Bird Droppings from Estonia: Viru Folk 2016
Kultuur 21 Aug 2016 Hilary BirdEWR
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Viru Folk festival at Käsmu, Lääne Virumaa, my ancestral homelands. This year the festival celebrated the islands of the north of the world. The rain pissed down nearly all weekend but rubber boots, plastic macs and umbrellas were in plentiful supply and spirits (both from a bottle and the more elevated sort) were high.

My pick of the acts were Eivor from the Faroe Islands, Veronica Portsmouth (how did an Estonian get a name like that?) and Estonian Voices – Estonia’s answer to Manhattan Transfer with a bit of regivärss (traditional folk song) thrown in. Apart from the musicians on stage there are informal acts perched on rocks (there are a lot of rocks in Käsmu, some of which are famous in Estonia) – the little portly lad drew quite a crowd!

There was great Icelandic beer and good scoff, including meals for vegans. Some of you will be getting presents of items purchased at the Käsmu Women’s Handicrafts Collective and other small businesses.... watch out for the post.

Eivor was (for me) the star of the 2016 Viru Folk festival. She is a superb musician with a BIG soprano voice . She sings in Faroese and plays the Celtic Tabor or tabret (Welsh: Tabwrdd) - a portable snare drum played with one hand – and guitar. She writes her own songs. Her style is a marvelous mix of mainly folk and jazz but there’s definitely a bit of Joni Mitchell thrown in. In case you are wondering where the Faroe Isles are they are half way between Scotland and Iceland, they are a self-governing part of Denmark and have a Celtic/Scandinavian mix of culture ...

It just so happens that I am reading Michael Pye’s The Edge of the World that tells some of the history of the North Sea and its peoples - the book “traces the development of several things that came out of that sea, among them the idea that one could shape the world to one’s needs, that women could make key choices in their lives, that law was power and, by extension, that lawmakers and practitioners were powerful. And it challenges the notion that we owe our world to the ancients and the Renaissance. “We are not on the margins of history any more,” Pye concludes after looking at the golden age of cities such as Antwerp and Amsterdam, pointing to “the changes of mind that made our world possible”. Smashing book – erudite, entertaining, original … and stuffed full of splendid Viking females … speaking of which, here is Eivor … Enjoy

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