Eesti Elu
Tõnis Mägi to perform at Seedrioruʼs Suvihari celebration, July 2, 2011
Eestlased Kanadas 22 Jun 2011  Eesti Elu
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“Reflect And Connect” is the theme for this yearʼs celebration of our Estonian heritage at Seedrioruʼs Suvihari. Formal independence of the Republic of Estonia was declared on August 20, 1991. Itʼs time to check in on the changes since Estonia regained its independence.

How much has changed in our lives during these 20 short years!

On several fronts, the Republic of Estonia seems to be doing well. Despite its relatively small population (1.34 million) Estonia has been accepted as a member of the European Union, Eurozone, NATO and has many other international affiliations. Insharp contrast to other countries that were formerly part of the Soviet Union, Estonia is considered a developed and democratic country with all of the freedoms we are accustomed to in the west. There is now even a Canadian Pub in Old Tallinn.

The change to a market driven economy has both positive and negative connotations, making available to Estonia both the best and the worst from western societies. In social, political, and economic terms, Estonia has undergone the equivalent of an earthquake that has fundamentally changed how Estonia is viewed by the outside world. More particularly, it has changed how Estonians living outside Estonia view the country and our heritage. Internally, the choices made every day by Estonians and their government have brought changes to attitudes, world views, and economic equity. Estoniaʼs membership in the European Union, for example, is solely neither good nor
bad because membership brings a mix of benefits and constraints.

We are very pleased that Mr. Riho Kruuv, the chargé dʼaffaires of the Ottawa Embassy of the Republic of Estonia has agreed to give us food for thought during the ceremonial segment of “Reflect and Connect”. Mr. Kruuv began his position in Ottawa in late 2009. Earlier he had been posted to Washington in 1999-2000 and subsequent to that posting he earned an MA in International Commerce and Policy from George Mason University in Virginia.

The solid constant between old and new Estonia and between Estonians living inside Estonia and those living in other countries is our music. There is no one better suited to bridge the old and the new, the there and the here, than singer Tõnis Mägi. Beyond doubt, Tõnis has been one of the most influential and remarkable names in Estonian music for the past 40 years.

Tõnis began singing in the mid 1960s in school bands. He soon became known to a wider audience, thanks to popular TV programs. From the early days forward, Tonisʼ music was original, always offering something different from the more ordinary pop music of the day.

In 1987 Tõnis focused his music on the Singing Revolution. Among other patriotic songs, Tõnis Mägi's song Koit (Estonian for Dawn) became a symbol of freedom. Tõnis himself became known as “the godfather” of the Singing Revolution. His songs Koit and Palve (Prayer) are often part of Song Festival repertoires. Tõnis Mägi's song “Palve” will be performed on July 2 at Seedrioru, accompanied by HESS (Hamilton Estonian Mixed Choir).

The music performed by Tõnis has always been many-sided and continues to evolve. Just as with the Republic of Estonia itself, Tõnis Mägiʼs music too has not stood still with time. In the years since independence and his overwhelming popularity during the days of the Singing Revolution, the truths in religion and in mankind have become increasingly important to him. It is these truths that are expressed in the soul of his melodies and the message of his words.

In recent years, Tõnis Mägi has successfully concentrated his own music and is often accompanied by his wife Kärt Johanson. Kärt will also accompany Tõnis to Seedrioru, contributing both her rendition of runo-songs (Estonian oldest traditional songs) and her own songs which are characteristic in their deliberate simplicity. She is a masterful singing storyteller. During the lighting of the flame in memory of soldiers who fought for Estoniaʼs Independence, Kärt will perform the song Mu Meelen Kuldne Kodukotus (Remembering My Warm, Wonderful Home).

Following the concert, the music continues with singing around a bonfire. Then dance the night away to the sounds of Fifty-Fifty featuring Peeter Kopvillem, Rosemarie Lindau, Eric Soostar and Tõnis Tõllasepp with Leiki and Keila Kopvillem followed by DJ at 1am.

That Tõnis Mägi and Kärt Johanson have agreed to perform at Seedrioruʼs Suvihari (July 1 to July 3) creates an extraordinary opportunity for those of us who have never heard their songs performed live. We invite you to join us for what promises to be a memorable opportunity to Reflect and Connect.

Hope to see you there,

Seedrioruʼs Board of Directors
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