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Sutaras – The WONDERS of the BEGGAR’S KINGDOM

Sutaras. Lithuanian folk music band

KUKU SMF 049, 2012

This CD is dedicated to all those who have nothing to eat today, do not know where they will sleep, clothe themselves with what they find in the street and live in uncertainty about what tomorrow will bring. That is: beggars, refugees, slaves, hostages, those who have been displaced, swindled, and unwelcomed in Europe…Africa…America…those who live in the Beggars’ Kingdom.

Fate likes to play tricks, and who knows? Perhaps tomorrow fate will hand you a bindle as well. We do not wish you this, but when reading these lines remember that several hundred people in this world will die from hunger, forced labor, and shortages. Poverty and despair begin where marble glistens and gold bullions reign supreme. These riches are often piled on dry bones by those same hands, which, having nothing to hold on to, have swallowed human pride and reach out asking for water or bread…Yet the true beggar is not he who has nothing, but he who is a beggar in his spirit! Hence, we hope that you will come to understand the difference between a beggar, a vagabond and a robber.

Included in the booklet of this CD is an excerpt from the work of historian PhD. Rima Praspaliauskienė titled Unnecessary and Dangerous: Beggars, Vagabonds and Robbers in the end of 18th-the first half of 19th century in Lithuania (Vilnius, Zara Publishing 2000). Therein the author traces the origins of the appearance of beggars in Europe and Lithuania, their ways of life, and the perspective of society towards people living in such conditions of need.

In the article “Never Relinquish the Beggar’s Stick” ethnologist Gražina Kadžytė discusses the figure of the beggar in folklore, and analyzes the links with historical wizards and fortunetellers. The beggar is God’s messenger – a life teacher to whom one must listen, offer aid, and not shun since life is full of twists and turns, and you may end up in the beggar’s shoes…

In the article “Songs of Cross-dressing Beggars/ Hymns of Samogitian Carnival,” PhD Lina Petrošienė provides information about the musical repertoire of beggars that was sung during various calendar festivals and rituals. She discusses the types of songs, their origins, paths of diffusion, and their influences.

With these songs and hymns we wanted to show the beggars’ problems, worldview and relationship with their surroundings and colleagues. We do not aim to replicate the repertoire of the past with the same tempos, timbres and intonations. Instead, we allow ourselves to sing and play the songs as they would sound today, thereby demonstrating the relevance, inventiveness, universality and improvisational potential of this repertoire.


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