A new verse in the Song Festival

The Baltic Times, TALLINN
Jul 08, 1999
By Kairi Kurm

About every 10th Estonian took part in the 23rd Estonian Song Festival on July 3 and 4. Song festivals only come around every five years so few wanted to miss this.

Every Song Festival must have a dance festival. When 7,000 dancers turned the stage into a map of Estonia the stage seemed almost as crowded and packed as the stadium’s 11,000 seats, which were almost all filled.

According to Anu Tali, one of the most popular composers in Estonia, there is a simple explanation why everyone did not attend, money.

For some the answer is simpler, the folk tradition just is not for them.

“Who wants to listen to the boring songs and sit on the Song Festival grounds if the sun is shining on top of your head?” asked Businessman Rein Lang. “You can take your beer in a much more pleasant environment.”

But the pessimism has yet to hit the performers, 1,500 of whom came from abroad for the festival.

Estonian President Lennart Meri explained that although it is popular to say song festivals are not popular any more, they are still related to the heart, like the language, mind and love.

Tiit, one of the performers at the Song Festival has been giving thought to how to keep the sentiment filled holiday alive. He believes one of the recent changes, the addition of classical music is a step in the right direction.

“The professional singers and orchestras performing on the first day of the festival give more value to the festival. People can hear something new besides the traditional songs, something that is performed in the concert halls.”

Source:  http://www.baltictimes.com/news/articles/2392/

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