On stage at the Käina EPT hall September 27 1989

On September 20, 1989, Kiri-uu commenced its memorable debut concert tour of Estonia. 9 days, 9 towns, 9 concerts.

These were no ordinary times. Estonia was separated from the west by the 'Iron Curtain', but a series of revolutions had recently begun a chain reaction across the Eastern Bloc. Just down the road, the Berlin Wall was about to be dismantled. And soon the Soviet flag at the Kremlin would fall.

Kiri-uu in Soviet Tartu

Into this electric atmosphere strode a group of first generation Estonian Australians to sing simple Estonian peasant songs to the hosts of this enchanting and, to foreigners, somewhat forbidden home country .

But these weren't ordinary peasant songs. Based on a deep historical sense, largely, they were Kiri-uu's modernist re-reading of Estonia's Veljo Tormis' highly insightful neoclassical take on the broad body of Finno-Ugrian musical culture.

Emotions were high and heartfelt as both Kiri-uu and their audiences shared in delight and solidarity that defied geographical, national and generational bounds. Through the power of song, Kiri-uu had truly returned the ghosts of their parents' war-torn past to their ancestral lands at a critical point in the country's history.

To celebrate this special historical moment, I have produced a 36-page PDF booklet. It is an update of the photocopied edition of press clippings, etc, that I assembled immediately upon returning from the '89 tour. The newly re-vamped edition offers a non-definitive little glimpse into our odyssey and features a host of goodies, including:

  • Colour photos
  • Itinerary
  • Tour map
  • Press clippings
  • Greetings and correspondence
  • Repertoire list
  • Tallinn concert introduction
  • Ensemble per-song line-ups
  • Tour personnel and composer / arranger credits

Its a big 117.6 MB download, but that's so that the pix will enlarge nicely. However, the press articles are in Estonian and scanned directly from the original prints, so until I get a chance to OCR the text, you may wish to do so yourself ... and then try your luck with Google Translate. Should be an interesting exercise!

Please enjoy!
Olev Muska

> Download the booklet

miinake, minu õeke / miina, my sister

Estonian folk song / lament from Karuse
Live at the Estonia Concert Hall Tallinn, September 28 1989
Trad. arr. Cyrillus Kreek

pihlapuu / the rowan tree

Estonian folk song from Helme
From our eponymous 1988 debut LP
>> Kiri-uu - Traditional runic songs of the Finno-Ugric people from Estonia and Ingria <<
Trad. arr. Mihkel Tartu and Olev Muska after Veljo Tormis
From the Tormis cycle >>13 Estonian lyrical folk songs<<

Front cover of the 36-page 30th anniversary commemorative booklet


Front cover of the 36-page 30th anniversary commemorative booklet