Singer Heli Lääts dies at 85

Singer Heli Lääts. Source: (Postimees/Scanpix)

Estonian singer Heli Lääts died on Friday aged 85.

Born in Saaremaa in 1932, Lääts graduated from Tallinn Music School in 1955. That same year, she debuted on the estrada music scene.

In 1960, Lääts graduated with a degree in singing from Tallinn State Conservatory, having studied under Tiit Kuusik. She was the first Estonian singer to receive a qualification in estrada and chamber singing.

Lääts first began to regularly perform as an estrada singer with the Emil Laansoo Ensemble and the Eesti Raadio Estrada Orchestra in 1956.

In 1957, Lääts joined other estrada performers and the ensemble Metronoom to participate in the World Festival of Youth and Students in Moscow, where she won a prize. In 1958, she was also the first Estonian singer to win a title in a Soviet Union-wide estrada contest.

From 1957-1961, Lääts sang in the Eesti Raadio women's trio. From 1957-1987, she performed as a soloist with the Estonian SSR State Philharmonic, and from 1966-1974 served as a singing teacher at the Philharmonic's estrada studio.

Lääts had performed as an estrada and chamber singer, participated in estrada performances and sung children's songs. She also released several albums of her own and recorded music for Eesti Raadio. Among her best-known songs are "Tsirkus," "Oma laulu ei leia ma üles," and "Tänav, pink ja puu."

Lääts was awarded the Order of the White Star, V Class in 2004. That same year, she won one of four Estonian National Culture Foundation Lifetime Achievement Awards, worth 50,000 kroons (approximately €3,200).

Editor: Aili Vahtla

Source: ERR; Wikipedia

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