Estonian cultural days celebrated in New York

An annual celebration of Estonian culture takes place in New York City from 5-9 April, with a lineup of performers from Estonia.

The cultural days feature concerts, theatre performances, lectures and other events, engaging Estonians from both the local diaspora and abroad and celebrating Estonian culture in the United States by bringing together a wide variety of performers.

The lineup includes singers Ott Lepland and Tanja Mihhailova, girl band La La Ladies, We Are Family (WAF) choir, Tallinn City Theatre, artist Jaanika Peerna and many others.

Retaining a sense of culture and heritage

The idea behind the event is to ensure that the Estonian population in New York retains its sense of culture and heritage. “In addition to bringing some of the most impressive and relevant performers from Estonia to New York City, we also wanted to pay special tribute to the 47-year-old tradition of holding cultural days in New York,” Kadri Napritson Acuna, the event’s executive director, said. “We are also aiming to bring more attention to contributions that Estonian-Americans have made to the Estonian culture and the unique stories that this community embodies”.

The eclectic programme draws special attention to the history of Estonians in the United States through a book presentation, “Estonians in America – 1945-1995, Exiles in a Land of Promise”, conducted by Estonian-American Priit Vesilind, a former photojournalist of the National Geographic magazine. The book was published by the Estonian American National Council in 2016.

The programme also includes lectures and discussions by many other speakers, such as art critic Heie Treier, e-governance expert Hannes Astok and children’s writers Piret Raud and Kätlin Vainola.

WAF choir will also collaborate with local New York-based artists currently working on a musical “The Innocence”. The musical follows two Estonian children across 50 years, through two world wars and across three continents.

While most events take place at the historic New York Estonian House, the festival also holds events at the Scandinavia House and the Immanuel Lutheran Church.

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Cover: We Are Family (WAF) choir performing in Estonia.

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