Monday, December 5, 2011

Teeme Muusikat

Here is some more Estonian folk music from the Teeme Muusikat (Let's Make Music) series, which I posted about earlier. I love love love these records. For me they are an outline and manifesto for the kind of pop music that needs to be made today: haunting, melancholy choral folk with twinkly percussion and woodwinds -- like the soundtrack to a lost TV broadcast of an Eastern European fairy tale. Since I don't speak Estonian the singers give the sense of casting spells or reciting ritual incantations. And in some songs there is a fairly lively "beat" percussion that wouldn't be too out of place on a garage or psych 45 (the yelping on one of the R. Kangro tracks sounds a bit like a parallel universe Lizzy Mercier Descloux.)

Above is the third record in the series, arranged by Heino Jurisalu. I believe the songs are mostly trad., but they are occasionally credited to individual songwriters. Beautiful, plaintive pastoral tunes. I love the typesetting and photos, including the portrait of Jurisalu on the back. He might have been the head music teacher in the project, as he wrote the back cover blurbs for many of the albums. If anybody could translate I'd be much obliged. The practical academic function of these records -- they were clearly meant for classroom activities -- is part of what I like about them, so it would be good to know what sort of instructions they have in mind.

This one is, I believe, the fourth record in the series. The color palette all matches up, from Kangro's tie to the armchair to the girl's dress. We actually have a table cloth like that, too. Some of these tunes remind me of the drool-worthy Finders Keepers release of the Malá Morská Víla OST, which was the center of gravity for my musical world this past year. The sleeve may seem a bit twee and goodie two shoes, but it's amazing how edgy and punk some of side 2 sounds if you listen with your third ear. Below is a taste of my favorite track. Enjoy and play for your friends!


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