July Folk Music Festival: Viljandi, Estonia

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by HANNAH HORN

With a theme of “sounds good” or paraphrased as “a story behind the tune,” the 2019 Viljandi Folk Music Festival will occur once again on Thursday, July 25th to Sunday, July 28th. 

In the Baltic and Nordic countries, this festival is the most well-known of its kind since the 1990s! This special folk program focuses on promoting the importance of tradition, identity, spiritual values, and lastly, heritage. This event inspires traditions and customs to thrive in its homelands, strengthening the many characters of its visitors and innervating the focus on the lovely musical mother tongue. Many tell personal stories with their songs, which are very meaningful to those who perform and to those who listen. The spirit of the festival is to be cheerful, powerful/passionate, caring, and open to new opportunities. 

Folk music is to be celebrated for four days long with numerous stages holding multiple concerts, workshops, and tons of exhibitions to explore. Without a doubt, the Viljandi Folk Music Festival is a magnificent experience that Estonia offers to the world.  

According to the website for the festival, “A special place in this year’s programme is dedicated to runo-songs. Runo-songs are our most ancient, important and intimate stories. Unfortunately, the message within these songs might be hard to grasp because both our language and surroundings have changed a lot over the years. A really good interpreter is needed to understand those stories, one who has talent and special skills to unravel the complex world of runo-songs in an enthralling way. Luckily we have talented lead singers amongst us, who have all those qualities.”

VHK orkester 6_largeThe artist lineup is incredible. For example, Rasmus Puur and VHK string orchestra consists of 24 students at the Old Town Educational College (Vanalinna Hariduskollegium or VHK for short) which was created in 1996. The youngsters who play in the orchestra are aged 13-19.The VHK string orchestra has already given around 30 concerts this season both in Estonia and abroad.

Here’s a recap of 2018’s Viljandi Folk Music Festival!

We hope you are able to attend this extraordinary folk music festival, and if you have visited in previous years and would like to share your pictures or experience, be sure to comment on this post!

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