An Island of Suiti Culture

In the middle of a rough triangle formed by Ventspils, Kuldīga and Liepāja is an island of Catholicism in the middle of Lutheran Kurzeme. The Suiti people here speak a distinct dialect and stick to their traditions: at least some of the locals show up for Sunday mass in their centuries-old traditional attire, which includes a kind of tartan poncho worn by women over scarlet dresses.

At the very heart of Suiti identity lies singing. What experts call 'many-voiced drone' is interrupted with a kind of rap, in which the soloist satirises those present in the audience for looking untidy, absent-minded or lazy. The text is entirely improvisational.

The capital of the Suiti is Alsunga, which is 12km east of another Suiti village, Jūrkalne, which lies on the main coastal road (P111).