Pradžia / Garsas / Sound

ESATIS album review. „Vanduo. Molis. Medis“ – representation of deepness of Lithuanian culture

Lithuanian together with Latvian and Old Prussian are the oldest languages in the Indo-European world. Despite the fact that Lithuanians didn’t find yet whole set of old runes, manuscripts or other written documents in Old Lithuanian, this culture is very rich in its songs and traditions. Lithuanian song is the best written and audio- document that represents melancholic and philosophical side of 4,5 million (2,89 million in Lithuania) people, who can call themselves Lithuanians. ESATIS (being, das Sein) takes a deep voyage into Lithuanian ethno/world/neofolk music and uses only Lithuanian folklore songs for this wonderful album.

Mindaugas Peleckis
2016 m. Sausio 10 d., 12:01
Skaityta: 357 k.
ESATIS album review. „Vanduo. Molis. Medis“ – representation of deepness of Lithuanian culture

It seemed the band appeared from nowhere (geographically, from Klaipėda, Lithuanian port near Baltic Sea) – just one day I’ve heard one of their songs, then the other, and now we already have probably the first Lithuanian CD released in 2016 (Dangus, CD).

It takes 50 minutes to listen to 10 songs and compositions of “Vanduo. Molis. Medis” (Water. Clay. Wood) which are named and sung only in Lithuanian:

1     Vanduo. Molis. Medis     
2     Ir Išėjo     
3     Leidos Saulelė     
4     Šaltinis     
5     Šiltkeliu Pančiuotas     
6     Gale Lauko Vienasėdis     
7     Liūsta Mano Širdelė     
8     Žalioj Girioj     
9     Bebalsis     
10     Sulig Saule

I won’t translate the names of the songs (maybe some), you can try to do it yourself (it's not so easy, the names are not trivial) and maybe learn Lithuanian.

Instrumental “Žalioj Girioj” (“In the green woods”; another instrumental is “Vanduo. Molis. Medis”) begins with terrific guitar reminding Paco de Lucía and continues into the last composition “Sulig Saule”(“Big as the sun”; this combination of two instrumentals coming as one is really good) with progressive rock-like composition which combines folk/world and rock music, and here I must say that album is very rich in instruments.

Donatas Bielkauskas (one of the best Lithuanian composers known for many projects – Donis, d.n.s., Wejdas, Gyvata, Tabalai etc.) plays hammered dulcimer, duduk, lumzdelis, birbynė (folk wind instruments), guitar, accordion, jew harp, electronic instruments, field recordings (brook and rain), woodstock chimes, clay whistle. The album was recorded in Donatas’ mobile ethnic music studio ( He created music of songs No. 1, 2, 4, 5, 7, 8. This year Donatas as Donis will also release his new album.

Donatas Bielkauskas (left) and Viktoras Rubežas

Songs No. 1, 3, 6, 9, 10 are created by Viktoras Rubežas, another mastermind of ESATIS. He plays percussion (bendir, tabl, taârija, guedra, qraqeb, jambe, tarbuka), guitar, clay jug, also sings.

The voice of woman in the songs belongs to Elena Trečiokaitė. Mantas Remesa plays guitar, Paulius Stonkus – bass guitar.

Mastering was made by Kristijonas Lučinskas very well known as Driezhas (he is also one of the best Lithuanian composers), design – by GyS (Gytis Skudžinskas, also a great composer, designer and photographer). The design is very nice, made of old Lithuanian signs of being and eternity.

So, as we see, Lithuanian folklore here becomes something that is not only unique but also can be global (using of “exotic” percussion instruments shows us ESATIS’ philosophy of being). Let’s look what ESATIS’ fb page says:

Esatis is a music band conveying the idea of here and now, it embraces old Lithuanian folk traditions, language and worldview of various music genres. The band was formed in 2015 Klaipėda, Lithuania. The band's core members are the locally well-known ethno, electronic and experimental music author Donatas Bielkauskas (Donis) and the percussionist and drummer Viktoras Rubežas. Later the concept was enriched by the singer Elena Trečiokaitė, the bass player Paulius Stonkus and the guitarist Mentas Remesa. With its brave experiments and combination of various musical styles, composers refer themselves as performers of World music genre which like nothing else acquires the power to reveal old folk musical traditions and their modern interpretation.

The word “estis” is used in famous philosophical treatise “Consciousness” (“Sąmonė”) by Lithuanian philosopher Vydūnas (Vilius Storostas (1868–1953). This word was created by Vydūnas who used his own writing system and created his own words. He explained “estis” as everything that is above the material world. Philosopher Romualdas Ozolas (1939–2015) wrote that “esatis” means human being as somebody who is created. Also, one can find similarity to Hindu concept samadhi.

My last words here would be simple as being itself: ESATIS’ album was probably the most awaited album of mine whole year, and it didn’t disappoint. The best Lithuanian neofolk with philosophical background, melancholic deepness and very professional musicians. A real treasure.