Estonian Chamber Choir Sireen recently launched its debut album "Terra Incognita" with a special concert at the House of the Blackheads in Tallinn's medieval Old Town. The album, the recording and release of which was financed via Estonian crowdsourcing platform Hooandja, includes songs performed by the women's chamber choir in English, Estonian, Russian as well as Hebrew. Ave Palm of Estonian cultural blog culture.ee provided an overview of Sireen's recent release.
The launch of debut album "Terra Incognita" by Chamber Choir Sireen took place in the House of Blackheads in Tallinn's Old Town. The concert was accompanied by specially created visuals, matching those from the album design, as well as a light show which created the perfect atmosphere for the concert. The performance was also enriched by choreography, with the choir using the entire space and moving around the audience. The sequence of the songs, while different from that of the record itself, created a continuous whole. It is great to have such an innovative and professional choir in Estonia.
The record launch was financed via Estonian crowdfunding platform Hooandja, where donations ended up exceeding the album's original budget. Based on the amount pledged, supporters received a free ticket and priority entry to the record launch concert, a free copy of the album as well as an invitation to the launch's afterparty. A photo session in which the singers posed as mermaids was organized for the launch, and a reflector brooch with a design matching the album artwork was produced for sale as well.
The album art depicts the common grounds of mystery, water, femininity and terra incognita — "unknown territory" in English. A colorfully glowing mermaid tail is intriguingly displayed, and the insert features girls with flowing hair, song lyrics in English, Estonian, Russian and Hebrew as well as different details abut the making of the record.
The decision to sing in different languages supports the concept of "Terra Icnognita." Listening to unknown languages inspires a desire to understand their very nature and examine the meanings, but at the same time to admit that not everything can be understood; that there are things which remain hidden.
The songs on the record did not demand much guesswork. The album insert includes Estonian lyrics as well as information on the prevaling themes of these songs. They are about girls and boys; alluring dance and beautiful gentleness; a spotless sky and land of peace and balance; junipers and harmonious seashells; regret, tenderness and love. The selection is versatile, yet still entirely suited to the choir's sirens. The message expresses the hidden sides of the world; the unknown, yearning mystery. The women's voices caress the ears, crawl under one's skin, make one long for something unfathomable — something beyond the limits of the mind. What is it that we cannot see but which has inspired similar legends in different places all over the world? It is extremely interesting to wonder what is hidden behind the protective screen of everyday life. It is somehow easy to find one's way into such reflections to the sounds of Sireen's new record, whose sounds and message help and direct one on this journey of the mind.
Exceptional unearthliness and tenderness, but also strength and confidence, have been charmed out of the members of the choir, for which its two conductors, Tiiu Sinipalu and Ülle Tuisk, must be praised. There is no questioning whether the singers know their part; everything is intuited and polished to the last detail. Different voices move together and then apart, only to dissolve into each other once again. In addition to songs performed a cappella, different instruments as well as two-member band Algorütmid, which seeks connections between reality and soud, can be heard. The two songs created in collaboration with the musical duo intrigue the listener by juxtaposing electronic sounds as well as offering new cognitive elements to one another.
In conclusion, the record is well intuited and targeted inside and out; it is a real pleasure to listen to. Songs that proved especially memorable were "Kadakad" ("Junipers") by Lembit Veevo and Debra Vaarandi, "Tasase maa laul" ("Song about a Level Land") by Veljo Tormis and Paul-Erik Rummo and arranged by Tõnu Kõrvits, "Kalà Kallà," based on Hebrew love songs, and "Cожаленья" ("Regret"), presented in collaboratin with Algorütmid.
Editor: Editor: Aili Vahtla