Each of the three Baltic countries has a special tradition of song that citizens cherish and guard like a national treasure (also see this week’s music pick). Called the Laulupidu in Estonian, these great nationwide Song and Dance Festivals are deeply rooted in the national pride and identities of the Baltic peoples. And it was this mutual understanding of the meaning of song in life that led to the marvelous musical revolution that allowed the Estonian and other Baltic nations to peacefully unyoke themselves from Soviet rule and reclaim their freedom.
The three Baltic states were the first of the former Soviet Republics to regain independence.
In August of 1989, two million people from the Baltic nations joined hands to form a 676 kilometer-long human chain across the three lands.
Between 1987 and 1991, hundreds of thousands of Estonians publicly sang the ancient songs of their land—forbidden patriotic anthems and folk melodies of freedom—indicating that nothing could stop the transformation of the spirit of Estonians any longer. Liberty was regained without a shot. A similar revolution took place in Latvia and Lithuania.
The Singing Revolution is a moving and inspiring film about freedom, dignity, culture, and great humanity.
Laulupidu on Wikipedia
The Singing Revolution website
TEDTalk by Gina Ochsner about How Song and Poetry Inspired the Baltic Revolution