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The Singing Revolution opens in New York
by Mimi S. Daitz for Vocal Area Network
Posted December 9, 2007

The Singing RevolutionEven those of you who have not been to Estonia (and many have) or heard one of the Estonian professional choruses here in the USA will be fascinated by the intertwining of singing and political action, which helped Estonia gain independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. A full-length documentary film entitled The Singing Revolution, five years in the making, is opening for a limited engagement at City Cinemas--Village East, 181 Second Avenue at 12th Street, on December 14.

Using archival footage, contemporary interviews with Estonians who lived through the “Singing Revolution,” and scenes from the last, huge United [Choral] Song Festival, the film shows how back in 1869 choral singing already had a political subtext--at that time in relation to the Russian Empire and the Baltic German overlords who administered their country. The viewer later hears the music sung by thousands of Estonians as they defied the Soviet government by singing the banned unofficial national anthem, “My isamaa on minu arm” (My