Seto Week brings folk culture to Paris
Seto Week, which is held in Paris from November 18-25, introduces traditional polyphonic singing of the Setos (Seto leelo), their handicraft, traditions, cuisine, history, language and literature in the French capital. Never before has the Seto culture been so widely introduced in France.
The main event of the week is the two-day conference organized in the Institute of Oriental Languages and Civilizations (INALCO), which includes presentations by experts of Seto language, culture and history, from both Estonia and France.
According to one of the organizers of the culture week, Antoine Chalvin, who holds the Estonian Language Chair at the INALCO, Setos are extraordinary because their culture thrives in modern times as well. “Even though Seto traditions are preserved in museums and introduced in schools, it is still a continuously evolving and changing culture. Old Seto customs are a part of the Setos’ life to this day, they merge and melt together with modern culture. It is this playful view on life and notion of self-irony that helps the Seto culture adapt to changing times,” Chalvin explained.
The week-long Seto festival will also see Chalvin present the first book about the Seto culture published in French – “Setos of Estonia”.
There are several other events planned in Paris: The Seto women’s choir Verska Naase, who are accompanied by singing Seto men for this occasion, will perform at the World Cultures Institute; the Kiiora band will play their folk-flavored music, and several culture establishments in Paris are holding poetry and fairy tale evenings. Jérémie Jung’s exhibition “Setomaa – a kindom on the periphery”, which Estonian audiences could see at the Estonian National Museum in Tartu in October, is now also displayed in Paris.
The festival is organized by the National Institute of Oriental Languages and Civilizations (INALCO) in Paris, the Association for the Development of Finno-Ugric Studies (ADEFO), Estonian embassy in Paris and the French-Estonian Association.
Take a closer look at the festival schedule here.