Artists and programme

Every year, Viljandi Folk Music Festival offers the guests an enticing programme of workshops to accompany the concerts ranging from singing sessions to babies to making your own musical instruments. All workshops are free for the participants unless noted otherwise.

Instruments from the nature / Annika Mändmaa
THU 16:00
Children, families
Viljandi Vaba Waldorfkool (Lutsu Street 3)

Annika Mändmaa introduces instruments she has made herself from natural sources. You’ll be introduced to the sounds of the horn instrument, bone whistle, reed instrument, clay whistle, zither, talharpa and many others. She’ll invite the audience to sing about making traditional instruments.

 

Sauna stories / Alar Krautman
THU 18:00
Chamber Hall of the Traditional Music Center

Estonian traditional medicine teacher Alar Krautman talks about the circle of life for the countryfolk through the perspective of the sauna. It is interesting how this topic encompasses different beliefs and attitudes and interweaves through several layers of life.

 

Jew’s harp for beginners / Merike Paberits
FRI 10:30
Chamber Hall of the Traditional Music Center

Let’s get to know the basics of melody making and learn to play a tune in the process. If you do not have a Jew’s harp of your own, you can borrow it at the workshop.

 

Male singing room
FRI Lõõtsavägilased (Andres Eelmaa, Rasmus Kadaja,Tobias Tae) / SAT Lauri Õunapuu / SUN Ando Kiviberg
FRI / SAT / SUN 11:00
Club JASM (Jakobsoni Street 18)

On three festival mornings, this is the compulsory mind and voice invigoration session for all males. The male singing group is traditional secret chamber where men come together to twirl their moustaches and do the manly thing. Women are not welcome in this workshop.

 

Singing and playing group for babies / Kreete Viira
FRI / SAT / SUN 11:00
Viljandi Vaba Waldorfkool (Lutsu Street 3)
Children aged 0-2 with their parents

Kreere Viira teaches children and their families fun and age-appropriate games, bouncing rhymes and songs.

 

Children’s singing and playing group / Kreete Viira
FRI / SAT / SUN 12:00
Viljandi Vaba Waldorfkool (Lutsu Street 3)
For children aged 3-6 with their parents

Kreete Viira teaches the children and their families fun and age-appropriate games, bouncing rhymes and songs. Children are expected to attend with their parents so they can later play the games at home.

 

Haldjapere’s storytelling and crafts group / Mariliis Tähepõld and Kristi Terep
FRI 12:00 and 16:00
SAT 12:00 and 16:00
Handicraft Yard
Participation fee is 2.50€ to cover the cost of the provisions
For children of all ages

Haldjapere (“Fairy Family“) merges the endeavours of two women from Tartu. For a long time, they have been embroidering, writing books, organising birthday parties and giving creativity lessons for children. Haldjapere’s creativity group is like an exciting fairy tale. We tell stories, read together and in the end, we put it all in a fun crafts “form”. We use a lot of recyclable materials and home-made appliances in our crafts and we combine it with heritage. This year, we dance and listen to traditional music and try to capture the emotions we get in different art forms. We are changing the theme throughout the day according to the time table but you are welcome to join in whenever you like. The most up-to-date information will be posted on our Facebook page (Haldjapere).

 

Making a reed instrument / Annika Mändmaa
FRI 13.00
Handicraft Yard
For ages 16 and above

Let’s make a reed instrument together. Bring some patience and a steady hand. You are welcome to make the instrument for your child.

 

Ukulele workshop / Tobias Elof (Denmark)
FRI 13:30
Chamber Hall of the Traditional Music Center

Ukulele is quite a well-known instrument in Estonia. How do you play traditional music on it? The masterful Danish musician Tobias Elof has worked on this topic in his home country. We are trying to do bring the ukulele into the local traditional music scene and Estonian music in general. The workshop is open for everyone who would like to use the ukulele in their work with children or who have discovered the ukulele for themselves. We will talk about how to get the most out of the instrument and play traditional music on it.

 

Workshop of bubbling European tunes / Pablo Golder
FRI 16:00
Chamber Hall of the Traditional Music Center

Pablo Golder is a fantastic accordion virtuoso who has Belgian, Italian, American, English and Scottish blood in him. He discovered the diatonic accordion at the age of eight and has not been able to put it down ever since. His music is inspired by Italian and Belgian traditions. Pablo is also one of the Estonian ETHNO camp tutors this year. In the workshop, you can learn rhythmic Western European instrumental tunes. You can bring any instrument of your choice.

 

Jolly traditional games / Annika Mändmaa
FRI 16:00 / SAT 16:30
Viljandi Vaba Waldorfkool (Lutsu Street 3)
For ages 6-12

Let’s revisit the jolly games from when our great grandparents where young. You can test your skills in jumping over a horse, wolf race, staring, hand games, etc. In the end, we will also have a go at tug of war.

 

Traditional dances for two / Sille Kapper and Raivo Männik
SAT 10:00
Grand Hall of the Traditional Music Center

Labajalg, polka, waltz and Rheinländer. When and how? We will discuss and try them out to make the beginners feel more confident and the experienced dancers feel better at the evening concerts.

 

Maintaining and repairing string instruments / Raivo Sildoja
SAT 11:00
Chamber Hall of the Traditional Music Center

Every instrument has a soul of its own and it needs to be taken care of. How can you care for your instrument to ensure that it serves you and the audiences for many beautiful years? We will talk about simple tricks which help you keep your instrument in good shape. You can find answers to the questions: What can I do on my own and when do I need to turn to a professional? Which tools do the professional instrument makers use?
More information about Raivo Sildoja can be found at www.kannel.ee

 

Swinging songs / Janika Oras and Väike Hellero
SAT 11:00
Swing in the Castle Hills

The new swing in the Castle Hills needs to be broken in. We will sing and swing so that our heads touch the clouds and our feet dance in the sky. We will listen to how the sounds start to form patterns while swinging and echoing throughout the Castle Hills. We will try to combine the rhythm of swinging to the swinging songs from around Estonia and Ingria.

 

Jamming session with Nano Stern / Nano Stern (Chile)
SAT 12:00
Grand Hall of the Traditional Music Center

If you have brought your own instrument to the festival then you cannot miss this workshop because Fernando Stern will show and teach you how much fun playing music together can be. Nano Stern has performed in front of tens of thousands of people and taught at ETHNO camps around the world. You can bring any instrument of your choice to the workshop. Let’s just enjoy music and playing together!

 

Small kannel for beginners / Aime Reier
SAT 13:00
Chamber Hall of the Traditional Music Center

Small kannel is a simple instrument which is easy to learn. In this workshop, we introduce the first playing techniques and learn a few simple tunes. If possible, please bring your own instrument to the workshop.

 

Traditional stories – are they out-of-date and forgotten? / Piret Päär
SAT 15:00
Chamber Hall of the Traditional Music Center

In this workshop, Piret Päär talks about why she has been wondering about this question recently. Piret has been telling stories for more than twenty five years. Her concern for the disappearance of our traditional stories is one reason why she started telling stories and organising related activities in the first place.
Has something changed during these years? In the workshop, we discuss whether we need traditional stories which have been passed around for centuries or is it time for us to let go of the old ones and wait for completely new stories – similarly to people who disappear from our memories if we do not talk about them. Everyone who wants to attend the workshop could think about which Estonian traditional stories they remember or have heard. Which of these could you cite by heart? Have any traditional stories influenced the decisions you have made in your life?

 

Children’s singing games group / Katrin Soon
SAT 15:00
Viljandi Vaba Waldorfkool (Lutsu Street 3)
Children aged 6-10

A workshop for slightly older children who can cope without their parents when playing. All playful moms and dads are also welcome to join in.

 

Untsakad 25 / Ilmar Kald, Jaanus Jantson, Jaanus Põlder, Marek Rätsep, Margus Põldsepp, Tauno Uibo
SAT 17:00
Chamber Hall of the Traditional Music Center

The group Untsakad has appeared on probably all the stages in Estonian cities and towns during the last 25 years. Untsakad is also the only band which has played at Viljandi Folk Music Festival during each and every year of those 25. What do they think of life today, these five grown men? Let’s summarise everything they have experienced in the last quarter of the century. For the first time ever, Untsakad are appearing on the stage without their instruments. Let’s talk! There are no stupid questions.
Hosted by Piret (Mäux) Aus.

 

Tarantella. Song and culture workshop / Kalascima (Italy)
SUN 11.00
Chamber Hall of the Traditional Music Center

Tarantella is based on the ancient life-threatening healing ritual called pizzica tarantata and it is related to the local cultural phenomenon called tarantism. This includes mad drumming and crazy trance-inducing dancing accompanied by suitable music which can last for hours or even days. According to a local belief, tarantism arrives after a tarantula bite. The venom of the spider takes the victim into a heightened state of excitability and restlessness which can only be healed by manic dancing. Tarantella is an old ritual but it is very fascinating to watch to this day. Italians have rediscovered the ritual and it is immensely popular. In the workshop, we will learn songs and talk about culture.

 

Small kannel for advanced players / Aime Reier
SUN 13:00
Chamber Hall of the Traditional Music Center

A practical workshop where we learn new techniques and a few tunes. If possible, please bring your own instrument to the class.

 

Sauna ritual and healing properties / Alar Krautman
FRI 14:00 / SAT 14:00
I sauna at Kirsimäe
Participation fee is 10€

During the festival, you can participate in a sauna ritual where you can experience everything in practice. First priority is given to those who have attended the lecture. You need to be sober and preferably not too full when attending the ritual. If you are taking drugs or have any health problems, please inform the staff before attending. Everything else (towels, medicinal mud, herbs, etc) will be provided.
As the spaces are limited, please pre-book your place.

Instruments from the nature / Annika Mändmaa

THU 16:00

Children, families

Viljandi Vaba Waldorfkool (Lutsu Street 3)


Annika Mändmaa introduces instruments she has made herself from natural sources. You’ll be introduced to the sounds of the horn instrument, bone whistle, reed instrument, clay whistle, zither, talharpa and many others. She’ll invite the audience to sing about making traditional instruments.

Sauna stories / Alar Krautman

THU 18:00

Chamber Hall of the Traditional Music Center


Estonian traditional medicine teacher Alar Krautman talks about the circle of life for the countryfolk through the perspective of the sauna. It is interesting how this topic encompasses different beliefs and attitudes and interweaves through several layers of life.


Jew’s harp for beginners / Merike Paberits

FRI 10:30

Chamber Hall of the Traditional Music Center


Let’s get to know the basics of melody making and learn to play a tune in the process. If you do not have a Jew’s harp of your own, you can borrow it at the workshop.


Male singing room

FRI Lõõtsavägilased (Andres Eelmaa, Rasmus Kadaja,Tobias Tae) / SAT Lauri Õunapuu / SUN Ando Kiviberg

FRI / SAT / SUN 11:00

Club JASM (Jakobsoni Street 18)


On three festival mornings, this is the compulsory mind and voice invigoration session for all males. The male singing group is traditional secret chamber where men come together to twirl their moustaches and do the manly thing. Women are not welcome in this workshop.

Singing and playing group for babies / Kreete Viira

FRI / SAT / SUN 11:00

Viljandi Vaba Waldorfkool (Lutsu Street 3)

Children aged 0-2 with their parents


Kreere Viira teaches children and their families fun and age-appropriate games, bouncing rhymes and songs.

Children’s singing and playing group / Kreete Viira

FRI / SAT / SUN 12:00

Viljandi Vaba Waldorfkool (Lutsu Street 3)

For children aged 3-6 with their parents


Kreete Viira teaches the children and their families fun and age-appropriate games, bouncing rhymes and songs. Children are expected to attend with their parents so they can later play the games at home.


Haldjapere’s storytelling and crafts group / Mariliis Tähepõld and Kristi Terep

FRI 12:00 and 16:00

SAT 12:00 and 16:00

Handicraft Yard

Participation fee is 2.50€ to cover the cost of the provisions

For children of all ages

Haldjapere (“Fairy Family“) merges the endeavours of two women from Tartu. For a long time, they have been embroidering, writing books, organising birthday parties and giving creativity lessons for children. Haldjapere’s creativity group is like an exciting fairy tale. We tell stories, read together and in the end, we put it all in a fun crafts “form”. We use a lot of recyclable materials and home-made appliances in our crafts and we combine it with heritage. This year, we dance and listen to traditional music and try to capture the emotions we get in different art forms. We are changing the theme throughout the day according to the time table but you are welcome to join in whenever you like. The most up-to-date information will be posted on our Facebook page (Haldjapere).


Making a reed instrument / Annika Mändmaa

FRI 13.00

Handicraft Yard

For ages 16 and above


Let’s make a reed instrument together. Bring some patience and a steady hand. You are welcome to make the instrument for your child.

Ukulele workshop / Tobias Elof (Denmark)

FRI 13:30

Chamber Hall of the Traditional Music Center


Ukulele is quite a well-known instrument in Estonia. How do you play traditional music on it? The masterful Danish musician Tobias Elof has worked on this topic in his home country. We are trying to do bring the ukulele into the local traditional music scene and Estonian music in general. The workshop is open for everyone who would like to use the ukulele in their work with children or who have discovered the ukulele for themselves. We will talk about how to get the most out of the instrument and play traditional music on it.


Workshop of bubbling European tunes / Pablo Golder

FRI 16:00

Chamber Hall of the Traditional Music Center


Pablo Golder is a fantastic accordion virtuoso who has Belgian, Italian, American, English and Scottish blood in him. He discovered the diatonic accordion at the age of eight and has not been able to put it down ever since. His music is inspired by Italian and Belgian traditions. Pablo is also one of the Estonian ETHNO camp tutors this year. In the workshop, you can learn rhythmic Western European instrumental tunes. You can bring any instrument of your choice.


Jolly traditional games / Annika Mändmaa

FRI 16:00 / SAT 16:30

Viljandi Vaba Waldorfkool (Lutsu Street 3)

For ages 6-12


Let’s revisit the jolly games from when our great grandparents where young. You can test your skills in jumping over a horse, wolf race, staring, hand games, etc. In the end, we will also have a go at tug of war.


Traditional dances for two / Sille Kapper and Raivo Männik

SAT 10:00

Grand Hall of the Traditional Music Center


Labajalg, polka, waltz and Rheinländer. When and how? We will discuss and try them out to make the beginners feel more confident and the experienced dancers feel better at the evening concerts.

Maintaining and repairing string instruments / Raivo Sildoja

SAT 11:00

Chamber Hall of the Traditional Music Center


Every instrument has a soul of its own and it needs to be taken care of. How can you care for your instrument to ensure that it serves you and the audiences for many beautiful years? We will talk about simple tricks which help you keep your instrument in good shape. You can find answers to the questions: What can I do on my own and when do I need to turn to a professional? Which tools do the professional instrument makers use?

More information about Raivo Sildoja can be found at www.kannel.ee


Swinging songs / Janika Oras and Väike Hellero

SAT 11:00

Swing in the Castle Hills


The new swing in the Castle Hills needs to be broken in. We will sing and swing so that our heads touch the clouds and our feet dance in the sky. We will listen to how the sounds start to form patterns while swinging and echoing throughout the Castle Hills. We will try to combine the rhythm of swinging to the swinging songs from around Estonia and Ingria.

Jamming session with Nano Stern / Nano Stern (Chile)

SAT 12:00

Grand Hall of the Traditional Music Center


If you have brought your own instrument to the festival then you cannot miss this workshop because Fernando Stern will show and teach you how much fun playing music together can be. Nano Stern has performed in front of tens of thousands of people and taught at ETHNO camps around the world. You can bring any instrument of your choice to the workshop. Let’s just enjoy music and playing together!


Small kannel for beginners / Aime Reier

SAT 13:00

Chamber Hall of the Traditional Music Center


Small kannel is a simple instrument which is easy to learn. In this workshop, we introduce the first playing techniques and learn a few simple tunes. If possible, please bring your own instrument to the workshop.

Traditional stories – are they out-of-date and forgotten? / Piret Päär

SAT 15:00

Chamber Hall of the Traditional Music Center

In this workshop, Piret Päär talks about why she has been wondering about this question recently. Piret has been telling stories for more than twenty five years. Her concern for the disappearance of our traditional stories is one reason why she started telling stories and organising related activities in the first place.

Has something changed during these years? In the workshop, we discuss whether we need traditional stories which have been passed around for centuries or is it time for us to let go of the old ones and wait for completely new stories – similarly to people who disappear from our memories if we do not talk about them. Everyone who wants to attend the workshop could think about which Estonian traditional stories they remember or have heard. Which of these could you cite by heart? Have any traditional stories influenced the decisions you have made in your life?


Children’s singing games group / Katrin Soon

SAT 15:00

Viljandi Vaba Waldorfkool (Lutsu Street 3)

Children aged 6-10


A workshop for slightly older children who can cope without their parents when playing. All playful moms and dads are also welcome to join in.


Untsakad 25 / Ilmar Kald, Jaanus Jantson, Jaanus Põlder, Marek Rätsep, Margus Põldsepp, Tauno Uibo

SAT 17:00

Chamber Hall of the Traditional Music Center


The group Untsakad has appeared on probably all the stages in Estonian cities and towns during the last 25 years. Untsakad is also the only band which has played at Viljandi Folk Music Festival during each and every year of those 25. What do they think of life today, these five grown men? Let’s summarise everything they have experienced in the last quarter of the century. For the first time ever, Untsakad are appearing on the stage without their instruments. Let’s talk! There are no stupid questions.

Hosted by Piret (Mäux) Aus.


Tarantella. Song and culture workshop / Kalascima (Italy)

SUN 11.00

Chamber Hall of the Traditional Music Center


Tarantella is based on the ancient life-threatening healing ritual called pizzica tarantata and it is related to the local cultural phenomenon called tarantism. This includes mad drumming and crazy trance-inducing dancing accompanied by suitable music which can last for hours or even days. According to a local belief, tarantism arrives after a tarantula bite. The venom of the spider takes the victim into a heightened state of excitability and restlessness which can only be healed by manic dancing. Tarantella is an old ritual but it is very fascinating to watch to this day. Italians have rediscovered the ritual and it is immensely popular. In the workshop, we will learn songs and talk about culture.


Small kannel for advanced players / Aime Reier

SUN 13:00

Chamber Hall of the Traditional Music Center


A practical workshop where we learn new techniques and a few tunes. If possible, please bring your own instrument to the class.


Sauna ritual and healing properties /  Alar Krautman

FRI 14:00 / SAT 14:00

I sauna at Kirsimäe

Participation fee is 10€


During the festival, you can participate in a sauna ritual where you can experience everything in practice. First priority is given to those who have attended the lecture. You need to be sober and preferably not too full when attending the ritual. If you are taking drugs or have any health problems, please inform the staff before attending. Everything else (towels, medicinal mud, herbs, etc) will be provided.

As the spaces are limited, please pre-book your place.