Two silvery strings from the past sounding again

From 1875–1886, Jakob Hurt, who was the initiator of the first major campaign of collecting Estonian folklore, managed to publish only the first two volumes of the Vana Kannel („The Old Kannel”) series (songs of Põlva and Kolga-Jaani). Hurt’s next publication was Setukeste laulud („The Songs of the Seto People”) (I–III, 1904–1907). Hurt’s scientific principle has remained basic for the later publishers of Estonian folk songs. Herbert Tampere brought out „The Songs of Kuusalu” (1935) and „The Songs of Karksi” (1941). In the 1960s and 1970s the publication of the series ceased to be an effort of lone enthusiasts, becoming topical for the cultural public sphere at large. Joint efforts were undertaken to solve the relevant theoretical and practical problems. Nevertheless, for different reasons the publication of Estonian runo songs was delayed for decades. The fifth volume (Mustjala) was issued in 1985, followed by the songs of Haljala (1989), Kihnu (1997 and 2003), Jõhvi and Iisaku (1999), Lüganuse (2009), and now Paide and Anna (2012).
     Research policy has never really favoured monumental text publications. Once again we have to decide what next. Electronic databases of folklore have deprived Vana Kannel of its major function as a research source. Vana Kannel has remained a publication that supports local identity by integrating traditional culture, the person carrying the tradition, and the locality. What matters is the number of people interested. Maybe Vana Kannel had better prospects if it were designed for a slightly different audience?