‘Song of Freedom’ heads to Tallinn

  • 2011-08-17
  • By Laurence Boyce

THE SINGING REVOLUTION: Twenty years later this momentous event will be celebrated at Tallinn Song Festival Grounds, where artists from across Europe will perform.

TALLINN - If there is going to be any way that Estonia will celebrate its independence, it will be by song.  After all, it was the Singing Revolution that led to Estonia gaining its official freedom from Soviet rule in 1991. Now, to celebrate 20 years since that momentous day, the Song of Freedom will head to the Tallinn Song Festival Grounds on Aug. 20.

Estonian artists, including Justament, Riho Sibul, Mari Kalkun, Dago, Vaiko Eplik, Jaak Johanson, Malcolm Lincoln, Iiris, Chalice and Ewert & the Two Dragons will all be on hand to celebrate. “I don’t doubt that all of the musicians taking part in the ‘Song of Freedom’ are at their freest when they’re expressing and performing their thoughts and feelings in song,” said Chalice, a.k.a. Jarek Kasar. “Freedom is having the opportunity to do that - true freedom is being able to enjoy it.”

This will not just be a chance for Estonian artists to commemorate history, but also those from other countries who have supported Estonia throughout its long struggle. “This year we’ve asked foreign artists to join us in marking this special day, all of them like-minded in their way,” explained Helen Sildna, chief organizer of the concert. “Estonia has long had a place in their hearts and minds, and freedom is something they all hold in very high regard.”  Included in the line-up is Sinead O’Connor, whose eagerly awaited concert at the Rock Summer festival in 1990 was cancelled for political reasons, Sami revolutionary Mari Boine from Norway, whose timeless and traditional yoik has won Estonian audiences over in the past, much-loved Finnish artist Kimmo Pohjonen, who will bring greetings from Tallinn’s sister Capital of Culture, Turku, and take to the stage not only with his trademark accordion but also with Finnish pro wrestlers and an orchestra, and one of the biggest and most successful pop/rock bands in Latvia, Brainstorm. Also appearing for the first time in a long time on home soil will be Estonia’s international singing sensation Kerli.

However, as the Song of Freedom publicity makes clear, the biggest act of the entire day will be the Estonian audience. As they and their families did years before, they will come together to sing as one whilst remembering the past and looking forward to the future.

“20 years ago our parents and our grandparents stood up and said: now we take the reins again, because that’s the way it should be. And there were countries back then who were unafraid to support us and unafraid to recognize the restoration of our independence. We know what freedom is now, so we’re saying thank you for that – a generation that’s grown up in a free country,” said Jaanus Rohumaa, program manager with the Tallinn 2011 foundation and the man behind ‘Song of Freedom.’

Midnight will also mark the start of a day of celebrations throughout Tallinn dedicated to Iceland. Concert venues around the city and Islandi valjak (Iceland Square) will play host to a wide range of Icelandic singers and groups, and there will also be exhibitions, a film screening and an Icelandic food market. The day is being organized by the state and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as a thank you to Iceland for being the first country to recognize the restoration of Estonia’s independence in 1991.
The gates will open at the Song Festival Grounds at 17:00, with the concert beginning at 18:30 and carrying on until midnight. It will be broadcast live on ETV. Admission is free.

Details of the ‘Song of Freedom’ program and performers, as well as information on Iceland Day are available online at www.20.ee.