New video: Kaj ti je, deklica?


Recently, we were tasked with selecting and adapting several folk songs for a national holiday celebration. Soon afterwards, we adapted a popular traditional song, Kaj ti je, deklica? (What’s the Matter, Little Girl?), for a play.

These unexpected encounters with traditional music coincided with a resurgence of nationalism and traditionalism in international politics. As you know, glorifying the 'good old days' has become somewhat of a fad: the US administration has set about making America 'great again', political movements in the UK aim to restore the country to its 'former glory', the EU has recently appointed a commissioner tasked with protecting the 'European Way of Life', and so forth.

This indiscriminate enthusiasm for the past was slightly at odds with the somewhat gloomy disposition of the songs we were reviewing. Despite being the very embodiment of tradition, these songs were clearly unimpressed by the 'good old days'. Their protagonists were, more often than not, impressively miserable. They were plagued by wars, haunted by the memory of prematurely deceased lovers, and beleaguered by poverty, sadness, and loneliness. Even when the lyrics were cheerful, the music would often drift toward unrepentant melancholy.

As it turned out, listening to traditional songs is a surprisingly effective remedy for nostalgia.

Barbara Predan