Culture
Estonian National Male Choir in Tbilisi
20 June, 2013
Musical tradition that unites two nations

On June 16, the Estonian Embassy presented a memorable and imposing evening to the Georgian music lovers. At Georgian National Music Center the Estonian National Male Choir performed in front of the Georgian audience.
The program was colorful and international. The evening was opened by Francis Poulenc’s ‘Quatre Petites Prieres de Saint Francois D’Assise’. It was followed by Ko Matsushita’s ‘Gloria’. The gospel saturated with the Christian word “Halleluiah” turned out to be particularly
supreme and really uniting the whole hall full of Christians. Cyrillus Kreek’s The Psalm of David no 137; Giovanni Bonato’s Crux Fidelis sung by the soloist Margus Vaht. From the Georgian repertory, Kviria – folk melody from Svaneti mountainous regions was performed. Later on, Veljo Tormis’ several pieces including Songs of the Ancient Sea, Three Livonian Folk Songs, Incantation for a Stormy Sea, Vepsian Winter and Litany to Thunder were sung, which brought really Estonian spirit to the stage. Veljo Tormis is an Estonian composer who is regarded as one of the greatest living choral composers. Therefore, a great performance added to it all, triggered the storm of applauses that instantly filled the hall.
Regina Kakhidze is an Estonian woman who came to Georgia in 1966. She met her future husband while she was touring Georgia. A year later, she came back and they got married. Now she has three children, 5 grandchildren and feels almost like a Georgian. Being the Chairwoman of the Estonian Diaspora in Georgia, she talked to us: “I know that I have two homelands: first of all, Estonia, and then – Georgia, which I like almost in the same way as my motherland. I think that nationality does not matter. Great love has brought me to your country. Maybe I make some mistakes (she is quite fluent in Georgian), but I studied Georgian language soon enough and am the only interpreter, who is fluent in three languages – Estonian, Georgian and Russian. Today, I shed tears of joy and my heart was singing. I felt as if I was in my home country, “Regina Kakhidze said after the concert.
Georgian Journal also talked to Mr. Indrek Umberg, General Manager of Estonian National Male Choir, which has a long history; it was founded in 1944. “Some of our people have visited Georgia as we two lived in the former Soviet Union. Some have only heard about it. But the reality has exceeded our expectations. What we have seen around Tbilisi is nice and the spirit of the city is great. After the concert, we can confirm that the Georgian audience is very honest and open-minded. The reaction was great – we did not expect this kind of welcoming ovation. In our repertoire, we also have the Georgian music program because Georgia has a rich tradition of male singing.” A cycle of songs was written for the Estonian choir years ago by famous Georgian composer Otar Taktakishvili. When asked about this program, Mr. Umberg answered: “It is a good idea to bring this cycle to Georgia,” Let’s see.
H.E. Mr. Priit Turk, the Ambassador of the Republic of Estonia to Georgia and Armenia noted: “The choir is singing in Armenia too. One day before this concert, they also sang in Georgian IDP village Tserovani. I think the male singing is something that unites us – Estonians and Georgians. Now they are here and in a month’s time there will be Sarema opera festival in Estonia where we will be receiving opera companies from Georgia.“
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