge of perishing.

In his article «The 1974 Field Work in the Estonian Villages in Omsk Oblast», Edgar Saar describes his expedition to the Estonian settlements in Western Siberia some 25 years ago, where he recorded the material culture, history of settlement and folklore of the local Estonians.

Igor Tõnurist introduces the musical traditions of Estonians in Russia in his article «The Estonian Musicians from the Other Side of Lake Peipus to Siberia». From the very beginning the main musical instruments in the settlements have been the zither, violin and concertina. Thus the tradition adopted in Estonia has been passed on abroad. The repertoire also originates from Estonia, and has been preserved over several decades. In time, the traditional Estonian repertoire has been complemented with instrumental pieces borrowed from other peoples, mostly the Russians. Interestingly, the Estonian tradition has also exerted its own influence: in some regions the Russian population has started to play on traditionally Estonian musical instruments.

The article by Ell Vahtramäe entitled «Sky letters in the Estonian Settlements in Siberia» is just another example of a cultural phenomenon being brought to another country by emigrants and its preservation in a foreign environment. The article outlines the essence and distribution of sky letters in Europe and their distribution in Estonia during the 18th century. Sky letters, which were popular among the Estonian emigrants in Siberia, were written in Estonian directly after leaving the homeland and imitated the versions known also in Estonia. Nowadays the sky letters formerly written in Estonian have partly been substituted with letters written in Russian: which is typical also to other cultural phenomena of emigrants, as is suggested by the collection in question.

Aivar Jürgenson, Tallinn