If language is a cultural construct that allows we humans to process and communicate ideas and thoughts, then music is the medium that enables us to share our hearts and souls with each other. In fact, one school of thought about the emergence of music is that it helps humans coordinate their emotions! The origins of music are a mystery, as it pre-dates history, but its a safe bet that the earliest music served as a means of bonding for the same people who painted hunting scenes on the walls of caves, and began to bury their dead. And to this day, music serves as a sound track to almost all of our life passages, from lullabies to dirges, and accompanies activities ranging from football games to weddings, coronations and military funerals. While music we've never heard before can evoke a visceral response, the music that is most meaningful to us is that which conjures associations, memories, nostalgia, longings, patriotism...and a sense of belonging. Whatever our cultural background, and wherever our home, chances are there is music that can bring us there. discovering the music of other people is a profound way to connect with the essence of what others hold dear.
Meet Kaie Tanner, an Estonian choral conductor and manager, who offers an up close & personal view of the role of music in Estonian culture, and what its like to lead a choir of thousands! Expressing their national identity through song has been an Estonian tradition for as long as memory serves–-the Estonian Literature Museum contains more than 1.5 million pages of folk songs and there are continual competitions and festivals around the country. The country’s “choir culture” is flourishing, with music continuing to serve as the force that unites Estonians as they enter the third decade of their fledgling democracy.
Let Srbuhi Martirosyan of Sasounik Armenia move you with a heartfelt plea for Armenian diaspora to return home. Today there are 7 million Armenians in diaspora and only 3 million living in their native land. Listen to this folk song named "Tatrakik," written by Hayrik Ghazaryan, and feel the music in your soul.
Make a sightseeing circuit around Estonia’s biggest island of Saaremaa! Visit the ruins of a Maasi fortress; Karja Church, famous for its Middle Age decorative elements; five Angla windmills; spa town of Kuressaare. Connect with the area’s history though a moving account of a celebration of Estonia’s independence from the Soviet Union at St. Peter’s Church in Kaarma.
Tartu is Estonia's 'Culture Capital' and home to one of Northern Europe's oldest universities and the country's Song Festival Museum. Meet Uku and Kadi and let them guide you through the University of Tartu's 19th century Lock-Up, the Estonian National Awakening and insight into roots of Estonia's choral culture.
Fascinated by the world's cultural traditions? The Seto people are an ethnic minority whose land spans the southeastern Estonia and Russian borders. The Seto have incredibly rich customs that include brightly-patterned costumes, elaborate wedding traditions, their very own 'Kingdom' and spectacular festivals. Yet being a border culture presents complex challenges. Expand your horizons and learn about the Seto!
Could your sense of play use a boost? Meet the elderly women of an Estonian Seto choir and get your groove back! Leelo singing is a tradition of the Seto people, an ethnic minority of southeastern Estonia. The members of the Leiko choir share their time-honored traditions of improvisational music, elaborate jewelry and costumes, and how to rock out on a giant swing!
Irma Thomas is known as the "Soul Queen of New Orleans." This Irma Thomas Interview sheds light on her love of her hometown Nawlins and Gospel music, and reveals her surprising start in the music business, the impact of Katrina, and what it was like to be the Queen of the Krewe du Vieux during Carnival.
Enjoy folk and ethnic music? Click video link to listen to the traditional sounds of the Seto people of southeastern Estonia! Their leelo singing is an ancient polyphonic style of music that is part of Estonian heritage and has been recognized by UNESCO as an item of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. Sung largely by female choirs in a type of 'call and response' style, many of the songs involve constant improvisation.Enjoy BCD’s photo montage accompanied by music of the Seto Women’s Choir from the village of Varska.
Catch a rehearsal by a youth group preparing for a concert at the Merida Music Museum. This Yucatecan piece is conducted by José Luis Chan Sabido, Director General y Artístico de la Vienna Music & Art Academy-Yucatán. Mérida is the vibrant capital of the Yucatán and has a rich Mayan and colonial heritage.
Learn about traditional Azorean music, its chief instrument the Viola de Terra, and Rafael's role in reviving Azorean roots music, almost extinguished by Fascism. Get a glimpse of the history behind the music's diversity and improvisation, and the faith & festivals of the Azorean lifestyle.