Recordings from the Estonian Folklore Archives 3

Minna Kokk

Minna Kokk in 1967. Photo by H. Tampere. ERA, Foto 8369.

It was in 1957 that Minna Kokk (1892–1971), a very knowledgeable person about old customs in Hargla Parish, was visited for the first time in the village of Mõniste by one of the expeditions from the folklore archives. Her songs were also recorded in 1965. Minna loved her songs and in her own words could sing “millions” of rhymed folksongs and explained how she was constantly singing as she tended the herds. She was a bit reluctant, however, to sing the regilaul songs she had learned from her mother to the collectors – she did not feel that the tunes were pretty enough. She had witnessed the singing of wedding songs when she was a girl and when she sang these during the recording session she would turn her body from side to side with her hands on her hips as had been the custom in Mõniste. Minna had lived in poverty. However, the talkative woman, who had a passion for reading, worked for the local papers. After her first contact with the folklorists she started to write down the many songs and stories she had in her memory and sent them to the archives.