Saturday, December 29, 2007

The Singing Revolution

June 2006 - Travel Diary

I stood with friends on the Song Festival Grounds at Tallinn, Estonia and felt that subtle thrruuumb one feels in sacred space. I am sensitive to music and have sung in various choirs and groups for most of my life, so I put it down to that. Then our guide told us the story of this place, and I understood why I had such a powerful feeling as I stood on top of that hill and looked into the natural bowl shape of the Song Festival grounds, a place which had always had it's own kind of power, and which - when the need came - would become a seething, musical cauldron for change.

We saw the place when it was empty and quiet. Imagine what it must be liked when it's filled with thousands of people, all singing together....and in this case, if you were a Soviet official, singing at you....


It was called The Singing Revolution and a documentary film has just hit a few little art houses - Catch it if you can.

Tallinn is a lovely city, with warm summers and mild winters, just on the edge of the Baltic sea. It is even more lovely now that the masses of hastly built, and hideous concrete buildings put up by the Soviets are coming down and buildings more suited to the landscape are going up in their place.

Estonians are great hikers and birders and since they live in a country with such an abundance of natural beauty, one can see why.

If you ever find yourself in Tallinn's Old Town, feed the little, one eyed black cat that lives in the medieval towers at the Viru Gate, and don't forget to visit the Festival Grounds and give a thought for those brave souls who sang their way to freedom.



Song Festival - Estonia

The Singing Revolution - A Short History

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