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First Kodavere song festival aims to revive Estonian dialect

The Kodavere song festival took place on 2 June
The Kodavere song festival took place on 2 June Copyright KODAVERE PÄRIMUSKESKUS (Kodavere Heritage Centre) / Facebook
Copyright KODAVERE PÄRIMUSKESKUS (Kodavere Heritage Centre) / Facebook
By Elise Morton
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Organisers are hoping to strengthen use of the endangered Kodavere dialect – particularly among younger people – through the joy of singing.

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Estonia has a rich culture of singing, with its song festivals (along with Latvia and Lithuania) added to UNESCO’s register of intangible cultural heritage. One Estonian village, though, was home to a world first at the weekend – the first ever song festival dedicated to eastern Estonia’s Kodavere dialect.

The village of Pala, just a few minutes from the shores of Lake Peipus – across which you can see Russia – played host on Sunday to the Kodavere laalupido song festival, dedicated to reviving the endangered language.

The Kodavere laalupido song festival was dedicated to reviving the local dialect.
The Kodavere laalupido song festival was dedicated to reviving the local dialect.KODAVERE PÄRIMUSKESKUS (Kodavere Heritage Centre) / Facebook

According to the Estonian Folk Culture Centre, a mere couple of hundred people use the Kodavere dialect in their everyday life, most of whom are older people.

With this in mind, two-thirds of the 250 performers were children and young people, Estonian newspaper Postimees said.

As well as local songs from the region, other well-known favourite tunes got the Kodavere treatment and made their debut in the dialect.

The song festival hopes to promote the use of the Kodavere dialect.
The song festival hopes to promote the use of the Kodavere dialect.KODAVERE PÄRIMUSKESKUS (Kodavere Heritage Centre) / Facebook

Estonian national broadcaster ERR said the disappearance of the Kodavere dialect was predicted a century ago – but still it persists, against the odds. 

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