Gallery: Jaak Joala Viljandi sculpture officially unveiled New Year's eve

A distinctive new monument to legendary Estonian singer and musician Jaak Joala (1950-2014) is to be opened in the South Estonian town of Viljandi, Joala's home town, on New Year's Eve, ERR's culture portal reports.

The installation, which includes a light show, has already met some controversy, not on aesthetic grounds so much as questions about financial transparency vis a vis the town's municipality.

This led to a 500-plus-strong petition from local residents, calling for the suspension of the project, created by sculptor Mati Karmin.

The national sculptor's association (Eesti Kujurite Ühendus) also voiced its concerns over the way in which the competitive process leading to the monument's creation had been handled, adding that the deadline for entries had been to soon.

Viljandi city government nonetheless overruled the objections and pressed on with the project, which saw €50,000 reportedly granted to MTÜ Meie Viljandi, the organization behind the development.

A native of Viljandi, Jaak Joala played flute and also bass guitar in addition to singing; he was a member of two bands, "Kristallid" ("The Crystals") from the mid-1960s and then "Virmalised" ("Northern Lights") from the late 1960s and through the 1970s. He regularly performed in Russia and in the Russian language. After restoration of independence, he appeared on stage frequently with Estonia's other two biggest male singing stars, Tõnis Mägi and Ivo Linna, taking a more behind-the-scenes role in his final years, when he also suffered bouts of illness. He died on September 25 2014, in Tallinn.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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