Prussian Lithuanian songs in exile

Prussian Lithuanian songs in exile

Dr. J. Balys, the most prominent Lithuanian folklorist of the 20th century, following his emigration to the USA in 1948 after World War II, continued his activities there. In the autumn of 1949, as he wrote himself, he toured all over the Lithuanian communities of the city of Chicago, where he managed to find a couple of melodious singers from Klaipėda: Gertrūda Lacytienė (1894-?) and Martynas Lacytis (1896-1978). He recorded 44 songs of those singers on magnetic tapes, which he called ‘ribbons’, and published them in the Lietuvių dainos Amerikoje (Lithuanian Songs in America) (1958, 1977) selections in Boston.

The repertoire of Lacytienė is rich and abundant, not losing ground to the repertoire of other well-known singers from Klaipėda: A. Mažeiva and M. Klingerienė. Lacytis was a public figure in Klaipėda region, a professional musician and educator. His singing style is influenced by the canons of professional choral music.

The activities of M. Jankus, the Patriarch of Lithuania Minor, were taken over and continued by his eldest daughter Elzė Jankutė (1894-1985). She was not only the key helping hand in managing her father’s estate but also a supporter of the national patriotic activities of M. Jankus, as well as a folklore collector and provider. Following her emigration to Canada after World War II, she continued to be actively engaged in national patriotic activities there.

In 1971 in Canada, the Rūtų vainikas (A Garland of Rue) audio record was released that included the following songs performed by E. Jankutė: Negi rūstas augau, Labs ryts, labs vakars, Ei, žirge žirgeli mano.