For centuries now, the Baltic and Scandinavian countries have been bestowed with the periodical singing and dancing traditions which enhance their calendars. In 2008, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania were in effect added to the « Representative List of the Intangible Heritage of Humanity » by UNESCO for their musical traditions. In these countries, music is known to be at its apogee during great events such as the « Laulupidu Song festival » which happens every fifth year in Estonia, and the « Skamba Skamba Kankliai » in Lithuania. These cultural events, held over several days, bring together as many as 40 000 singers and dancers from all over these countries. For the most part, participants belong to amateur choirs and dance groups and have a wide repertoire of folk songs and contemporary compositions. Many singers and dancers practice throughout the year, directed by professional (choir) conductors, band-leaders and dance instructors to prepare for the events.
The next festival happening in Estonia will take place in July 2019, and celebrate its 150th anniversary, an occasion for us to both investigate and participate.
We have thus set ourselves a challenge – to use music as an exchange tool to meet populations from the Baltic and Scandinavian countries not only armed with a repertoire of traditional Nordic folk songs, but also with traditional songs from France, England and from the Occitanie region where we have both been living for three years. During this musical odyssey covering a period of nine months, we hope to partake in the Nordic traditional and musical culture, and also to investigate and put into effect ‘music therapy’, which is our discipline.
To fulfill these goals, we will be leaving with a musical repertoire which we will add to throughout our different encounters, within the framework of festivals, of work-awaying and other festivities.
We will begin our musical trip at the end of April 2019 by starting our travels from Montpellier, and then cross Italy, Austria and the Czech Republic, before arriving in Poland for the « Wszystkie mazurki swiata » festival (all Mazurkas in the world) where we will participate as volunteers. We will then make a couple of stops in the Baltic countries to assist different musical moments which punctuate the life of its inhabitants. One of the highlights of our travel will be in Tallinn with the 150th anniversary of the « Laulupidu Song Festival » where we hope to participate as chorists.
We will continue our musical adventure by stopping off at the « Arts festival of Helsinki » at the end of August and plan on staying a couple of weeks in Finland to pursue our musical investigations and take part in the local life through musical residencies and work-awaying. On our way to Norway, we will cross both Finnish and Swedish Laplands and drive through Sweden where we will make a couple of stops before landing in the region of Bergen. Once over there, we plan to refine our knowledge of music and music therapy alongside musicians and music therapists previously contacted.
To commemorate the end of our magical musical trip, we have committed ourselves to participate in the celebration of Saint Lucie in Sweden, which happens every thirteenth of December each year.
This festivity which celebrates light has symbolic overtones in Scandinavia where darkness rules over winter. The idea of light overcoming darkness has been welcomed by the locals for hundreds of years and celebrated with musical processions illuminated by thousands of candles. Furthermore, this celebration is a great deal for us, as we both share the common name : Lucie.
During this musical marathon, it will be possible to follow us via our Facebook page, our website, and our Youtube channel « On ira chanter chez vous » (French for : We will go and sing at your place).