Thursday, July 22, 2010

Viljandi Folk Festival: Frikar

The ancient Castle Hills in Viljandi will echo with the sound of ancient and modern musical intruments as 200 performers from 12 countries gather in Viljandi this weekend to celebrate the 18th annual Viljandi Folk music festival. It is one of the largest festivals in the Nordic and Baltic countries dedicated to folk music and is expected to draw over 20, 000 visitors. The theme is dance - traditional folk dance as well as improvisation - and so the motto is "Dance comes from Within" - Seest tuleb uks tants". Here is the live video feed.

Latin rhythms will mingle with Estonian bagpipes as groups from Cuba, Latvia, Bulgaria, Hungary, Norway, Russia gather in five outdoor venues and three indoor stages. The festival will last for 4 days, there will be seminars, exhibitions, night classes and..."a genuine Viking ship, fire, sails, shadows, live music. The Estonian-Ukranian folk ensemble Svjata Vatra is inviting all festival guests to the beach of Viljandi Lake to enjoy the mysterious sail shadow performance. The story that will be played on Friday night at 23:30 is based on old runo songs, the plot of which is being conveyed with the help of shadows rising from the flames." See description here.

Among the international performers is the Frikar Dance Company, founded in 2006 by Hallgrim Hansegård, one of Europe's leading acrobatic dance companies. This exciting group of 32 dancers and musicians from Norway perform routines combining Afro-Brazilian capoeira (martial arts moves) and break dancing along with contemporary and traditional Norwegian folk dance techniques. They won the Best Choreography award in the Eurovision Song Contest in 2009 for backing up the winner, Alexander Rybak, a singer and violinist.

The name Frikar (Freaker), from Old Norse, is used for "a person who does not follow the conventions of society, which are difficult to cope with. They are also good at fighting and dancing. You feel free when you do not have to follow the conventions"... Read the article from Aftenposten.

Norwegian folk dancing can be dangerous; here is a description of the Halling, which dates back to medieval times:
"Many of the halling dancers were great athletes in their communities, and became famous for their ability to dance and throw themselves high up in the air. On the other hand, records show that a fair amount of the same dancers got into trouble, and many dance sessions ended in violence and manslaughter.This may be due to the adrenaline produced during the exercise. Dancing and honour were closely connected, and the dancers competed for the prize until one of them got hurt or killed. Some dancers were executed, others were taken to prison for their use of the knife." The Halling was also used for Alexander Rybak's winning performance at Eurovsision.

So it's not difficult to see why Hansegård would attempt to direct a performance like Tidarå, an outdoor full night dance performance under a raging waterfall with 22 dancers and musicians, From Aftenposten:
Twenty feet above the falls in the narrow gorge with steep cliffs on each side hanging only dancer in the red stoffremsene. He is not attached to the line, and he has a safety net. Under him, the froth flooding large waterfall. On stage are two men from the Red Cross, ready to rescue efforts. But can they actually do something or the other if something happens here?

Frikar will be performing Mjølk’ (Milk), which features a meeting between three farm-boys on their daily commute to the milk ramp. The milk-collecting van fails to materialise and the three, bored guys are left to themselves. The show focuses on the surrealism that can unfold when three restless acrobats are left with nothing to do. Which, with Frikar, could be anything! Here is the performance.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010


Recently I came across a story in Baltic Business News: the Kalev Chocolate Factory, maker of fine chocolates and marzipan for over 200 years and one of Estonia's best known brands, was sold to a foreign company. The buyer is the Finnish company Felix Abba of the Norwegian group Orkla. Read about it here.

As we Estonians do love our chocolates and marzipan, we sincerely hope that Oliver Kruuda, Member of KCF’s Supervisory Board, is correct: ”Felix Abba and Orkla is a strategic buyer with the competence and interest to develop the company and the business further”.

Can you sell the President? Of course you can! Visit the Marzipan Muuseum on Viru 4 in Tallinn for a better look! Or, check out the Kalev Marzipan Room on Pikk 16. You can learn the history of marzipan, sample and create marzipan figures at both museums. Photo by Anna Huimerind in Eesti Ekspress.

The Kalev Marzipan Room was was started by Otto Kubo, an employee of the Kalev Chocolate Factory, over 40 years ago. In 1806, Lorenz Caviezel from Switerland opened the original confectionary shop in the Maiasmokk Café building. (The Maiasmokk, owned by Kalev, is the oldest café bakery in the heart of Tallinn).

It has changed hands many times until Georg Johann Stude bought it in 1864 and expanded the business. Stude's products were popular outside Estonia: the company's marzipan figurines and handmade chocolates were in high demand at the court of the Russian tsar. Factory employees proudly note that these exclusive products are still being made according to the recipes and methods preserved from Stude's time. Read the Kalev Chocolate Factory story here.

The original Panis Martius or Marci Panis was sold in the Tallinn Town Pharmacy, Europe's oldest operating apothecary (1422). According to legends, an apprentice at the Town Pharmacy accidently concocted it as a remedy, perhaps against the plague. Jaan Kross also wrote Mardileib about this discovery.

Later in the 1500's, the Town Pharmacy would order molds from Arent Passer, a Dutch stonemason and architect who moved to Tallinn and created many beautiful stone effigies and entrance portals. The pharmacy would fashion beautiful martzipan cakes as fitting gifts for the guild masters and nobility. Photo from Eesti Instituut

Marzipan is a confection consisting primarily of sugar and almond meal. It derives its characteristic flavor from bitter almonds, which constitute up to 12% of the total almond content by weight. It is believed to originate in Persia (Iran) and was brought to Europe by the Turks; however, Hungary, Italy and Spain also lay claim to it.

In northern Europe Lübeck and Tallinn compete for its origin. It was first sold as a remedy in both cities; the main confectioners J. G. Niederegger and Kalev were both founded in 1806. Niederegger marzipan is made from 100% raw paste with 0% sugar, Lübeck marzipan is made from 70% raw paste with 30% sugar and thus corresponds to the common designation in Germany fine marzipan.

Estonian marzipan is, according to Ülle Noodapera, a pharmacist at the Raeapteek (Town Hall) drug store: "not ordinary marzipan, but one made using a medieval prescription containing 72 percent almonds and 28 percent other ingredients that we will not disclose". Read more here. It is also a traditional cure for a broken heart; one dose of the wonder drug weighs 40 grams and costs just $1.50.

If you live in Toronto or Ottawa, you can get the wonder drug. There are 2 types of Niederegger, for baking and molding, available at $30.00 per kilo at Stubbe. Or, you can buy the coloured marzipan figures. Stubbe is a family business, started by Johann Heinrich Petrus Stubbe in 1845 in Meppen, Germany. They moved to Canada in 1989 and offer classes in creating fabulous chocolates and pastries.

In Ottawa, they are located on 375 Dalhousie Street - just steps away from the Estonian Embassy. Somebody should tell the new Kalev Chocolate Factory owners!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Peter Van Loan in Estonia

Peter Van Loan, the Minister of International Trade, is in Europe from July 3 to 20. He is visiting Russia, Estonia, Bulgaria, Romania and Slovenia to promote Canada’s competitive advantages and highlight progress toward a Canada-European Union comprehensive economic and trade agreement.

What sort of impact will the EU-Canada deal have on Canada?

Van Loan: Canada is the first developed country with which the EU is negotiating a free trade deal. The free trade pact will offer Canada a market with a population of 500 million that includes 27 countries with an economic output of over $16 trillion. from Eesti Elu

"The Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement is projected to boost two-way trade and investment between Canada and the EU, Canada's second-largest trading partner, by up to 20 per cent, adding $12 billion a year to Canada's wealth by 2014.

The proposed deal, which would be the first ever between developed countries that is to involve major investment and regulatory components as well as tariffs, is being billed by proponents as a mechanism to improve competitiveness and help governments save tax dollars on major infrastructure and transportation projects." from Global Montreal

Peter Van Loan was first elected in June of 2004, as the Member of Parliament for the new riding of York-Simcoe and was re-elected as the Member of Parliament for York-Simcoe on January 23, 2006. This riding also encompasses Jõekääru Summer Camp and is the home of JK Jazz. PVL, as he is known, also has Estonian roots on his mother's side and is related to the SL Õhtuleht writer Jaan Väljaots.

On the weekend he and his family relaxed at the farm of President Toomas Hendrik Ilves in Ärma, where his son took his first steps. Story here. and photo from Evelin Ilves' Facebook page.

On July 12, he announced "that the Canada-Estonia Youth Mobility Agreement will take effect on August 1, 2010. The agreement will help young adults between the ages 18 and 35 from Canada and Estonia to travel and gain valuable work experience in each other’s country for up to one year. " See Eesti Elu article.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Tarkade Naiste Raamatuklubi

17.juunil sellel aastal sai kokku Tarkade Naiste Raamatuklubi Ilo Maimetsa juures kodus. Klubi idee sai alguse sellest, et korrastada TES koolide raamatukogu Võlusaared.

Klubi koosolekul jaotas Tiina Jenkins valja kõigile raamatud, mis tuli läbi lugeda ja anda väike kirjeldus.

6. juulil saadi jälle kokku, aga seekord juba Eesti Majas raamatukogus. Lisaks klubi liikmetele olid kohal kooli komitee esinaine Elle Rosenberg, algkooli juhataja Liisa Soots ja algkooli õpilane Linnea Soots.

Arutasime loetuid raamatuid, milline on raskusaste ja millisele vanusele võiks raamat sobida. Linnea Soots oli suureks abiks raamatute sisu ja raskusastme hindamisel; ootame ka noorte poolt soovitusi!

Vasakult: Ilo Maimets, Leena Rosenberg, Tiina Jenkins, Linda Soolepp, Lydia Ritso-Kadai, Piret Komi, Eda Oja.

Tutvustame kooli võrgulehel raamatuid tuntud noorte kirjanikkudelt, nagu Astrid Lindgren, Heljo Mänd, Aino Pervik ja Helga Nõu aga pakume välja uusi nimesid, näiteks Sören Olsson, Üllar Saarmäe, Ottokar Domma ja Reet Made.

Kutsume kõik vanustes huvilisi külla, pakume suupisted ja otsime ideid, kuidas lugemishuvi äratada.

Raamatukogu Võlusaared on lahti suvel järgmistel õhtutel:
20. juuli, 17. august ja 31. august alates kell 7 pl.

Tulge ka!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Tallinn Keskajal: Mardileib

Mardileib, 72 lk
Jaan Kross, 2004, kolmas trükk
Joonistused Ülle Meister

1441, 21. september Tallinn. Raekoja plats 11 asub apteek, mis tegutseb tänapäeval ja kus segati rohtusid, pulbreid, salve. Sel hommikul apteekriõpilane Mart on vara ametis, tema virgad sõrmed juba 300 kuivatatud konnakoiba nöörile torganud.

Tõsine lugu algab kui neid kutsutakse appi rohtu segama raehärra Kalle tõbedele: kange kõhuvalu, sapp pähe tõusnud, ristluud tuikavad. Meeleolu olevat nii paha, et raehärra loopinud taldrikuid, õllekruuse, küünlajalgu ja isegi märkmete raamatu nendele, kes tema ette jäänud, vastu pead.

Kuna päristohtrit Tallinnas polnud, peab meister Johann arsti kohust täitma ja sapivaevale kõige efektiivsemat ja kallimat rohtu segama - mitridaatsiumi - tingimusel, et õpipoiss Mart ise ka seda sööma peab. Imerohi, mis Armeenia kuningas Mitridates ise 1500 aastat varem oli ise koostanud mürgitamise vastu (antidoot). Nii tihti võttis ta seda vastumürki, et kui proovis ennast tappa, ei tulnud ta sellega toime. Keskajal Euroopas kasutati seda katku (plague) vastu; mõnikord segati pea 65 põhiainet kokku.

The manufacture of antidotes called mithridate or theriac (English "treacle") continued into the nineteenth century. Ephraim Chambers, in his 1728 Cyclopaedia, says:
"Mithridate is one of the capital Medicines in the Apothecaries Shops, being composed of a vast Number of Drugs, as Opium, Myrrh, Agaric, Saffron, Ginger, Cinnamon, Spikenard, Frankincense, Castor, Pepper, Gentian, &c". It is accounted a Cordial, Opiate, Sudorific, and Alexipharmic". Petrus Andreas Matthiolus considered it more effectual against poisons than venice treacle, and easier to make. Late versions of the antidote incorporated dried blood or the dried flesh of lizards or vipers or Malabathrum. Pictured: Drug jar for Mithridate, by Annibale Fontana, circa 1580.

Meister Johann hakkab apteegi tagaruumis 48 põhiaineid ette lugema: sisalikukeelejahu, muumiapulber, rästikujahve, rubiinitolm....aga aevastuse hood on tal nii kanged, et pead tuleb tal savinõuga katta ja Mart ise peab mitridaatsiumi koostama.

Meister ütleb: "Võta nael elevandlihajahu...."

Ja Mart mõtleb: "Elevandilihajahu? Ehk nagu ta ütles - vandlihahu - oot-oot-oot- mis maitse sellel on? Õigus, ma mäletan küll: nagu kõvasti kopitanud kondijahu...oh ei! Ma ei võta seda elevandiluud, mina võtan hoopis midagi muud - mandlijahu!"

Ei mingeid rästikukeeli, hoopis kolm untsi kaneeli! ....Pääsukesepesi?... Oh ei, kärjemesi! Ja mitte unts vaid kaks või koguni kolm! Viiruki asemel pani ta siirupit, rubiini asmel rosmariini...jne kuni 54 ainet koos. Ja saiapatsil vajalik vastik lõhn....puudus! Kas raehärra kuulutab selle maitse järgi rohu kõlbmatuks magusaks mögaks?

Jutu lõpul selgub, kuidas suurepärase maitsega leib nii meelitas linnarahvast, et hakati kutsuma seda Mardileivaks. Mardilaevadega viidi seda Riiasse ja Königsbergi, kuni Piiskop Henricus ise seda himustas ja pani ladina keeles nime martipanis, ehk martsipan.

Tallinna Raeapteek on vanemaid järjepidevalt tegutsevaid apteeke Euroopas, esmakordselt nimetatud 1422. Alates 1583 juhtis apteegi tegevust Johann Burchardt; tema nimelised järglased Johann II-X jätkasid aastani 1913. Foto: V. Haamer

Tallinna keskaja päevad kestavad 8. juuli - 11. juuli 2010. Raeapteegis toimuvad igal õhtupoolikul ravimtaimeteadus ja küünalde tegemine. Siin on videopilte näha. Pildil pettur kaupmees häbipostil kinni Raekoja platsil. Fotod: A. Mikkor ja V. Haamer.

Proovida võib ise ka!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Estonia in 1867

Estonia in 1867 did not exist as a separate entity; together with the northern part of Latvia, it was known as the Russian imperial province of Livonia and was administered by the German Baltic nobility. Pictured are rusty 5 penny coins from the time of Alexander II.

According to the census of 1881, the population of this province was 881,455, of which about 90 percent declared Estonian nationality, as stated by Toivo Raun in Estonia and the Estonians. The majority of the urban elite were German until the mid-1880's, when Russian officals began to stream in.

The 1860's saw the beginning of the National Awakening Movement. Lydia Emilie Florentine Jannsen, better known as Lydia Koidula, published her most important colection of peoms, Emajõe ööbik (The Nightingale of the Emajõgi) in 1867. A poem from this collection, Ema süda (A Mother's Heart) has become a national classic song and often sung on Mother's Day; the music was written by Robert Theodore Hanson in 1882.

She also assisted her father Johann Voldenar Jannsen with Pärnu Postimees, the first Estonian langauge newspaper, which he had started in 1857. Jannsen also wrote the words to Mu isamaa, mu õnn ja rõõm in 1848, which was performed in the first song festival in 1869 and became the national anthem in 1920.

Also in 1867, Carl Robert Jakobson published the Estonian speller “Uus Aabitsaraamat, kust wiiekümne pääwaga lugema ja kirjutama wõib õppida”, New Spelling Book. Learn to read and write Estonian in 50 days. He also published started an Estonian language newspaper, Sakala, in 1878.

Interestingly, Heinrich Laakmann, an Estonian printer and publisher of German descent, opened the first Estonian bookstore in Tartu in 1867. He also printed many of the Estonian language newspapers, such as Eesti Postimees, Eesti Põllumees, Meelejahutaja and published the works of many nationalistic figures.

It is important to note that in 1866, after an assassination attempt on Czar Alexander of Russia, the censorship reforms of 1855 that had given Koidula’s father a window to start Postimees were reversed. Pre-publication censorship was re-imposed and literary freedom was curtailed. This was the political and literary climate when Koidula started to publish; ultimately, it lead to the Czar's death - he was shot in March 1881 by the terrorist organization People's Will.

1867 - George Brown and Junius

Canada 1867

One of the Fathers of Confederation was George Brown, who also happened to be the founder of the The Globe and Mail, today Canada's largest national most and influential daily newspaper. It started as The Globe in 1844 and merged with Sir John A. Macdonald's The Mail and Empire (1872) in 1936.

The two men were also national politicians and actively disliked each other. Macdonald, a conservative, was elected as Canada's first Prime Minister in 1867 and Gorge Brown, a liberal and member of the Reform Party, ran unsuccessfuly in 1867 in both federal and provincial elections.

George Brown chose a quote from Junius as his motto for The Globe, which is still present today: "The subject who is truly loyal to the Chief Magistrate will neither advise nor submit to arbitrary measures".

Junius was the pseudonym of an English writer who frequently wrote letters to the Public Advertiser in England from 1769 to 1772 to inform the public of their historical and constitutional rights and liberties as Englishmen, as well as pointing out where these rights had been infringed. The same types of letters were written in Scotland by Henry Mackenzie to the Edinburgh Herald in 1790 and 1791. In the United States, Junius letters were published in the New York Journal from October 1787 to April 1788 by Robert Yates.

Junius (Marcus Junius Brutus Caepio, 85 BC – 42 BC) was, of course, the protégé who helped to kill Caesar and was a symbol of resistance to strong centralized power.

George Brown was a strong supporter of Representation by Population and helped found the Anti Slavery Society in Canada after the Fugitive Slave Act was passed by the US Congress in 1850.

Ironically, he was shot in 1880 in his office at The Globe by a disgruntled employee, who had recently been fired, a year earlier than Czar Alexander II of Russia. Read the story here. Brown died in his home, located near the Grange and the future Art Gallery of Ontario, a few months later. This house was also featured on the HBO series Ghost Trackers.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

1867 - Kanada või Tuponia?

"To-day, our loyal city will bear her part in celebrating an occasion destined in the future annals of these provinces to be marked as a red letter day for all time." Nii kuulutas välja Globe ajaleht Kanada liitumisest 1. juuli 1867.

Torontos, Bathurst Commons kohas, esinesid kuninganna sõdurid (praegune Honest Eds ja ümbruskond). Queens Pargis toimus õhupallide lahti laskmine; sinna kutsuti õhtul vaatama kõige "vägevamat" ilutulestikku pasunakoori saatel.

Kokku liitusid Kanada provints (Ontario ja Quebec) ja Briti asulad New Brunswick ja Nova Scotia. Kokkuleppe oli juba tehtud 1866. aga kinnitati kuninganna Victoria poolt veebruaris 1867. Prince Edward Island ei liitunud kuni 1873, kuigi seal toimus 1864. Charlotterowni Konverents.

Globe ajalehes 1867. arvestati Kanadas olemas umbes 3, 816, 688 million elanikku. Pealinna vahetati mitu korda Kingston, Toronto ja Montreali vahel; lõpuks valis kuninganna Victoria Ottawa 1857. Parlamendi hoonete ehitamine algas samal aastal ja esimene osa sai valmis 1865.

Sõna Quebec tuleb Algonquian päritolust ja tähendab "kus jõgi kitseneb". Huvitav on, et alguses prantslased kutsusid seda maad Kanadaks; britid nimetasid seda Quebec 1763. Ontario päritolu on Iroquois keelest ja tähendab "ilus vesi"; see nimetus läks maksma 1. juulil 1867.

Jacques Cartier hakkas 1535. kasutama Kanada (Kanata), mis tähendab "küla" Huron-Iroquois keeles. Mitu varianti arutati, nagu New Britain, Borealia, Cabotia, Laurentia, Columbia, Norland, Transatlantia.

Kõige naljakamad olid Tuponia (The United Provinces of North America) ja Efsiga (England, France, Scotland, Ireland, Germany, Aboriginal lands).

And who would have thought that it was Sir Sandford Fleming, engineer and inventor of the standard time zone, that would give Canada its national symbol from his Threepenny Beaver Stamp? Issued in 1851 by the province of Canada, it is considered to be Canada's first stamp.