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[*] posted on 7-9-2013 at 02:22 PM
Introduction and Table of Contents

Folksongs of the Wends in Upper and Lower Lusatia

In the Lillie Moerbe Caldwell Library at the Texas Wendish History Museum in Serbin is a rather large orange book called “Volkslieder der Sorben in der Ober-und Niederlausitz” or in English, “Folksongs of the Wends in Upper and Lower Lusatia.” This book is a collection of over 500 folksongs, legends and tales compiled by Leopold Haupt and Jan Arnost Smoler in 1841 and 1843 and republished in 1953 and 1992. It was a gift to the museum by Gertrude Mahling.

The book is arranged with Wendish and German texts and the melodic score to almost every song. The Wendish Research Exchange has undertaken the project of getting these Wendish foksongs, legends and tales translated into English and music created for each song for which there is a musical score. The words have been translated into English prose by Joel and Nancy Meador, Margot Hendricks, H. Melvin Symmank, John Buerfeind, and Ed Bernthal. The musical mp3 files were created by Mel Schiwart.

As you read these translations I want you to know that we would love to turn them into poetry. Our initial effort has been to translate accurately the sentiment involved so:

1. We will know what songs are worth expanding on and which ones aren't. This is sort of like mining for gold, we have to dig through a lot of "dirt" to find the golden nuggets or priceless gems.

2. If there are songs worth expanding on then maybe some young Wendish or "un-Wendish" poet somewhere would change them from prose to poetry.

As you read these songs, you may be touched by the hopes, tragedy, or remorse that you experience. What we have here may be accurately summed up as the "Wendish Blues."

The songs fall into different categories or genre. There are two books of songs within the one volume which for simplicity purposes I will call Book A and Book B. Book A songs have an "A" before the number of the song and Book B songs have a "B" before the number of the song.

Book A is composed as follows:

1. Feldlieder - Field songs - Song 1-149
2. Gesetzschen - Rules - Song 150-175
3. Tanzlieder - Dance Songs - Songs 176-241
4. Rundgesaenge - Rounds - Song 242-255
5. Hochzeitlieder - Marriage songs - Song 256-276
6. Bittlieder - Prayers - Song 277-279
7. Legenden - Stories - Song 280-294
8. Anhang - Appendix - Song 295-331

Book B is composed as follows:

1. Feldlieder - Field songs - Song 1-110
2. Tanzlieder - Dance Songs - Song 111-165
3. Angesänge oder Zarathungen - Chants - Song 166-173
4. Hochzeitlieder - Marriage songs - Song 174-194
5. Legenden - Stories - Song 195-200
6. Anhang - Appendix - found in another section of the Forum under Wendish Folklore and Customs

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