European Estonian Song and Dance Festival V

The event brings together Estonian choirs and folk dance groups from 14 European countries to the city of Leicester in the Midlands. The programme of performances will take the audience on a musical journey through the last 100 years of Estonian history – from the manifesto of independence in 1918, World War II and the Soviet occupation (when many Estonians fled to western Europe) through to the singing revolution and re-independence, and culminating in the choir music of today.

The festival begins on Friday 7 September with the popular Estonian band Curly Strings performing at the Y Theatre. The song and dance festival continues on the afternoon of Saturday 8 September at The Venue@DMU, De Montfort University, where the audience can enjoy performances by Estonian choirs and traditional dance groups from around Europe. Curly Strings will also be participating in Saturday’s celebrations.

There will be a photo exhibition in the concert hall’s lobby, which will highlight the cultural life and activities of Estonian communities in the UK throughout the last 70 years – from 1947 when numerous Estonians arrived in the UK as war refugees through to the present day. The descendants of those same refugees and Estonians who have migrated to the UK post re-independence still continue to work together to promote Estonian culture.

Between performances, festival participants are welcome to visit the Leicester Estonian House – the centre of Estonian culture in the Midlands for nearly 60 years, which is also the central information point for the festival. There you’ll be able to enjoy Estonian food and drink, and meet with friends or make new acquaintances.

The festival will culminate with an afterparty on the evening of 8 September at the Ukrainian House, which is open to all participants and will involve more music, dancing and singing.

The event is organised by the Association of Estonians in Great Britain.

Day 1 - Friday 7th of September

Choir and folk dance rehearsals will be taking place all day and individual choirs and dance groups will be performing at Jubilee Square in Leicester City Centre.

7.30 pm Concert at the Y Theatre –

“Curly Strings” and “ÖÖ”

The warm-up band is ‘ÖÖ‘  (Night). Band members Madis Mälgand, Kristiina Killo, Meelis Mälgand, Annaliisa Asveit and Cathy Sommer are all Estonians who live in London.

The main attraction of the evening is the internationally acclaimed bluegrass band ‘Curly Strings‘ all the way from Estonia.

This internationally acclaimed four-piece band draws inspiration from American bluegrass and from their Estonian heritage, creating hauntingly beautiful contemporary melodies. The main basis of their soundscape is their intense and playful ensemble work, resulting in heartfelt execution of their music.

Day 2 - Saturday 8th of September

In the morning, choir and folk dance rehearsals will take place and individual choirs and dance groups will be performing at Jubilee Square in Leicester City Centre.

2pm to 5pm at the Venue@DMU, De Montfort University

The main European Estonian Song and Dance Festival concert takes place at the Venue@DMU, De Montfort University, where the audience can enjoy performances by Estonian choirs and traditional dance groups from 14 European countries. Curly Strings, with their unique blend of folk and bluegrass music, will also be joining in with this celebration of Estonian culture.

The audience will be taken on a fascinating musical journey through the last 100 years of Estonian history, starting with the declaration of independence in 1918 through to World War II and the Soviet occupation (when many Estonians fled to western Europe), culminating in the singing revolution and Estonia’s re-independence in 1991. The concert will conclude with exciting contemporary choral works sung by a united choir of approximately 140 singers.

Come and enjoy the hauntingly beautiful music, the mesmerising dances and colourful national costumes of Estonia. This is a cultural extravaganza showcasing the best of this small nation which you will not want to miss!

Performers

Performers include the European Estonian Choir (with singers from fifteen European countries), the London Ladies’ Chamber Choir, the REE International Estonian Experimental Choir, the Göteborg mixed choir from Sweden, Siller and Tampere choirs from Finland, Haaslava Male Voice Choir from Estonia, IES Tulevik and London dancers from the UK, Laiali from Luxembourg, Tuuletütred from the Netherlands, Trondheimi Trollid from Norway, Iirised from Ireland, Virvel dancers from Sweden, and Laagri Leegid, Tantsupisik and Lepalind from Estonia.

Travel and other info

From Thursday evening (6th September) until Sunday evening (9th September), the Leicester Estonian House will be the focal information point for the festival. Festival participants will be able to get information about Leicester, to meet friends, to socialise in the bar and to try some Estonian food.

We have combined a list of Travel Tips when in the UK so check out our TRAVEL section