Saturday, October 22, 2011

Paha Polly: Tartu or Tallinn?

Our tendency is to join things, to associate places and things and to remove what doesn't fit. Maybe the things that don't necessarily fit are what make life interesting. Maybe the pieces of a puzzle don't even have to fit, strange as that may seem.

For instance, how are these people and places connected?

  • The Estonia Theater (now the Estonian National Opera) in Tallinn,
  • Professional cyclist Rein Taaremäe and sculptor Mati Karmin (Kissing Students) from Tartu
  • Leelo Tungal (Ruila) and Raimond Valgre (Rapla) in Harjumaa,  not far from Tallinn

How different are Tartu and Tallinn?

Listen to Paha Polly, a folk rock band from Võru (2005) now based in Tartu. The band consists of  Liana Kolodinskaja (vocals), Kaur Pai (guitar), Toomas Oks (guitar), Ervin Sokk (bass guitar), Marek Manglus (drums) and Taavet Schotter (accordian). Their first album "Ei jäägi üle muud..."(Naerame) was released in 2009, followed by "Killud" in 2010 (Ma olen Tartu).

Are you curious about how bands get their names? Take Paha Polly (bad Polly). One of their favourite groups, Nirvana, had some great songs: "Polly" and "Molly's lips". Another band member was really into "Good Charlotte".  Play around with these names and what else could you get but "Bad Polly"? Read the story here in Lõuna Leht.

Ma olen Tartu ja sina oled Tallinn
ma olen Tartu
ma olen Tartu ja sina oled Tallinn
ma olen Tartu

Me vahel laiub paarsada kilomeetrit
musta lõhnavat asfaltteed
sa oled kivist ja mina olen puust
kuid suuri sõnu kuuleb mõlemate suust

A a couple of hundred kilometres separate us 
on asphalt-reeking roads,
You are stone and and I am wood,
But complicated words you'll hear from us both.
Jah, minu jaoks su linn on tõesti liiga suur
vaid kaugelt vaadata su poole vist ma julgen
ning sinu jaoks mu linn on kitsas nagu puur
nii kumbki meist siis oma linna jäägu

Your city is really too big for me,
All I can do is gaze at you from afar,
Yet for you my city is a narrow cage,
I think it's best we both stay where we are.

Left: Photo of Tartu by Dezidor                      Right: Photo of Tallinn by Arunas - visit

Su linnas pidutseb glamuur, on kõrge lend

Ning tähtsaim sõna seal kindlasti on trend
boheemid minu linnas tegutsevad endiselt
siin kõrgelt hinnas kottis kampsun on ja tennised

Snowy Tartu by Veljo Haamer
Your city is filled with style and glamour, 
The key word there is "trend";
Bohemians still roam around here as before
Needing only sweaters and running shoes, not more.

Su hinge tahaksin küll ära osta ma
igavesti peita selle oma seinakappi
ei vaataks kunagi sa, kus on Tallinna
ning alatiseks jääksid siia mulle appi

I would really like to buy your soul,
hide it for eternity in my cupboard;
Never again would you look for Tallinn,
You would stay at me side forever.

Villa Margaretha -  Jugendstil  hotel and restaurant

"Sa oled kivist ja mina olen puust"

In many European cities older wooden houses have long since been replaced by stone buildings and facades. Fires and wars did not help. Tallinn is known for its stonework, although sections like Kalamaja and Pelgulinn still maintain their wooden houses.

1930's buildings combining wood and brick
Villa Margaretha Foursquare link with map

If you are in Tartu, be sure to visit Karlova, Supilinn and  Tähtvere. The wooden buildings in these historic districts are rare in Europe and slowly disappearing in Estonia as well. The Karlova Assocation has kept an archive of the buildings along with individual house histories, they are quite fascinating - but unfortunately all in Estonian!

Mart Siilivask has  written a wonderful article in English:
 "The Historic Town Structures of Tartu – The Historical Overview and Main Preservation Problems Today".
Foursquare link with map to Anna Edasi kohvik/cafe/restaurant.

"Karlova: This wooden district of more than 300 mainly perimetral two storey tenement-houses arose outside of the town-limits in 5 years (between 1910 and 1914), the latest houses are from beginning of the 1920s. The main building contractor and designer was building-engineer Fromhold Kangro, but most of the buildings were probably designed and built by local master-builders." 

Paha Polly - Their music   "Mu valgus" (My Light) - 2011
link to music video

News Upadate: 
Drummer Marek is leaving for Sweden in October, 2011. Last concert was in  Trehv, Tartu - but hey, maybe the next song will be Ma olen Tartu, sa oled Stockholm! Ha!

 Trehv Foursquare link


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