Blow, Winds

Taken literally, “Pūt vējiņi” (“Blow, winds”) could be a sentimental folk song about the defiance of reckless rake whose beloved’s mother had broken a promise to give her daughter’s hand in marriage because he drank and raced horses. (“I drank on my own tab / And raced my own horse.  // And married my own bride / Without her parents’ knowledge.” (See translations.) But his longing to return home, as well as the reverend way that Latvians started to sing it made it a surrogate national anthem, sung during times of oppression, when something more provocative such as Dievs, sveti Latviju!(“God, Bless Latvia!”) would have elicited harsh reprisal from authorities. Here it is as sung at the closing concert of the 2008 Latvian song and dance festival (Dziesmusvētki):

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