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Mar 12 2018

Ei Ole Ükski Ükski Maa

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My favorite musical genre of all times is Vietnam War protest songs from the 70s and civil rights songs really fascinate me. Since my blog post is on North and Central Eurasia I decided to look into war protest songs from nations formerly under Soviet rule around the time period of their independence. For as long as people have been making music it has been used move people. Whether it be “Follow the Drinking Gourd,” “Solidarity Forever,” “Birmingham Sunday,” or “The Times They are Achangin” (sorry all of my examples are American) music has been a form of protest and a catalyst to change so I knew there had to be music from this time period as well. I came across something called the Singing Revolution in Estonia, a former Soviet country, and the Five Songs of Freedom. I could not find a recording of a version of the songs from the 80s, but I did find a great parody of one of the songs.

In 1988 a group of around 80,000 people converged on Tallinn, the capitol of Estonia, to sing native songs that had been banned by the USSR. This was merely another year of the traditional festival that had occurred every four years since 1869. This year, however, in a form of protesting the Soviet Union it grew into a human chain that spanned over all three Baltic States from Tallinn to Vilnius in Lithuania. Upon seeing all of this, the Russian government realized that to suppress these singers would be impossible and simply retreated. This is how Estonia gained independence from the USSR without any bloodshed.