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Suiti music

Due to very conservative nature of the Suiti community, it was not just different traditions and superstitions, that survived until very late in this society. Same also applied to performing of traditional music. Still in the 1930s, it was possible to find here skilled kokle (a string instrument) players. Also playing of bagpipes was still practised, as was playing on animal horns. Some people still today know how to make pipes and trumpets out of materials available in the forest.

Trideksnis is another traditional musical instrument worth mentioning. It was used to provide necessary rhythm during singing and dancing. Trideksnis is a very old instrument. It was usually made of an iron bar with a wooden handle, to which small copper plates were attached to provide jingling sound. This instrument was as a rule played by women.

According to many written sources, bagpipes have been a common musical instrument in Latvia in the 16th century. But it is generally assumed, that they have been played also much earlier. Bags were made of a skin of a young goat or a lamb, which was turned inside out. The end was tied up in the way as sacks usually are closed. One leg was used for supplying the air through a blowstick, the other leg was used to hold a chanter pipe with 4 – 7 holes toproduce a melody. The remaining two legs were used to hold drone pipes. Often only one drone pipe was used to create a long drone sound. Bagpipes were a very popular instrument in weddings and other public gatherings. They were played both alone and in combination with other musical instruments, such as kokles, trumpets, animal horns and violins. Bagpipes often were used to play dancing music.

In Latvia, the golden age of bagpipes came in the 17th and 18th century. But in the Suiti community it lasted much longer, than in the rest of the country.