May 9, 2008


Watched "The Singing Revolution" last night. What started out as a weak, PBS-style documentary swiftly turned into a powerful recounting of a powerful story: the independence movement of the Estonian nation, the annual singing festival Laulupidu, and the peaceful break with the Soviet Union. Very moving and highly recommended.

On a personal note, the film includes lengthy interview from Mart Laar, who I worked with throughout Ukraine. He truly is an inspiring man and it was nice to finally get the back story of the brave work he accomplished in his own country. Watching the film, I discovered that Mart was my age when he became Prime Minister of Estonia (!)

The song festival occurs every summer (July) and I am now keen to make it there one of these years. I love folk songs of any nation, and when song en masse in Estonian the music is neither creepy nor totalitarian--only peaceful and beautiful. In lieu of the film's official trailer, which you can see at, here's a clip from the singing festival itself (thanks to Estonian Television. Ltd.). The song is Ilus Maa which means simply "beautiful land".

P.S. Isn't the Estonian flag fantastic? Blue, black, and white.

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