XIIIth Youth Song Celebration has ended

The 13th Youth Song and Dance Celebration, which started in the blazing sunshine, reached its final chorus, performed by singers wrapped in raincoats but still wet from the rain. Lit on the shortest night of the year on Lake Viitina, the Song Festival fire in the lighthouse of Tallinn Song Festival Grounds went out at 21.32 last night.

Even the fury that swept over the field around 16:00 could not dampen the serious Song Festival spirit. The downpour hit just as the small children’s choirs had finished their performance. The show was suspended for a while and then the boys’ choirs resumed, inviting the sun to come out again.

This year’s youth celebration took longer than usual to prepare, as the corona crisis meant the event had to be postponed for a year. Pärt Uusberg, artistic director of the Song Festival concert “Holy is the Land”, said the singers were exceptionally well prepared and the choir leaders did an exceptionally good job. “I am very grateful to everyone for surviving the difficult moment when it started to rain today,” he added.

More than 58,000 tickets and invitations were issued, according to provisional figures. According to the latest figures, just over 51 000 audience members attended the event. Tickets continued to be sold even after the first major downpour.

The 13th Tallinn Song Festival was attended by 778 ensembles, 23 139 choristers and orchestra musicians. The choirs and orchestras were led by 657 conductors. There were 362 choirs and 11 900 singers in the opening section and 326 choirs and 10 700 singers in the closing section. The Song and Dance Festival had 31 415 participants.

Pärt Uusberg was the artistic director of the XIII Youth Song Festival. The theme was “Holy is the Land” and Uusberg based the idea for the theme on Hando Runnel’s poem “Light!”.

The next Song and Dance Celebration will take place from 3 to 6 July 2025.

AS Tallinna Vesi

Töötame iga päev selle nimel, et meie klientidele oleks kättesaadav puhas, värske ja tervislik joogivesi ning keskkonnasõbralik reo- ja sademeveeteenus. Meie teenuseid tarbib ligi 500 000 Eesti elanikku ning jätkusuutliku ettevõttena peame väga oluliseks panustada meie kogukonda ja elanike heaolu suurendamisse. Nagu iga aasta, nii ka seekord, paneme oma õla alla Eesti tähtsündmuse laulu- ja tantsupeo korraldamisse – loome võimaluse kõikidele osalistele tarbida mugavalt kvaliteetset ja värsket joogivett. Huvitav fakt: laulu- ja tantsupeo ajal kulub toidu valmistamiseks ja janu kustutamiseks ligi 100 kuupmeetrit vett.
Oled laulu- ja tantsupeole tulemas, siis ära unusta võtta endaga kaasa joogipudelit. Loome puhta veega parema elu!

Vesi on eluks vajalik loodusvara – piiratud ressurss. Me kõik saame anda oma olulise panuse veekasutuse säästmisesse – tarbides vett targalt.
Alusta juba täna!

  • ära lase veel niisama joosta
  • joomiseks tarbi värsket ja tervislikku kraanivett
  • eelista vanniskäimisele dušši
  • kogu sademevett, et kasta kuival perioodil taimi
  • eelista kaugloetavat veearvestit, et tuvastada varjatud veelekkeid
  • kanna hoolt oma kodu vee- ja kanalisatsiooni torustiku eest
  • pese pesu, nõusid, autot, pindasid jne keskkonnasõbralikult
  • aita ka teiste teadlikkust säästlikust veetarbimisest tõsta

Hoidkem ja kaitskem meie elutähtsat loodusvara!

Eesti Gaas

Eesti laulupidu ja Eesti Gaas on kauaaegsed tuttavad. Ning mitte ainult – oleme ka eakaaslased. Esimene laulupidu toimus Tallinnas 1869. aastal. Veel viis aastat varem, 1864. aasta detsembris sai alguse Eesti gaasi ja Eesti Gaasi ajalugu, kui pealinna asuti rajama esimest gaasivabrikut. Gaas on juba üle pooleteise sajandi toonud Eesti inimestele soojust ja valgust. Gaasist süttib ka laulu- ja tantsupeo tuli Tallinna Lauluväljaku ja Kalevi staadioni tornis. Meil on suur au ja rõõm toetada eesti kultuuri tähtsaimat traditsiooni. Head pidu kõigile!

Euroopa roheline pealinn 2023

Nikon

Once again, we are delighted to support the Estonian Song and Dance Celebration. This event is rare not only in its frequency, but also in its scope and significance. It is therefore a great privilege for us to give photographers and filmmakers the opportunity to capture this special event for us, for Estonia and for the world.

Põltsamaa

The Song and Dance Celebration is a holy festival for Estonians. For it to be a success, it is important that the singers and dancers can concentrate on their main task. Põltsamaa will make sure that the stomachs of the party-goers are well-fed and that the young people’s love of song and dance is not dampened. With us, you get the best out of every party!

Balbiino

Marketing Director Anne Tääkre says it is a great pleasure for the ice cream producer to be the ice cream partner of the 2023 Song and Dance Celebration and to delight all the Song and Dance Celebration participants with refreshing desserts during the tiring rehearsal and concert days. Anne Tääkre added that Balbiino’s values are craftsmanship and joy!

“We make ice cream from local cream; we do our work to a masterly standard and the pure joy is what consumers get with our ice cream! These values are also linked to the culture of our Song and Dance Celebration.”

Selver

It’s not just food that people live on, but also curiosity, friendship and the joy of being together. Being and doing together is one of the greatest strengths. Selver, the Estonian grocer, is honoured to be a sponsor of the 2023 Song and Dance Celebration.
Just like our stores, the singers and dancers will come together from every county and together we will create something great and memorable! We will help bring the message of this great event to every corner of Estonia.

ABC Motors

ABC Motors has been a car partner of the Song and Dance Celebration since 2014. As a responsible Estonian company, we consider it important to contribute to both culture and other areas. For example, we are a major sponsor of the Tallinn City Theatre, a car partner of the Estonian Football Association, a car partner of NGO Youth School and have supported the Peetel Church Social Centre for years.

10 choirs and 4 dance groups from abroad hope to participate at the Song and Dance Celebration

Silver Lumi directs the Estonian Children’s Choir in Helsinki with a sense of mission to preserve the culture, that can only be done by actively practicing every day. His choir – 15 children from Estonian families – is coming to the Song Festival for the second time. So will 9 other choirs from different European countries and 4 dance groups from both sides of the Atlantic.

While in the past there have been some “foreign” choirs among the international participants of the Song Festival, this time all of them have Estonian roots, explained Kersti Seitam, the coordinator of the foreign choirs. The Helsinki Children’s Choir is one of them, and according to conductor Silver Lumi, the choir is made up of children with Estonian roots, because the mission of the choir is to preserve the Estonian language and culture.

Lumi explains what it means to him and to the choir: “As my own child sings in this choir, it is a great opportunity and a duty for me as a parent to give her the chance to be part of one of the great events of our culture, which is still quite unique in the world. As our home language here in Finland is Estonian and we identify ourselves as Estonians, it is extremely important that our Estonian heritage is passed on to our children. That is why I cannot limit myself to the idea that my children should be able to take part in such cultural events. It is important to instil in them the idea that one day it will be their turn to keep alive and carry forward everything that I am working for today. Otherwise, everything will fade away. Silently and imperceptibly. And to do that, you have to do more than just hand them a scorebook every Monday and send them off to rehearsal.”

The conductor introduces the children to the Song Festival and talks about the whole journey from the preparation of the repertoire to going home: “I have tried to do it all with great enthusiasm, because the children themselves have no experience of the Song Festival. That’s why they get interested in it, look forward to it very, very much, and get excited about it, mainly on the basis of my stories.”

The challenges of a choirmaster

For every conductor, getting to the Song Festival is a great achievement. Lumi describes his challenges: “First of all, the children in the choir have never been exposed to polyphonic singing before. But this means that a group of singers with a fairly modest level of preparation has to be ready. I have the honour and the responsibility to start introducing children to polyphonic singing. If all goes well, these little singers will one day go on to become adults in amateur and professional choirs. We have created a new chapter in the history of Estonians in Finland by being the first Estonian children’s and youth choir to have passed through a rigorous series of competitions and to have made it to the Song Festival as an independent choir. I am particularly pleased about this.”

For conductor Lumi, there are three major challenges on the way to the Song Festival: “The repertoire – it seems to me that a child living in Finland is not attracted by beautiful and solemn songs about free Estonia. For them, there is no such thematic focus. They don’t know to appreciate freedom and independence yet. But that is certainly not the children’s fault. I think it all starts at home, though – how people talk about Estonia, its people, relations with friends and neighbours. All this cultural background is ultimately formulated in what songs children want to sing – whether about pokemon or something more important. Secondly, children have a much wider choice of hobbies than 30 years ago. If you compare choral singing with any other hobby, you might find yourself thinking that a good choir sound means quite a lot of work and commitment. Nowadays, however, concentrating on something time-consuming is a rather tedious activity. After all, it’s very easy to start a new game on your phone when the last one went wrong, or to abandon a friendship that’s gone sour and hook up with new friends online. The child will choose a hobby where the result is achieved more quickly and with less effort. Thirdly, it is difficult for families to understand the importance of rehearsal. Sometimes children do not come to the rehearsal because they are going to a friend’s birthday party on the only rehearsal day of the week, or because they are attending another event with their family on the same day. Parents may not always fully understand the effort it takes to bring a choir to the Song Festival. The rehearsal is compared to every other event, and then they take part in whichever one seems the most fun at the time. But doing so could, in the worst case, deprive other singers of the chance to enter the Song Festival as well.” 

In addition to a sense of mission, Silver Lumi is motivated by the fact that the choir is one of the most beautiful musical instruments and “playing” it is a great pleasure. He adds: “Through singing in the choir, many new friends have been found before us and will be found after us. I like a German proverb that says: if you hear singing somewhere, go there – there are good people! It’s always nice to be in the company of good people, and it’s great to have a common hobby – music and choir singing.”

Singers and dancers with Estonian roots want to come to the celebration

Choirs from abroad also have to pass auditions to get into the festival. So far, choirs have sent their first videos to the audition committee. In addition to Finland, choirs from Luxembourg, Sweden, Germany and Austria want to take part. Kersti Seitam says that three choirs are coming from both Sweden and Luxembourg: “Anneli Aken has been in charge of these choirs in Luxembourg for many years now and the children have moved from the pre-school choir to the children’s choir and on to the girls’ choir.”

Most of the choirs have already received their first feedback and can start planning their trip and rehearsing to be ready to send recordings of the whole repertoire to the committee in April.

Vaike Rajaste, who is coordinating with the dance groups abroad, says that four dance groups from Latvia, the Netherlands, Belgium and the USA have currently applied to participate. The main challenge for dancers is to put together a complete group, so the inclusion of a new type of family group has helped many. For example, a Dutch women’s group now wants to come to the Dance Festival together with their children. For many Estonians living abroad, creating a dance group and participating in the Dance Festival is a way to maintain and strengthen their ties with Estonia. Rajaste explains: “The language of the dance stadium is Estonian, and without understanding it, the patterns would immediately get mixed up. That’s why we can’t discount anyone, because the dance patterns are right there in front of the audience.”

Box:

Maris Kalda: “Going to the Song Festival means something big for our family! Two of the four members have already taken part in this wonderful event, and the youngest member of the family has also expressed her wish to sing under the song arch at least once. The feeling of singing together is wonderful.”

Kady Milk: “When a child is born and raised abroad, a lot of work has to be done to make the child feel a sense of origin. Coming to the Song Festival helps to do this through experience, which is the best way. While still living in Estonia, I have participated in several Song Festivals and each time I have had an indelible experience. Trying to pass on my own experience and feelings to a child is not enough. You can’t really convey the feeling of participating in a Song Festival in words, you have to experience it yourself.”

City of Tallinn

The City of Tallinn, as a generous host, will welcome all those who come to the festival, accommodate them in school buildings and ensure that all our Song and Dance Celebration participants are entitled to free travel on public transport during the festival week.

Visual

Song and Dance Celebration design bridges the gap between tradition and modernity

According to its creator Mart Anderson, the design of this year’s Song and Dance Celebration consists of four main elements – typography, colours, ornamentation and Estonian graphic art. The use of the latter is, in the designer’s opinion, a unique opportunity to bring works that are otherwise hidden in the depths of art halls or even in museum storerooms to the attention of many people at once. It is Anderson’s way of thanking his teachers.

Tell us about the overall identity – what was your starting point in creating it? In terms of its colours and vigour, it’s very different from recent editions. How did it come about?

Mart Anderson: For the first time in a while, we don’t have a specific logo. Since the name of the event is so long, it was logical to solve it typographically. The font itself is my creation. The original inspiration came from a sweet shop sign from Tartu in the 1930s. It had been sitting as a working project for a while and when the Song and Dance Celebration competition came up, I thought I would try to use it here. I added some extras – the letters communicate with each other like dancing, one takes a step forward, the other one steps back, a dialogue is created. In addition, there’s the motif of the celebration’s motto, “Holy is the Land”, where the earth is a mound under the letter “o” and the vocal on top of that is the sound that occurs under the singing arch. The different combinations of letters also have the effect of people in the procession and under the singing arch.”

The ornamentation you use on the different design elements is at first glance just a more fashionable stylized archaic pattern. What’s behind it?

MA: “The ornament is actually a pattern with a code that conveys the sequence number of the celebration. The number 13 has been deconstructed into the shape of the Roman X and III and the patterns are formed from these.”

The colours of the designs are bold and youthful. Why did you choose this approach?

MA: “As our folk costumes of singers and dancers are colourful, there are basically two ways to stand out against this background. One way is that you’re monochromatic, so unassuming that you have white text on a black background or black text on a white background. The other way is to turn it up a notch. That means you’re even more colourful than the whole bunch put together. That’s how an even more colourful world was chosen to stand out. The colours here are deliberately chosen to have meaning – midnight blue, dawn pink, sea green, cornflower blue, crimson green, plum purple. So as not to be the primary colours of a grocery ad. It’s a celebration for young people after all, and you don’t need a grey sweatshirt to go out harvesting potatoes. It’s a summer youth celebration! At the same time, I’m not doing some “pioneer camp” that’s all-in-one uniform colour! You can choose to have a patterned shirt, a logo shirt, a yellow, purple or pink sweatshirt. If you really don’t dare to wear colours, go for the navy-blue sweatshirt!”

If we look at the way young people are dressing nowadays, these strong colours seem to be something else?

MA: “Yes, pale and pastel colours are in fashion now. But we need to create some kind of trend, not follow behind. Our challenge is to be a bit bolder.”

The fourth element is Estonian classical graphics, which are much more conservative in nature and choice than the other design elements. How did it come into the picture?

MA: “The question arose, what will happen with the colours when using on a picture. Since I’m a fan of Günther Reindorff, I have digital images of a very large part of his work. I experimented with adding colour filters to his work. The Foundation came up with the idea of using Kaljo Põllu’s works, so I suggested that why not expand the circle of authors even further and use this unique opportunity to bring these works out of the museum repositories and close to very many people at once. So, a dozen Estonian graphic artists from different eras were selected, and their works now illustrate score books of songs, dance patterns and folk music for different types of choirs. I didn’t want to take these graphics one by one, because they would look old-fashioned now. I had to find a more contemporary approach and I did that through colouring and framing. Each booklet uses a coloured work by one artist on the cover and enlarged details of that work inside. The graphic artists represented are Maara Vint, Viive Tolli, Kaljo Põllu, Günther Reindorff, Eduard Rüga, Eduard Wiiralt, Kristjan Raud, Ilse Leetaru, Nikolai Triik, Eduard Hoffmann and Andrus Johani. The selection of works is based on the motto of the celebration, “Holy is the Land” – still a little bit pathos and devotion.”

The language of these largely pre-war prints contrasts quite sharply with the modern, youthful typeface and colour palette.

MA: “I have to take into account that there are traditions at the celebration. There are 150 years of tradition at the foundation this youth celebration too. And this concept of bridges also means that the past and the present are linked, that you have to take the past into account and you can’t just act out. But there’s no point in repeating this black and brown world all the time, we’ve passed a century in the meantime. I was a bit provocative for a noble purpose – framing the images, colouring them, using ornamental stripes between and beside them.”

What was the most challenging part of creating this concept?

MA: “The complication is that we actually have two very different celebrations. Pärt Uusberg said himself that he was a nerd in school and he’s doing this kind of inward-looking and solemn song festival. But at the same time the dance festival is very expressive. We have a kind of umbrella called ‘Holy is the Land’, but underneath it there are two events with completely different concepts. When our colour palette is so rich, it can be made into something so beautiful, but it can also be used in a more relaxed way. It gives opportunities to develop different approaches.”