If possible, please come to the workshops 10 minutes early to guarantee a spot!


Public recording of Ööülikool (Night University): "Am I the rightful heir of our traditional culture?"
Chamber Hall of Traditional Music Centre
THU 25.07 at 20.00

The open discussion is led by: senior researcher Taive Särg from the Estonian Folklore Archives of the Estonian Literary Museum, lecturer and researcher Kristina Kuznetsova-Bogdanovitsh from the UT Viljandi Culture Academy and curator and cultural manager Meelis Tammemägi.

A discussion on the topics of creation, copyright, and intellectual property in the field of traditional culture.

In the open discussion, experts and interested parties share their thoughts about the issues of creating, performing, recording, and the ownership in the context of intangible cultural heritage. They will examine the unique aspects of the creation process and products in oral, written, and recorded music culture. The aim is to articulate the key questions that will require ethical and legal solutions in the future, in cooperation with traditional communities.

Taive Särg says: "In the legal questions of folk music, different traditions meet – on one hand, the customary law of traditional societies, and on the other hand, the laws of modern society. Nowadays, we don’t really talk about the customary law as a phenomenon unique to traditional societies, which probably regulated the use of songs in the past and could still be researched today."

Meelis Tammemägi, who represents the cultural management students of the UT Viljandi Culture Academy, will present a legal solution developed as a group project in the intellectual property course. Their solution would provide everyone attending a culture event with an interesting insight into the birth process of author’s creation, which captivates the audience and should also put bread on the author’s table.

The project is funded by EUIPO.

FRIDAY, 26.07

Sámi traditional yoik / John André Eira (Sámi)
Chamber Hall of Traditional Music Centre
FRI 26.07 at 12.30

The renowned yoiker John André Eira gives a workshop on traditional Sámi music, providing a background history on yoiking and tracing its roots from ancient times to modern-day practice. Participants will have the unique opportunity to learn about the different styles and techniques of yoiking, as well as the contexts in which they are traditionally performed. At this unique workshop, Eira will engage attendees in practical sessions, encouraging them to try out yoiking themselves.

Circle of Baltic songs / The Baltic Sisters (Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania)
Bonifatius Guild, 2nd floor (Väike-Turu 8)
FRI 26.07 at 15.00

An experience of archaic musical traditions that will allow you to get to know all three countries: Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia by singing. Latvian powerful songs with drone, known Estonian folk songs from the North and from the South, and the magic of Lithuanian “sutartinės” - as one of the oldest ways of communication.

The traces of Teppo and patterns of Estonian diatonic accordion / Rasmus Kadaja

Chamber Hall of Traditional Music Centre
FRI 26.07 at 16.30

August Teppo is a well-known name to every Estonian diatonic accordion enthusiast – he was the man to thank for such a unique and great sounding instrument. The Estonian diatonic accordion is gaining more and more recognition – new instruments are being handcrafted more than ever before, and outstanding musicians are emerging like mushrooms after rain. However, it is interesting that although there are new playing patterns, the old accordion tunes still somehow sound more authentic and beautiful. The secret of Teppo's accordion and its tunes will be introduced by one of the best young musicians in the field, Rasmus Kadaja.

Regi circle / Celia Roose
Chamber Hall of Traditional Music Centre
FRI 26.07 at 22.00

Evening reflections with Regisongs. Regisongs are one of the oldest and most distinctive gems of Estonian intangible heritage. Every Estonian has heard of them in some form. But what makes the poetics of regisongs so enchanting? What stories do these songs tell, and how can one recognize this historical and authentic art form? Who were the singers that originally created these songs, and why did they sing in this manner?

Spicing up the evening with valuable insights, practitioner and tutor Celia Roose will sing regisongs for you and with you.


A vocal Journey from the steppes of Persia and Central Asia / Nissim Lugasi (Israel)
Chamber Hall of Traditional Music Centre
SAT 27.07 at 12.30

An in-depth vocal journey where we will develop vocal skills and techniques from the folklore and classic music of Central Asia.

The workshop will include practicing breathing and body techniques typical of Eastern singing, familiarity with Maqam singing and the quarter tones and rhythms that characterize these regions. In the process we will learn a Piyut (sacred song) from the Jewish tradition of the Caucasus Mountains region.
Nissim Lugasi is a master musician, singer and tar player, an expert of classical Persian and Ottoman Turkish singing, which he's been researching and breathing his whole life. Nowadays, he is considered one of the leading voices in his field in Israel. For the past 7 years, Nissim has been the director of Maqamat School of Eastern Music in Safed, Israel.

Traditional music from Portugal / Vasco Ribeiro Casais (Portugal)
Chamber Hall of Traditional Music Centre
SAT 27.07 at 14.30

Omiri, a solo project by the multi-instrumentalist musician Vasco Ribeiro Casais, is one of the most original projects reinventing Portuguese roots music. The workshop focuses on the musical diversity of Portuguese culture, showing the various ways of approaching and modernising old traditional music. As a multi-instrumentalist, Vasco will also use the various instruments he uses in his project, presenting and talking a little about them.
Through Vasco's musical vision and his involvement with local Portuguese communities – which results in video recordings that are later manipulated and serve as basis for his composition and musical improvisation – portugality from the north to the south of the country is a constant living picture, with musicians and sound landscapes from all over the country playing and singing as if they were part of the same universe.

They were strangers, but nevertheless our kin / Sofia Joons
Bonifatius Guild, 2nd floor (Väike-Turu 8)
SAT 27.07 at 15.00

In her doctoral thesis, defended this spring, Sofia Joons answers the question of how the Estonian Swedes used songs to create, strengthen, and reshape their identity, especially in the 1920s and 1930s. How were traditional songs performed on stage, what were the themes in the songs of Riguldi village singer Mats Ekman, and which songs did the youngsters of that time collect in their songbooks? Sofia also teaches these songs in the workshop and explores what type of tools of identity creation are the songs she studied: traditional, author, and popular songs.

SUNDAY, 28.07

The roots of Georgian music / Bani Hill Band (Georgia)
Chamber Hall of Traditional Music Centre
SUN 28.07 at 12.30

In this workshop, we delve into the deep roots and meaning of music from Sakartvelo.

The virtual cellar of the Literary Museum and its treasures / Mari Sarv
Chamber Hall of Traditional Music Centre
SUN 28.07 at 14.30

The virtual cellar of the Literary Museum is full of patterns and traces – historical sound recordings, manuscripts, documents, and memories. Here, you can discover your ancestors' stories or songs, listen to them, watch them, and read them, all from the comfort of your home. All you need is a bit of initiative and some digital know-how. Even better, you can contribute to preserving your ancestors' heritage, refining data and memories, and honouring your family stories. But first, you need to find your ancestors' traces in the cellar. It’s incredibly easy, and senior researcher Mari Sarv from the Estonian Literary Museum is here to help you. Enjoy your research and many interesting discoveries!

Introduction to traditional music / Annika Mändmaa
Bonifatius Guild, 2nd floor (Väike-Turu 8)
SUN 28.07 at 15.00

In this workshop, you can sing and play singing games. You will also hear many interesting instruments, made of natural materials, all crafted by Annika herself. You can try to get a tune from a shepherd's horn or a goat horn made of birch bark, or try your hand at the väikekannel or talharpa.
In the past, folk music was naturally passed down from parents to children, with people singing together during work and celebrations. Although this tradition has faded, the heritage is still valuable and should be preserved for future generations. Young people may find inspiration in this workshop to explore further on their own, and to ask their parents and grandparents about the lullabies they were sung, how to make leaf and willow whistles, and more.

This workshop is primarily for middle and high school students.


Dance School
The Green Stage
FRI 26.07 at 13.30 / Dances from Pakri. Tallinn Dance House Musicians
FRI 26.07 at 15.30 / Dances from Kihnu. Mare Mätas and the youngsters from Kihnu
SAT 27.07 at 13.30 / Dances from Ruhnu. Tallinn Dance House Musicians
SAT 27.07 at 15.30 / Round dances from Saaremaa. Tammeougu Mari and the girls of Sõrve
SUN 28.07 at 13.30 / Favourite dances of Dance Houses. Tallinn Dance House Musicians

If you want to practice for the dance house and get the steps right, then come to the Dance School! Superb musicians, singers and dancers will show you how the Estonian country folk and townspeople danced in the old times.

Dances from Pakri
For 600 years, the unique Pakri Swedes lived on the Pakri Islands. They were influenced by both Sweden and mainland Estonia, but remained isolated and independent enough to preserve several archaic and distinctive traditions, including the labajalg tradition and ritual wedding dances. The turbulent times of World War II and the forced departure from their home islands nearly put an end to these traditions. However, some Pakri Swedes who fled to Sweden formed the dance group Rågöbornas Danslag to keep the Pakri dance traditions and music alive.
In this workshop, we will explore the fascinating dances performed at Pakri weddings, the everyday dances, and the important insights we can gain from the islands about the entire labajalg tradition. Participants will have the chance to try out what they've learned at midnight in the Dance House.

Dances from Ruhnu
Jakob Steffensson was born on the Ida-Steffens farm in Ruhnu in 1924 and, like other Ruhnu Swedes, had to flee to Sweden in 1944. He documented Ruhnu Swedish heritage and history and wrote several books accompanied by valuable video material. Ruhnu dance tunes, especially those from Peeter Rooslaid and Elias Schönberg, have gained a lot of recognition in recent years thanks to the quartet "Sounds and Stories from Ruhnu Island."
Recently discovered writings and video recordings by Jakob Steffensson reveal new layers of Ruhnu dances, providing fascinating insights into the Ruhnu versions of well-known social dances in Estonia as well as more archaic wedding dances, all of which will be introduced in the workshop. Participants will have the chance to try out what they've learned at midnight in the Dance House.

Folk dancing on the beach
Basketball court at Lake Viljandi beach
FRI 26.07 at 10.00
SAT 27.07 at 10.00
SUN 28.07 at 10.00

The best way to start your morning is to listen to the music in the best possible way – through dancing! Two sisters Mia Marta Ruus and Paula Kristiine Ruus musicians ask you to join them on Friday and Saturday morning to dance on the basketball court at Lake Viljandi beach so you can start the day well, letting traditional music into your bones and lifting your mood!
We dance old social dances and spice it up with a few waltzes, polkas, flat foot waltzes and rheinländers. Bring a friend or come alone, you’ll find a dancing partner on the court!

Baby singing and playing group / Kreete Viira
Sakala Centre
FRI 26.07 at 11.00
SAT 27.07 at 11.00
SUN 28.07 at 11.00
Target audience: children aged 0–2 with their parents

Traditional music teacher Kreete Viira invites mothers and fathers to bring their babies to the group where they play age-appropriate games, singing games and sing songs which you can memorise and repeat at home to promote the love of traditional culture in your children.

Children’s singing and playing group / Kreete Viira
Sakala Centre
FRI 26.07 at 12.00
SAT 27.07 at 12.00
SUN 28.07 at 12.00
Target audience: children aged 3–6 with their parents

Kreete Viira teaches children and their families age-appropriate games, singing games and songs. We invite children with their parents to attend. Later on, you can play these games at home yourself.

Men’s singing group
Lokaal Sahara (Posti 6)
FRI 26.07 at 11.00 / Ando Kiviberg
SAT 27.07 at 11.00 / Lauri Õunapuu
SUN 28.07 at 11.00 / Lüü-Türr
Target audience: men of all ages, no women allowed.

The mandatory voice and mind wakeup session for all men on all three festival days. Men’s singing group is a chamber of secrets where men twirl their moustaches in the dark, sing manly songs and talk about manly things. Bring your favourite songs to the singing group to share with others.

Women’s singing group
Bonifatius Guild, 2nd floor (Väike-Turu 8)
FRI 26.07 at 11.00 / Women from Kihnu
SAT 27.07 at 11.00 / Women from Sõrve
SUN 28.07 at 11.00 / Kairi Leivo
Target audience: women of all ages, no men allowed.

Women have preserved our traditional singing culture throughout centuries. The folklore archive is filled with songs from our female ancestors, where they talk about their thoughts and feelings. Which of these songs speak to the women of today? Which songs will the women of today leave to their children? We invite all women to join us on three festival mornings to sing about what you’re thinking and feeling. Bring your favourite songs with you so you can share with the others.