Votian and Ingrian songs were sung already at the beginning of the Estonian folklore movement by the folk group “Hellero”. The children of the singers who formed “Väike Hellero” on 1994 have continued this tradition. Major motivation for concentrating on Votian songs came on 2003–2004 from a Votian project supported by the Kindred People’s Program and aimed at helping the folk group of Jõgõperä school to learn Votian language and songs. Janika Oras chose the songs that the girls of “Väike Hellero” learned and that were also sent to Jõgõperä. On the summer of 2004 “Väike Hellero” sang these songs with Jõgõperä children’s group “Linnut”, together they performed at Luuditsa village festival. In addition to Votian songs, the singers of “Väike Hellero” have been inspired by Ingrian recordings from the beginning of 20th century, where traditional collective singing of the women can be heard. Three Votian and Ingrian songs are represented on the group’s album “Mis maksab muaobonõ”.

Folklore ensembles Väike Hellero and Linnut performing at a festival in Luuditsa village. Photo: M. Arukask, 2004 (from the personal collection of Madis Arukask).

On years 2010–2013 Janika Oras and Leanne Barbo (singer of „Väike Hellero“ and master’s student in EAMT / University of Tartu Viljandi Culture Academy) taught Votian songs and dances to locals at Votian language courses in Jõgõperä village in Votia. The courses were carried out by the researcher of Votian language, docent in the University of Tartu Heinike Heinsoo, and organized by the Finnish Ingrian Cultural Society (Inkerin kulttuuriseura). Leanne Barbo has included Votian songs to the repertoire of Estonian-Livonian folk group “Tai-tai”.*

As a traditional music lecturer at the Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre, Janika Oras has taught the Votian and Ingrian songs to the students of EAMT. On 2012 with the support from the Kindred People’s Program, the students together with Ergo-Hart Västrik went to collect songs from Votians and Ingrians and performed with Dmitri Harakka-Zaitsev from the folk group “Talomerkit” at the Ingrian festival in Viistina. One of the songs learned from the singers of the folk group „Šoikkulan laulut“ has been included to this website. From the graduates of EAMT, Timo Kalmu and Mari Kalkun are performing on this website. A Votian song performed by Mari can be found on the album of her Estonian-Finnish folk group “Runorun”, released on 2015.

This web edition is in some ways a summary of all the activities of the friends of Votian–Ingrian songs mentioned above, done by “Väike Hellero”, or during EAMT lectures and Jõgõperä language courses.