The Estonia′s Friends International Meeting

The Estonia′s Friends International Meeting is a joint initiative launched by Enterprise Estonia, business tycoon Mr Margus Reinsalu and President of Estonia Mr Toomas Hendrik Ilves to thank and recognize business, political and cultural figures whose actions and advice have helped Estonia to become a truly European country with a dynamic economy and thriving culture.

Estonia´s Friends International Meeting was held in August 2010 in Tallinn, right before the anniversary of Estonian re-independence. Intended as a gesture of appreciation and marketing event, the event featured a brainstorming session on choices that lie ahead for Estonia. Participants got acquainted with Estonian culture. The friends of Estonia were hosted by President Toomas Hendrik Ilves, Prime Minister Andrus Ansip, Enterprise Estonia Chairman of the Board Ülari Alamets, and businessman and honorary counsel of Morocco in Estonia Margus Reinsalu. Former prime minister Mart Laar will serve as Tallinn Old Town tour guide.

The group of 40 people visited the Birgitta Festival in the seaside Pirita district and the Oandu watermill in Lahemaa National Park. On 20 August, the participants joined in the festivities marking Restoration of Indpendence Day. The invitee list was the product of dozens of suggestions from people from the political, cultural and business arena. Among other distinguished quests there was former president of Latvia Vaira Vīķe-Freiberga, CEO of Pagani supercars Horacio Pagani, politician and former rally driver Ari Vatanen. The organizers hope that it will become an annual summer tradition.

Video from the event:

Holidays are coming…

Dear friends,
Thank your for your support and happy upcoming holidays! :)
We have a wish for 2010 – Let`s make our online communities even more popular and introduce Estonian singing and dancing tradition to the rest of the world! Help to spread our Twitter (@tobreatheasone), Facebook (www.facebook.com/songcelebration) and blog links.
Thank you again and may your holidays be unforgettable!
Kind regards from Estonian Song and Dance Celebration online team.

Video: Maarja – Täna sajab lund (Today is snowing).

Video of 1933 Song Celebration in Tallinn

90 000 spectators, 16 500 singers. Amazing video. This was the first Estonian Song Celebration that was broadcasted in radio.

One of the oldest choirs in Estonia – Tartu Academic Male choir

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Image via Wikipedia

In 1912 in Tartu, Juhan Simm (1885- 1959) who studied in the University of Tartu, founded a university male choir (now Tartu Academic Male Choir). Almost hundred years old, this choir is still rocks the world with positive energy and wonderful songs.

Juhan was a student and differently from many other fellow students, for whom humming together with fraternity brothers was the end of musical aspirations, his desire was to make beautiful choral music. As a future mathematician, he understood the combination of factors needed to get a combination of pleasant harmony and united singing. Despite the opposition of many students and student associations, a male choir was established in the beginning of 1912 with sufficient number of singers from several student organizations. Success came fast – a complicated repertoire was performed in the first concert some months later… From this point on, a lack of singers was never a problem.

Conductor Simm eventually run out of energy, which he needed to devote to Vanemuise orchestra and conducting several choirs. Therefore, in 1924 a professional singing pedagogue Leenart Neuman took over the conducting of the choir with its almost 100 members.

Which songs do the singers of TAM love to perform? It seems that when singing the softer side of otherwise tough men is revealed. Men love to sing about the sea, storm, pirates and gunmen, but at the same time they are dissatisfied when songs about fatherland and mother tongue are not included in the repertoire. And although not all men have passed philosophy courses at the university, they can nevertheless perform music tackling the eternal themes in Golden Beach, A Song Unsung, and The Singer’s Winter Solitude in an inspiring manner… The songs which are loved throughout times speak about home and fatherland, looking for and finding, love, children, fathers, mothers and ancestors. [Source of the  text: http://tam.eu/en/?cat=24&target=]

Listen/watch them perform “Koit” by Tõnis Mägi.

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First Topless Choir in Estonia and in the World

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In the beginning of November, a new choir that features only topless singers was established in Estonia.

The idea behind new topless choir is to get people more interested in choir singing, explains Peep Kollo, 26 years old choir singer from Vox Populi choir. Women and men are expected to join the new topless choir, but so far mostly men have applied. “We will not perform unless we have more women than men,” so Kollo.

Although new choir will definitely get lots of attention because of the facade, the idea is to make great choir music. Or, as it states on its website:Topless choir is new mixed choir that will rock the world’s choir circuits.

As expected, the organizers of the new topless choir are men. According to official website, they are not nudists, body showers nor perverts, but regular people.

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Tallinn 2011 – stories of the seashore

As you probably already know Tallinn is the European Capital of Culture in 2011. Which means that in 406 days Tallinn begins the largest storytelling event in its history. Writers, musicians, artists and actors will tell, paint, sing and act tales inspired by the sea, speaking of Estonia and its people. The stories will be short and long, modern and ancient, exciting and tragic; most importantly, they will all be genuinely Estonian-like.

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The main theme of Tallinn 2011, “Stories of the Seashore”, encapsulates Estonian history and Tallinn’s physical location next to the sea, which explains Estonia’s rich cultural diversity, contacts and conflicts. The larger theme is also organized into three smaller parts:

1) Stories of singing together;
2) Stories of the living old city;
3) Stories of dreams and surprises.

„Stories of singing together“ describe how we are all changing the world – through democracy, citizenship, community, freedom and traditions. In truth, the song and dance festivals are our biggest stories of all – we are a people of song and dance; we have the ability to come together and unified we are victorious, and we cannot forget that it is through singing that we won our freedom. In addition to the Song and Dance Festivals, music events include the Birgitta Festival and the youth subculture project, AfroReggae.

„Stories of the living old city“ will tell the story of Tallinn as a city where time has never stopped. Every morning, the people – Estonians, Russians, Germans, Finns, ect. – gather here to write a new page in our city’s history. This can be witnessed in the Old Town’s drama festival, Tallinn Teater Treff, which unite representatives of world cultures and will breathe life into the heart of Tallinn’s culture. The „Stories of the living old city“ will also feature interpretive dance with architecture in „Open Spaces Living Art“ and „Tallinn’s Marathon.“

„Stories of Dreams and Surprises“ will speak of a city and country where the internet has been declared a “human right” and which saw what the media named the world’s first Cyberwar. Together we dream of bringing the sea to the city, and we will do just this on Tallinn’s Maritime Days. Also in store is the audiovisual Plektrum Festival and the Student’s Modern Art Trianual Eksperimenta!

You can find more information about Tallinn 2011 here: http://www.tallinn2011.ee/?id=91

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The Woman of the Year in Estonia is Aet Maatee

Federation of Business and Professional Women in Estonia (BPW Estonia) selected Aet Maatee as the Woman of the Year in Estonia. Aet Maatee is the manager of Estonian Song and Dance Celebration Foundation and organized the 2009 Estonian Song and Dance Celebration “To Breathe as One”.

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The Non-profit Making Association BPW Estonia (EENA) has been founded in 1992 with the purpose of encouraging business and professional women and women as leaders to cooperate with each other, change ideas and opinions and to carry out joint programmes together with keeping alive the tradition of club activities. BPW Estonia was admitted into the International Federation in 1993. There are 9 clubs within BPW Estonia with more than 150 members totally.

BPW Estonia and its individual members together with the other associations of women were the ones who launched the discussion concerning the wages for mothers in order to ensure the equality between men and women. A number of members of BPW Estonia have also taken an active part in the projects started by the Round Table of Estonian Women in order to protect the rights of women in labour matters and in cases of domestic violence.

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