Villem Nõgu

Villem Nõgu with his wife by their house. Photo: H. Tampere 1956. ERA, Foto 2636.

From Villem Nõgu from Ridala village were recorded several soldiers' songs, songs about his life and dance songs. (From the description of the video "Songmakers, singers and instrumentalists"; Rüütel 2014: 28)

We spent half a day at Villem Nõgu's place, but the work was still uncompleted. He knows very many newer songs. Some alliterative songs were also among them. Villem Nõgu speaks in a lively and vivid manner, but it is hard to direct his torrent of speech. He must surely be filmed. By nature, Villem Nõgu is a poet and an artist, who has loved beauty throughout his life. (From the field work diary of O. Kõiva, June 10, 1961; Rüütel 2015: 179)

From Villem Nõgu, a song of transitional form has been recorded – "Mother took the cradle to the meadow", which, according to him, he had heard from an old man. The song consists of parts with totally different origins. The alliterative verses in the song's beginning are based on Miina Härma's song "Childhood of a singer". These are followed by rhymed doggerels in the style of Saaremaa men's songs, the basis of the final verses are local alliterative songs, yet the tune was borrowed from a song "Swing song" ("Brother, dear brother..."), the melody of which had spread with the help of school songbooks. The singer wove together song elements that had been stored in various coffers of his memory, without giving any thought to where they come from and adding parts of his own. The singers of alliterative songs concatenated verses and motifs form various alliterative songs, whereas when making newer songs, people had different sources at their disposal. According to the method of folk song creation, such result is perfectly authentic. (From the chapter "Newer folk songs"; Rüütel 2015: 38)



Villem Nõgu, born 1879, Ridala village [Pöide parish]. Recorded by O. Kõiva, I. Rüütel, filmed by 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