Rio Chama Publications

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WHAT A CHOIR CAN DO

Blog72AOn the 150th anniversary of a music festival that originally inspired resistance to Soviet control and later received recognition from the United Nation’s cultural agency, tens of thousands of Estonians joined in singing folk songs on Sunday, July 7th, 2019. This celebration attracted 35,000 singers, more than 1,000 choirs, and 700 dance groups to the capital of Tallinn. This event, held every five years, began as only a song in 1869.

An estimated 90,000 people attended the concert that closed the festival, which had most of the choirs joining voices for songs with deep meaning for Estonians and their national identity. The festival theme this year was “My Fatherland Is My Love.”

Throughout Estonia’s nearly 50 years of Soviet occupation, some traditional anthems and songs were banned, or lyrics were changed. So, singing these pieces was an act of defiance. In fact, the “Singing Revolution” is the name given to Estonia’s fight for independence, from 1987 to 1991.

The United Nation’s cultural body, UNESCO, recognized Estonia’s folk song festival, and similar events in Baltic neighbors Latvia and Lithuania, for showcasing the “intangible cultural heritage of humanity.” This unity has extended beyond Estonia’s borders. During the Singing Revolution, 2 million people in Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania joined hands to form a human chain, 370 miles long, in protest against Soviet occupation of the Baltic states with a song. 

The significance of singing is notable on many levels. Research indicates that singing:

  • Strengthens the immune system
  • Improves posture
  • Helps with sleep
  • Is a natural anti-depressant
  • Lowers stress levels
  • Can widen one's circle of friends
  • Boosts self-confidence
  • Broadens communication skills

Surely singing played a huge part in Estonia gaining independence. On a daily basis, there are many ways we may participate in singing—singing the national anthem in the United States; singing at church, as I often do; singing to our children, parents, or others; singing “Happy Birthday”; or even singing in the shower! Dear reader, what singing experiences have you had and what has been their effect? All comments are most welcome!

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Comments 1

Guest - Zurlinden on Thursday, 18 July 2019 01:58

...I love singing in all different ways as with my children right from the beginning, in a choir since I was a teen and with myself in the nature, the car ... Whenever it is possible. I also sing silently when walking wirh others for a longer time. Recently I joined a choir in my town again after traslocation. It makes me feel happy, grateful, gives me strength and selfconsciousness. In Germany we have a saying: " where people are singing, you can stay and have a relax. "Bad" ( behaving) people don't have songs ... Sorry for the germanlike translation.
A wonderful Experience is for myself to sing wirh others. It is soul connecting and enables to feel like reunited and completed by the different facettes of voicecolours. Sing and enjoy your day...

...I love singing in all different ways as with my children right from the beginning, in a choir since I was a teen and with myself in the nature, the car ... Whenever it is possible. I also sing silently when walking wirh others for a longer time. Recently I joined a choir in my town again after traslocation. It makes me feel happy, grateful, gives me strength and selfconsciousness. In Germany we have a saying: " where people are singing, you can stay and have a relax. "Bad" ( behaving) people don't have songs ... Sorry for the germanlike translation. A wonderful Experience is for myself to sing wirh others. It is soul connecting and enables to feel like reunited and completed by the different facettes of voicecolours. Sing and enjoy your day...
Guest
Thursday, 04 June 2020

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