Trys Keturiose by Maarten Mooijman

concert photo Maarten Mooijman

Daiva Vyčinienė
Daina Norvaišytė
Eglė Sereičikienė
Rima Visackienė
Audronė Žilinskienė

at Sint Willibrordkerk at Utrecht – the Netherlands
Europe Festival Utrecht day 3: Nordic Night by RASA

The Lithuanian tradition of women singing together has been all but lost. Daiva Vyčinienė started the polyphonic ensemble Trys Keturiose, which combines slow, intertwining melodies with stately dance movements.

Since 1981, Trys Keturiose have specialized in performing original Lithuanian polyphonic songs Sutartinės, which stand out among the rest of Lithuanian folklore due to their heavy use of seconds, entwined voices, accentuated rhythmical pattern, and the simultaneous sound of two different texts (main and chorus). All these qualities of polyphonic songs require extraordinary concord of performers, a habit of singing together or “sutarimas” (the name Sutartinės was derived from verb “sutarti”– to agree, to accord). Thus, it is not by accident that Sutartinės have always been sung in small groups (2, 3 or 4 women). Nowadays, the tradition of singing Sutartinės in the rural regions Lithuania is dead but various traditional groups from the city uphold the tradition.

The group‘s leader is Dr. Daiva Račiūnaitė-Vyčinienė, known as the “the queen of sutartinės.“ For over 20 years, she has worked on performing Sutartinės songs and reconstructing the melodies that are held in archives. However, the singers do not aim to copy the archival recordings but to create their own sound and provide the old songs with modern meaning.

Trys Keturiose (three of four) are chorus words, which playfully reflect a fluctuating number of performers in the group (sometimes there are three and sometimes there are four singers or three singers permanent and the fourth changes).