The Songs of Old Europe—Ancient Belarusian Folk Songs is a feature-length documentary by Seattle-based Belarusian filmmaker Volya Dzemka. Drenched with both vocal and instrumental folk music, the film is an engaging introduction to Belarusian language, folklore, geography, and history. In the West, quite little is known about Belarus (not Belorussia); it is mostly perceived as a small post-Soviet country. In light of recent political protests against the current President Lukashenko's despotic regime, which has been rolling across Belarus since August 2020, the global media has shown more interest in this terra incognita of modern Europe. The Songs of Old Europe, one of the first English-language documentaries about Belarusian folklore, offers a glimpse into the traditional musical culture of Belarus.

The film begins with a 5-minute-long animated history of Belarus, from 30,000 BC to present day. Through the narration, we learn about the impacts of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania,...

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