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Zombie folk duo Puuluup win Estonian foreign ministry's Cultural Award

Estonian Minister of Foreign Affairs Margus Tsahkna (Eesti 200) meets Puuluup.
Estonian Minister of Foreign Affairs Margus Tsahkna (Eesti 200) meets Puuluup. Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Zombie-folk duo Puuluup's have been presented with the Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs' annual Cultural Award in recognition of their contribution to promoting Estonian culture around the world.

Ramo Teder and Marko Veisson, collectively known as Puuluup, have been performing live shows for over seven years. In addition to Estonia, they have also played concerts in numerous countries around the world including the U.S., China, Germany, Poland, Sweden and the U.K.

"With their music mixing the talharpa and electronics, Puuluup are crossing Estonian folklore with contemporary music styles and spark adoration in Estonia as well as fascination across the world. Presenting Estonia's cultural heritage and our essence is crucial in cultural diplomacy and Puuluup have excelled at it," said Estonian Minister of Foreign Affairs Margus Tsahkna (Eesti 200)

According to the band's website, in their music, "the old and the new stick together like water and sleet," while the band's "inspiration is often drawn from leiks from Vormsi, Finnish jouhikko repertoire, Sahel's blues, chastushkas and other elements from the musical traditions from around the world."

During live shows, Puuluup do their utmost to explore the topic of cross-country skiing, while also acknowledging the impossibility of doing so fully in the limited time they have on stage.

However, "as a side dish, when giving live concerts they also offer choreographic flittering which emerged on its own during the numerous days these two man spent in the rehearsal rooms."

This year, Puuluup are also participating in Eesti Laul, the annual contest to determine who represents Estonia at Eurovision, thanks to a collaboration with hip-hop stars 5MIINUST on the song "(nendest) narkootikumidest ei tea me (küll) midagi."

The Cultural Award of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was first presented in 2010, meaning Puuluup are the 14th winners.

Previous winners pf the Cultural Award include the band Trad.Attack!, street artist Edward von Lõngus, Arvo Pärt, Imbi Paju, Ewert and The Two Dragons, Kalle Kasemaa, ERSO, Anne Erm, Kristiina Ehin, creators of the film Tangerines and the Louis Kahn Estonia Foundation.

Minister of Foreign Affairs Margus Tsahkna also recognized the recipients of citizen diplomacy awards, who are based in Estonia.

Letters of gratitude are presented by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to individuals or non-governmental organizations, who have made long and notable efforts to preserve Estonian language, culture and spirit, or promoted Estonia's business environment, digital society and business culture on a voluntary basis, thus contributing to raising Estonia's profile in their country of residence. 

Those based in Estonia, who received of letters of gratitude for citizen diplomacy this year were:

Hando Sutter – for his contribution to supporting Estonian companies and boosting economic cooperation, and for founding and managing the UAE-Estonia Business Council.

Ragnar Kond – for his long-standing, active and committed coverage of Latvian society and politics, and for his contribution to relations between Estonia and Latvia.
Sten Tamkivi – for bringing the Creative Destruction Lab (CDL) mentorship program of the University of Toronto to Estonia.
Estonian Institute of Human Rights – for their cooperation in supporting the democratic forces of Belarus.
Eva Kalbus – for her creative and dedicated work as a theater producer in raising awareness among young people about the history of Estonians in exile.
Teet Kask – for his long-standing contribution to promoting Estonian culture, and for the international projects that bring cultures together through the medium of dance.

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Editor: Michael Cole

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