Vilnius University Folkore Ensemble "Ratilio" was founded in 1968. The name "Ratilio" (pronounced [rʌti'lo:]) doesn't have a certain meaning, although it occurs in some Lithuanian folk songs and is derived from the word "ratas", meaning "circle, wheel".
Young people studying various subjects - philology, physics, medicine, biology, mathematics, etc. - take part in the ensemble's activities. At present, there are more than 30 people in this ensemble.
Songs, dances, and round dances are learned from folklore collections and from compatriots met during annual folklore expeditions.
One can listen to ancient music instruments such as ragai (horns), daudytė, skudučiai (pan-pipes) and kanklės (a type of nine to five-stringed zither). A special part of their program is formed by the archaic Lithuanian folklore genre of multipart harmonious singing the “sutartinė” (which was added by the UNESCO to the list of intangible cultural heritage in 2010).
In 1980, their first record was made, entitled “Lietuva - dainų kraštas” (“Lithuania Country of Songs”). A second release was recorded in 1987. In 1990 an audiocassette and in 2002 a 2-CD album was made.
Vilnius University Folk Ensemble Ratilio gives performances during national or university events, and visits different towns of Lithuania. Throughout the 45-year-old history performances have also been held in Italy, the USA, Canada, Latvia, Poland, France, Russia, Finland, Sweden, Switzerland, Germany, the Czech Republic etc.
The ensemble has been awarded a traditional Lithuanian award "Aukso paukštė" in the nomination of the Best Youth Folk Ensemble of 2010.
In 2013 we celebrated our 45th anniversary and have released a new 2-CD album of folk songs and instrumental music.