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Seems I have an archaic 5 string kankle, and so there are some notes which I cannot get on the kankle because there aren’t enough strings. This has now caused me to lust for more kankles, a possible 9 string – so that I can have a complete octave plus a drone string. But I digress.

I had my first lesson and I am hooked. I learned how to tune my kankle and how to properly pluck it. The ladies in the prior lesson learned how to play “Twinkle Twinkle” on their kankle/kannel/kantele/kokle and it was decided we should try doing a simple song from the Baltic Region, so we learned this one:

Puhu tuul ja tõuka paati, aja Kuramaale mind!
Kura ema oma tütre lubas kodukanaks mull’!
Lubas küll, ei annud aga, nimetas mind joomariks!
Nimetas, et purjus pääga varsa sõitnud vaeseks ma.
Kus ma joonud kõrtsi kuivaks? Varsa vaevand millise?
Oma raha eest ma joonud, sõitnud oma varsaga.
Puhu, tuul, ja tõuka paati, aja Kuramaale mind!
Kura ema oma tütre lubas kodukanaks mull’!

We learned how to pluck for the first line, which is: CGEDCFAAGDEFGCFEDC

I believe the song is Estonian.

It is quite lovely and quite haunting, listening to it on the kankle. Unfortunately I do not have an A strong on my instrument, so I have to hum that note.

The location of the lesson was at an estonian lady’s house – all very warm and welcoming, with a lot of good natured teasing and plenty of Baltic pastries. It fulfilled many needs I have – a desire how to play a kankle, and the missing sense of Baltic commraderie that I haven’t felt for a very long time, and I crave very much.

On the way home the lady who taught us, Dace (who I met years ago) and I were discussing each of our respective communities (mine Lithuanian, her’s Latvian) and how we wish there wasn’t as much of a schlaeger-tarnish to the diaspora’s celebrations to our festivals. She invited to celebrate Jani (Latvian Summer Solstice) near Montreal. I am quite tempted, though it depends on when since I will be sliced open in mid-June.

I want more – more kankle lessons, more immersion into my Baltic culture.

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