Gallery: Over 3,000 attend Narva August 20 song and dance festival

Over 3,000 spectators congregated in Narva Sunday for a singing and folk dancing event marking the 32nd anniversary of the Restoration of Estonian Independence.

Dubbed the Laulupiknik ("Song picnic"), nearly 200 performers took part, at Joaoru, on the banks of the Narva River and under the battlements of the city's castle.

The first major singing event took place in the same location, Narva Joaoru, 86 years ago, in 1937, during the period of the First Republic.

That tradition was restored just two years ago.

Anna Farafonova, head of the Narva Eesti keele maja (Estonian language house), which organized the event, said: "The singing party was very warmly received two years ago, hence our decision to continue it. This year's Laulupiknik has recapitulated that singing together unites people - the people of Narva and Ida-Viru County really enjoy celebrating, shoulder-to-shoulder, with singing and dancing."

The Eesti Keele maja is under the auspices of the Integration Foundation (Integratsiooni Sihtasutus), in turn within the Ministry of Culture's sphere of activity.

The event is significant in the Ida-Viru County, and Narva in particular, is home to large numbers of Russian speakers.

Whie Anna Farafonova acted as creative director, the script was prepared by teachers at the Eesti keele maja: Pille Maffucci, Julia Viirsalu and Signe Viilop, while Alo Puustak was creative consultant.

As well as Estonian-language songs, the program featured offerings in Ukrainian, Russian and also the Votic language, the latter a Finno-Ugric language traditionally spoken east of the Narva River.

Several numbers which featured in July's XIII Youth Song and Dance Festival (Noorte laulu- ja tantsupidu)were also performed.

 "The purpose of singing together is to bring people of different nationalities, with different native languages ​​and living in different regions, together," Farafonova said.

Eesti Keele maja brought its own tandemkoor choir, while other choirs taking part were: Narva Muusikakool choirs, Narva Rahvaste Maja choir, Narva folk ensemble Suprjadki ja the Silmaline ensemble, from Iisaku.

Folk dancers were made up of group Jun-Ost and Narva Estonian Society's Värtnad dance group.

Vocalists and folk dancers from Paldiski and Tartu also took part.

Kelli Uustani and Atlan Karp, soloists with an act specializing in rap opera, called "Karma," also a Narva eesti keele maja creation, plus Narva singer Anne Kalinen, also performed.

Star singer and 2021 Eurovision entry Uku Suviste also made an appearance.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte, Maiken Tiits

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