This is a disc of old Estonian folksongs, of a form
called ‘rune-songs’. It contains music that dates back to the first
millennium before Christ, when, "the people of Estonia still worshipped
nature and its gods". At least that’s what the notes say. For want
of more extensive information, I assume that these tunes are ancient
but the arrangements are certainly not. Most likely, these songs were
only sung; the addition of such instruments as violin and vielle came
In any case, this is a very interesting recording.
Some of the songs recall the music of French troubadours, with their
almost hypnotic rhythms and the intense sounds of mild chromaticism.
Others have the tone of what became bluegrass music, with lively, swaying
rhythms that sound ideal for square dancing, and others sound almost
Celtic in origin. (Unfortunately, there are a couple that also sound
like also-rans in the Eurovision song contest.)
But this disc is quite satisfying, giving a glimpse
into a musical culture that is, for many of us, unknown. As music from
other cultures becomes increasingly prominent, it is essential to have
available such works that date back into the shadows of time. This group
does a fine job in projecting their enthusiasm for this music, and this
disc is quite enjoyable.
For more info visit: www.klangwerk.at/Livonia/