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Music of Lithuania

Lithuania has a long history of unique polyphonic music played on flutes, zithers and other instruments. Traditional songs called dainos are the most prominent folk music of Lithuania. They vary widely across the country, which is the largest of the Baltic states. Most popularly, Aukštaitija in northeastern Lithuania is known for sutartines music.

Kankles, Lithuanian zithers, are popular to accompany sutartines polkas, quadrilles and waltzes. They also accompany rateliai music and dance, alongside a kind of whistle called lamzdeliai, fiddles and a three-stringed bass guitar called basetle.

Perhaps the most important Lithuanian group is Skriaudžiai kankles, formed in 1906. 1924 saw the first Dainu Sventes, song festivals which were state-supported and helped to keep folk traditions alive. The 1960s saw people rebelling against these Soviet-controlled traditions, and led a roots revival that soon led to celebrations of Lithuanian identity in festivals and celebrations.