Eesti Elu
More from the musical hedgehogs
Archived Articles 17 Apr 2009 Otepää SlimEesti Elu
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Siilikesed/Ezisi/Hedgehogs © Hedgehogs, 2007, Indianapolis, 69:56

The second recording from the talented and dedicated Estonian-Latvian folk music ensemble of Indianapolis led by the indefatigable Ain Haas builds on their debut. 33 cuts totaling almost 70 minutes of playing time have been selected for this CD. They range from familiar Estonian and Latvian folk tunes (such as Kivikasukas, Raabiku and Harju keskmine) to originals written by Ain Haas. Also included is fresh, unfamiliar material from Sweden, Finland and Lithuania.

As with the first Siilikesed CD the recording is complemented by a wonderful booklet, text by Ain Haas, Ieva Johnson and Iveta Ansons. Ain’s daughter Vaike Haas designed the booklet and provided the illustrations, the front cover, seen here, was drawn by Linda Treilja. The multitalented Haas took the photos of the instruments and handled the top-notch recording and the sound editing.

The booklet notes the following. “Since the group’s first performance in 2000, the Hedgehogs have enjoyed exploring similarities and differences in the folk music traditions of the peoples of the Eastern Baltic area, and have eagerly shared their discoveries with others, of any ethnicity. Among the current members, 5 are Latvian and 2 are Estonians. [The other two are Americans] Fluency in their ancestral languages and close ties with the Baltic homelands and ethnic communities abroad have enabled them to collect much lore about folk tunes and instruments.”

The liner notes are meticulous, identifying the musicians on each cut as well as giving a brief description about the background, meaning and significance of each tune. Among the accomplishments of the group is that most members of the ensemble have made their own Baltic psalteries. Other instruments were made by craftsmen in or from Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. Renaissance man Ain Haas has made a number of them, among them lyres, bagpipes and the Estonian kannels.

This is the type of recording that is impossible to review – it must be listened in order to be appreciated. Let’s leave the final note to the group’s explanation for their name: “As somewhat noisy creatures with good memories of where to root for sustenance, hedgehogs also make a good symbol for a group of musicians intent on drawing attention to themselves and persistent in their striving for authenticity as representatives of their heritage.”

This wonderful and recommended recording is available from the estore at the Toronto Estonian House, 958 Broadview Avenue, Suite 101, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M4K 2R6 | Phone: 1.416.465.2219 | E-mail:
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