Music of the Lusatian Sorbs

If you travel 100 km south-east of Berlin you will come to the unique and original landscape known as the Spreewald. Here the river Spree divides into almost 200 navigable streams, which meander through green pastures and fertile farmland. This beautiful area is home to an ancient slavic people the Sorbs or Wends, who settled in East Germany in the 6th Century. They have maintained their rich variety of traditional folk songs and dances.
The Sorbs, are concentrated in the following areas: 1. Lower Lusatia the area around Cottbus/Chośebuz, 2. Upper Lusatia the area around Bautzen/Budyšin and 3. between them a narrow band around Spremberg/Gródk, numbering together about 60.000 people.
The Sorbs have a long and fascinating history of caring for their musical traditions. In the 17th Century single girls between the ages of 18 and 28 would gather together and spin. They would be under the tuition of a professional singer who would instruct them in all the sorb hymns and folksongs.
As community life began to change, choirs took over the responsibility for maintaining the musical traditions. The first comprehensive collection of Sorb folk songs was published in 1841.
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