Recordings from the Estonian Folklore Archives 3

Helmi Vill

Helmi Vill with her grandchild in 1965. Photo by H. Tampere. ERA, Foto 7553.

Helmi Vill’s (1904–1973) birthplace was in the village of Mõisamäe in the community of Vana-Antsla, Karula Parish. It is here that she learned the regilaul songs from her (paternal) grandmother Triina Hermann, who was a well-known wedding singer. Altogether Helmi knew 15 different songs. Her daughter Ene wrote them down and submitted them to the archives in 1956. In 1957 and 1965 her songs were recorded. At that time she was mistress at a farm in the village of Säre in Urvaste Parish. She raised five children. The folklore collectors have described Helmi as a terribly shy woman. The old regilaul had to have been particularly dear to Helmi because, even though Triina Hermann’s other grandchildren had learned songs from their grandmother, none of the others were able to remember nearly as many complete variants of the regilaul songs as she did.