Overview of Fenno-Ugria’s 2023 Finno-Ugric Days
Fenno-Ugria organised a series of events in Tallinn and Tartu in October 2023 centred around the Finno-Ugric Day (a.k.a. Kindred Peoples’ Day), bringing together Finno-Ugric musicians from Estonia, Latvia, Finland and Hungary, artists, literary figures and scholars. The theme of this year’s Finno-Ugric Day was ‘Courage’, referring to difficult times and the courage to remain oneself. The events included traditional ones: a conference, folk music concerts, as well as new ones: club nights, a fashion show and an art competition.
As a kick-off to the Finno-Ugric month, the 8-part series ‘Our Kinsmen’ (hosted by Kaidor Kahar), produced in cooperation with ETV, was presented on 4 October at the Kuku Club, with adviser Jaak Prozes as an expert. On 18 October, the ‘Smugri Poetry Ball’ took place in the black-ceilinged hall of the Writers’ House, under the auspices of Jürgen Rooste and in cooperation with the Writers’ Union. On the same evening, Hopner House hosted a Finno-Ugric dance club with the Transylvanian ensemble Tokos and Udmurt folk dances under the direction of Pavel Kutergin. On 19 October, a conference on the Finno-Ugric indigenous peoples of Latvia was held in the Kanutiaia Hobby School House, with a performance by the Livonian children’s ensemble Mierlinkizt.
On 20 October, the 2024 Finno-Ugric calendar was presented in the Teachers’ House and there was an opportunity to take part in the fashion show ‘Kaja(d)’ (Echo(es)) of the Estonian Academy of Arts students and Finno-Ugric designers who participated in the creation of the calendar, the creation of which – as well as the making of the calendar – was supervised by Professor Piret Puppart of the Estonian Academy of Arts.
This was followed by a traditional folk music concert of Finno-Ugric bands, with guest performances by Karelian duo Sattuma from Finland and Transylvanian Tokos from Hungary.
On the national holiday of Kindred Peoples’ Day, 21 October, an exhibition of Finno-Ugric epics by Peeter Laurits and Madis Arukask was opened at the Estonian National Museum, and a folk music concert was held (directed by Kadi Haamer from the National Museum).
The reception of the City of Tartu and Fenno-Ugria at the National Museum after the opening of the exhibition was attended by President Alar Karis, who also gave a speech.
On 25 October, the movie theatre Art hosted a film night, with a succession of sauna films: Joonas Berghäll’s ‘Steam of Life’ (‘Miesten vuoro’) and Anna Hints’ ‘Smoke Sauna Sisterhood’ (‘Savusanna sõsarad’). Journalist Rein Sikk and Hannele Valkeeniemi, Director of the Finnish Institute, discussed the sauna and national specificities. The same film screening was shown on 26 October at Genialistide Klubi in Tartu, where psychologist Elis Aunast was interviewed by Janno Zõbin, project manager of Fenno-Ugria.
The month was closed by hot club nights in the rhythms of ethnopop in Tartu’s Genialistide Klubi on 26 October and in Tallinn’s Erinevate Tubade Klubi on 27 October with the bands Duo Ruut and Oopus. Finland’s unique nostalgia was represented by Jaakko Laitinen ja Väärä Raha, who combine tango and Balkan folk music.
On 28 October, the Finno-Ugric Days thanksgiving event was held and classics from kindred peoples were heard at the Hopner House: performances were given by Susanne Rull (flute), Lisanne Rull (harp), and Tähe-Lee Liiv (piano) – half of the concert was organised by the NGO Kammermuusikud (Chamber Musicians). The Liszt Institute – Hungarian Cultural Centre and Fenno-Ugria and the Association of Art Schools also awarded prizes for the ‘Pal Street Boys’ art competition.
The events were supported by the Ministry of Culture, the Cultural Endowment of Estonia, the Kindred Peoples’ Programme, Tallinn Music City, and the Liszt Institute – Hungarian Cultural Centre.
Throughout the month of October, events of the Finno-Ugric Month took place in schools across Estonia, some of which were also visited by Fenno-Ugria staff: Adviser Jaak Prozes gave lectures at Kadriorg German Gymnasium, Nõmme Gymnasium, Konstantin Päts Open Air School, Tallinn Järveots School, Gustav Adolf Gymnasium, Tallinn Adult Gymnasium and Palamuse School Museum, while Project Manager Anna Kuznetsova gave a presentation at Muhu Culture House.