August Trei

August Trei. Photo: R. Hansen 1961. ERA, Foto 5561.

The songs by local songmaker Mihkel Trei were very popular in Valjala neighbourhood. His nephew, August Trei, continued the tradition by performing them and sharing memories about him. (From the description of the video "Songmakers, singers and instrumentalists"; Rüütel 2014: 28)

In the evening Juhan Lätt led us to August Trei's place in Haeska village. August Mihkel Trei's nephew. August Trei was also said to be a singer and songmaker. Lätt doubted the man was going to sing for us, for he was of proud disposition. In reality, all went very well. We did not need to plead with him or do a lot of explanatory work. August Trei is really a great singer and joker. When he started to sing, he sounded so loud that our microphone almost broke down. We put four layers of capron stocking over the microphone, and asked the singer to be in one corner of the room, while the tape recorder was in the other, only then it was possible to record the song with a normal volume. At first Trei announced with a lot of laughter that he was going to sing "from underneath his navel", but when he sang into the microphone, he left all the indecent words out. We recorded several Mihkel Trei's songs from him, which were very popular in the neighbourhood. /---/ In the end, A. Trei sang one of his own songs that was about himself. Quite by chance, a man of his age came by the house. Together they sang another local song about Jaani-Tooma farm. It was late, we had to finish, although we could have surely obtained more songs. We agreed to come back Friday evening and left in excellent spirits. We had never heard such a vivid performance of village songs. In Valjala, the tradition of village songs is still very much alive. We did not hear the newest mocking songs, however, since the singers were afraid, we would transmit them on the radio. (From the field work diary of O. Kõiva, June 6, 1961; Rüütel 2015: 175–176)



August Trei, aged 46, Haeska village [Valjala parish]. Recorded and filmed by O. Kõiva, I. Rüütel, R. Hansen in 1961.



Asva village (Pöide)

Audla village (Pöide)

Haeska village (Valjala)

Kalma village (Pöide)

Kiriku village (Valjala)

Kungla village (Valjala)

Kõiguste village (Pöide)

Kõnnu village (Valjala)

Liiva-Putla village (Püha)

Loona village (Püha)

Mässa village (Jämaja)

Orinõmme village (Pöide)

Oti settlement (Pöide)

Pahavalla village (Pöide)

Ridala village (Pöide)

Soonda village (Muhu)


Turja village (Valjala)

Tõnija village (Valjala)

Veere village (Pöide)

Võhma village (Pöide)

Sound recordings


Online edition

Editors Janika Oras, Kadi Sarv
Translation into English Inna Feldbach, Olga Ivaškevitš
Selection of photos Aivo Põlluäär
Project co-ordinator Risto Järv
Web design Lorem Ipsum
Cover photo Ingrid Rüütel 2007 (private collection)

Sponsors of the web publication

Ensemble Trad.Attack!
Ministry of Education and Research (projekt IUT22-4)
The European Union through the European Regional Development Fund (Centre of Excellence in Estonian Studies)
The Cultural Endowment of Estonia


ELM Scholarly Press, 2018
© and ℗ Estonian Literary Museum, 2018
© Ingrid Rüütel
ISBN 978-9949-586-57-8

Online edition is based on

Saaremaa rahvamuusikat ja kombeid /
Traditional Music and Customs of Saaremaa

Collected and compiled by Ingrid Rüütel.
Recordings from the Estonian Folklore Archives 8. Tartu 2014

[CD, DVD and textbook]
Sound production and CD mastering Jaan Tamm
DVD editing and mastering Jaan Kolberg
Editor Janika Oras
Translation into English Inna Feldbach
Design and text book layout Krista Saare
Print Kruuli Trükikoja AS
Replication Baltic Disc AS

Rüütel, Ingrid. Saaremaa laule ja lugusid. Mis on jäänud jälgedesse I
[The Songs and Tales of Saaremaa. What Remains in Our Traces I]

Tartu: ELM Scholarly Press 2015

Editor Asta Niinemets
Music transcription Ingrid Rüütel, Ludmilla Toon, Edna Tuvi
Notation editing Ingrid Rüütel, Edna Tuvi
Sheet music graphics Edna Tuvi
Texts transcription Erna Tampere, Ingrid Rüütel
Dialectic texts editor Ester Kuusik
Translation of summary Inna Feldbach
Layout and design Krista Saare
Print OÜ Greif Trükikoda