Moving between Latin America and Europe, Lithuanian DJ and a translator Eglė Naujokaitytė thrives in the colours of Mexico City, but longs for the “deep spirit” of Lithuanian forests.
We followed Eglė’s visit in Paris and Lithuania, where we spoke about dance music, her multiple careers, and what it means to be ‘from everywhere’.
Colours (Spalvos) is a documentary series by LRT.lt exploring the colourful lifestyles of Lithuanians across the world.
When DJing in Lithuania, Eglė used to be annoyed at people not dancing to her music. It is better now, she says, people are starting to “get this kind of music more”.
Meanwhile in Mexico City, where she lives now, “people still don’t know how to dance”.
“They can dance to salsa and such, move their asses a lot, but lack a sense of groove,” she says.
Eglė’s parents were diplomats and took a post in Venezuea when she was still very young. “I learned Spanish in approximately two months,” she says. “I never felt as a foreigner, always attended Spanish-speaking schools. All my friends were locals.”
It was more difficult to adapt to life back in a grey apartment block in Vilnius where Eglė returned when she was 14.
“My teenage years in Justiniškės were terrible. I felt so bad after all those years in colourful Latin America,” she says.
“I felt completely out of place and everybody tried to put me down. People would constantly ask me – why are you so happy, what’s going on with you? Until I became quite unhappy.”
After graduating from school, she moved to Berlin and from there, back to Latin America. “I really love Lithuania and so on. But truly, their [Lithuanians’] mentality is very boxed,” Naujokaitytė believes.
‘Bourgeois’ is another way how she would describe it.
“Maybe it was always like that, even before the Soviets it was the thing, that bourgeois culture,” she says. “I mean, it’s all fine, bourgeois culture can be even good if some sort of intelligentsia emerges from it. When it leads somewhere, but not towards elitism, pragmatism and total materialism.”
The Lithuania she feels attached to may be fictional, she admits, like the one from the 1970s film The Devil’s Bride.
“For me, that movie is a true representation of the Lithuanian spirit, but probably by now Lithuania is pretty far from that concept,” she says.
“Still, there are many places that evoke romantic feelings in me. The seaside, Užupis, some parts of Kaunas.”
“I believe that Lithuania has a very deep spirit, it’s everywhere, especially in the forests. You can really feel there are spirits there.”
“When I was in Mexico, I would constantly tell people about Lithuanian forests and the way they are,” Eglė says.