Noilly Prattle: Music, music, music

Monday, August 4, 2014

Music, music, music

Tane Mahuta

YIP Children's Choir

     Two of my passions (I have several) are travel and music and I love to combine them.

at Guy Bovet organ concert in St. Nicholas Church, Tallinn
       Tallinn seems to be joining many other and better known venues for summer music festivals (think Saltzburg, Austria, Glyndebourne, United Kingdom just to mention a couple). Although we have a few operas lined up elsewhere, we thought it would be fun to try some other types of music while here in Tallinn and we were not disappointed. We attended several different concerts, each one a different genre.

Tane Mahuta

St. Catherine's Church, Tallinn
       This program was held in what's left of the 14th Century St. Catherine's Church. The name of the group is Tane Mahuta named after a Maori guy who is the group's organizer and guiding light. According to the band's website: “Tane Mahuta is the Lord of the Forest according to a Maori legend and joins musicians from Estonia and Finland. [There was also a guest player from India.] They perform fairish folk music based on Scandinavian chants, Celtic prayers, shamanic songs from the Amazon rainforests, Indian bhajans, rainbow songs and traditional songs from Estonia. Most of the songs are hundreds or more years old and aimed at elevating the human soul and to connect the listeners with the forces of nature. This urban-folk has blended prayers, chants, Arabic & Celtic rhythms, throat singing and beatbox paving a path for urbanized people to reconnect with Mother Nature and so also awaken to their own true nature.”

inside St. Catherine's during Tane Mahuta show
       Looking at the audience and getting a feel for the ambience in the old stone-floored church reminded me of the late 60s on university campuses and in coffee houses. It was all peace and love and long hugs among the followers of the group. And the music was just a lot of fun and created a lively and happy mood among the audience, many of whom got up to dance. At the top is a sample that I recorded live during the performance.

YIP's Children's Choir

ornate doorway to Blackheads' Guild Hall
        This amazing group of young performers from Hong Kong was simply thrilling . . . and it didn't cost a Euro, a completely FREE (no strings attached) two-hour concert of music and dance and color that just blew us away. The performance was held in the Guild Hall of the Brotherhood of the Blackheads, a one time militaristic and social organization. The choir is a non-profit organization founded by Dr. YIP Wai-Hong, a highly revered expert in the field of children's music education. Not unlike the Tane Mahuta philosophy, Dr. YIP states: “Children's music education is not about producing musicians. Rather, it's about the educational goal of [achieving] a 'whole person'. If one has the 'misfortune' to become a 'musician', it is purely by accident.”

YIP kids performing a Chinese folk dance
         Hmm. Yes, well the “whole person” is an admirable goal of course, but, I felt that these kids were superbly talented performers and musicians. This is an excellent way to spread the cultural heritage of an increasingly great and ancient power like China's to a global audience in a non-threatening way. The audience absolutely loved these kids. The live recording I made during this remarkable performance will give you a very good example of how good these kids are.

Guy Bovet

St. Nicholas Church, Tallinn
interior of St. Nicholas and the pipe organ
        Mr. Bovet is a Swiss organist and composer. His performance last night at the St. Nicholas church was part of an organ festival this week here in Tallinn. I always thought of organ music as a large massive sound heard in church services and mostly playing the liturgy of the ceremonies. Think of Mozart's Requiem but scored and adapted for the organ.

the pipe organ of St. Nicholas Church
        But this was another eye-opening performance by this virtuoso organist. Of course, he sits high up in isolated splendor, far removed from the madding crowd below. However, a computer hookup was in place which featured a large screen that was focused on the organist so that you could see his every move. The pipe organ is a very complex instrument that is played with the whole body, full of keys and pedals and buttons that can achieve an amazing range and subtlety of sounds that I had never heard before. Unfortunately, I was not able to record during this performance. You'll just have to take my word for it, although the pipe organ is not my favorite instrument I thoroughly enjoyed Mr. Bovet's very versatile performance.

Guy Bovet at the St. Nicholas pipe organ

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