Posted by: awildslimalien | April 22, 2010

Dūdieviņš (Grey wagtail)

Grey wagtail

Imants Kalniņš – Dūdieviņš

When he’s not being urban, our friend Kevin globetrots, and recently posted this late 1960s or early 1970s tune from Latvia.

‘Kalniņš is particularly fascinating. As is often the case, he is a massive and symbolic figure in Latvia. And yet I only came across his name by chance when I stumbled across the song Dūdieviņš (which apparently translates as grey wagtail) on YouTube. It’s an astonishingly beautiful and haunting number in a kind of off-kilter psych/folk vein (and I’m trying not to mention Broadcast but …). I assumed at the time Imants Kalniņš was the singer, but it is apparently Nora Bumbiere (again).’ – from From The Hip In The Cyrillic Script

The words were written by Latvian poet Vizma Belševica in 1969.  YouTube viewers suggest that they concern a girl praying to a minor deity in the form of a bird for rain to wash away her bitterness or melancholy.

Photo of grey wagtail in Belgium by Luc Viatour from


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