top of page

Folklore festival Skamba skamba kankliai took place throughout the capital city

Just like every year, during the last week of May, Vilnius was bustling with the international folklore festival Skamba skamba kankliai, which has been taking place for half a century. The festival attracts a large number of followers of authentic folklore traditions, both from Lithuania and from abroad.

This year, the festival’s guests had the opportunity to see performances by Lithuanian and foreign folklore groups, hear sutartinės, participate in the festival’s film screenings, the folk arts and traditional crafts fair, creative workshops, learn about the customs and traditions of the festival’s foreign guests, and join in the action themselves by singing and dancing together with the entire folklore community.

“A diamond in the panorama of Lithuania’s cultural events” – these are the words of the Lithuanian Vice-Minister of Culture, Vygintas Gasparavičius, who also attended the festival.

This year’s festival was dedicated to the 600th anniversary of the restoration of the region of Sudovia. The festival symbolically opened with the scientific-practical symposium “Sudovia in historical and cultural contexts”. During the “Pasidainavimų vakaras”, the courtyard of the Adomas Mickevičius Public Library was filled with the rhythm of communion between people and nations.

This year, traditional music enthusiasts were delighted by performances by collectives from foreign countries: Latvia, Poland, Greece, Norway, Ireland. However, the hearts of listeners were touched most by the songs performed by the Ukrainian folklore group Babskij kozachok, who performed not only in concerts, but also outside the official programme, during improvised singing get-togethers with folklore enthusiasts.

The Ukraine support concert “Už jūsų ir mūsų laisvę” [For Your Freedom and Ours] was a testament to the music of the community of nations. The guests of the festival gathered at the Church of St. Catherine to not only enjoy the folklore music of various nations, but also to express their support for their Ukrainian brothers and sisters.

The Bernardine Gardens resonated with authentic sutartinės music. At the end of all the ensembles’ programme, participants and spectators came to the foot of Gediminas Hill, where a performance involving all of the participants took place.

The hardiest stayed up late for the energetic “Night Dances” and “Ethnic Culture Night”, with the most enthusiastic dancers only winding down at 6 o'clock in the morning. The festival’s folklore ensembles were worthy of admiration as they were not afraid of either rain or wind, and on Sunday archaic songs sounded throughout the Old Town of Vilnius.

During the festival there was traditional crafts fair that included folk artists, culinary heritage, and creative workshops.

There was no shortage of activities for families and the youngest participants of the festival. The Bernardine Garden was full of children’s games and laughter. The children’s folk festival “Saulytė” invited young and old to sing, play, and dance; children’s folklore ensembles performed songs and dances; craft workshops and games took place; and many other activities were held for the littlest folklore enthusiasts.

The four-day festival was crowned with the final concert “Po mano langu beržai žaliavo” and the Procession of festival participants from Town Hall Square to the Bernardine Garden. The closing speech of the festival was delivered by Sandra Daugirdienė, Director of the Vilnius Ethnic Culture Centre.

Skamba skamba kankliai is an event that unites and brings together all folklorists and allows us to enjoy our national heritage, which we can be truly proud of. Next year let us meet to celebrate the 50th anniversary of this unique phenomenon of Lithuanian national heritage.

Photos of the festival:

bottom of page