VEMU Heritage Collection Campaign: “Music in the Life of Estonians”

January 17, 2015

2014 was the year of the song festival. Eight song and dance collectives from Canada travelled to Tallinn to the festival and had a peak experience of music and togetherness. As if carried along by this powerful emotion, the year 2015 has been designated the Year of Music in Estonia. It is hoped that this will focus more attention on the multi-faceted musical life of Estonia, introduce the creators and performers of this music, promote enthusiasm about music, and increase the role of music in people`s lives. The slogan for the year is “Kõlab hästi” (“Sounds good”).

Music not only sounds good to our ears, but it stimulates our thinking and feeds our souls. As Estonians have developed and maintained their national culture, music has played a central role in these processes. Both the movement of the national awakening in the 19th century and the restoration of independence at the end of the 20th century were reinforced by the people`s love of music and participation in musical activities in their leisure time. Famous composers and performers are our calling card on the international scene, as well as a source of national pride. Music has always drawn us together as a people, in communities, and subcultures.

Music has an important place in Estonian lives. However, each of us has a very personal and intimate connection with music. What is this exactly? What role does music play in the lives of Estonians living abroad? To find out about this, VEMU is promoting a heritage collection campaign, “Music in the Life of the Estonian”.

We invite free-form written texts on the following topics:

• How does an Estonian find a connection to music?
• What is the role of music in Estonian homes?
• What kind of musical education do Estonians receive?
• What are Estonians` musical hobbies?
• What kinds of musical genres do Estonians prefer?
• Do Estonians mix their own national musical traditions with the traditions of other peoples? If so, how?
• In what kind of collective musical groups do Estonians participate?
• Who have been the most important musical figures in the Estonian diaspora?
• What has been the role of these musical figures in Estonian society and for you personally?
• What kinds of musical events have been organised by Estonians abroad?
• How have these events been brought about?
• What connection do Estonians have to choral singing?
• What has been the role of song festivals in the lives of Estonians?
• What is the nature of musical production by the Estonian diaspora?
• Music and the Estonian language
• Music and identity
• Music and politics
• Music and spirituality
• Generationality and music
• Music and contacts with Estonia
• Other peoples who enjoy practicing Estonian music
• Life as a musician in the Estonian diaspora
• Career challenges for musicians in the Estonian diaspora
• The repertoire of music in the Estonian diaspora

We also welcome:
• Audiotapes, vinyl records, cassettes, CDs, films, which reflect the musical activities of Estonians abroad
• Printed materials (songbooks, sheet music, programs of musical events, posters, etc.)
• Interviews (audio or video) with Estonian musical figures or those with music as a leisure-time activity
• Photographs of musicians and musical events.

The deadline for submissions is 1 February 2016. Please send your submissions to: VEMU/Estonian Studies Centre, 310 Bloor Street West, Toronto ON M5S 1W4. Submissions to the competition should be placed in an envelope with a code word, along with a sealed envelope bearing the code word and containing information about the author: name, age, address, telephone number, e-mail address. The best submissions will receive monetary awards and books! Further information: Piret Noorhani, T. 416 925 9405,