Recordings from the Estonian Folklore Archives 3

Mari Sarv

Mari Sarv chatting with Greete Jents in her yard in 1961. Photo by R. Hansen. ERA, Foto 5694.

The last carriers of the regilaul singing traditions in the once very rich region of Mulgimaa were the singers of Karksi Parish recorded in the 1960’s. Mari Sarv (1884–1977) was a singer as well as a collector of folk traditions. She began sending the notes that she made to the Estonian Folklore Archives after she had seen an appeal in the newspaper in 1930 and became one of the archive’s best correspondents. Mari Sarv learned her songs in her youth when she lived at home with her family, who were farm hands on the Karksi estate. There were lots of children and young people there. They sang as they tended the herds, they held many dance parties, and they listened to old women singing the older songs at the swing and the midsummer bonfires. Mari studied to be an artisan. She married Anton Sarv and lived in the town of Nuia. Mari Sarv’s songs have been recorded on many occasions starting in 1935 onto wax cylinders and later onto records. Later in the 1960’s and 1970’s here songs were recorded on tape. Her singing style was unusually slow and full of embellishments. Her speech was slow and thoughtful as well.