"Choirs like this came about because Estonia didn't have an army," the leading folk musician Jaak Johannsen told me. Estonian men, it seems, promote their nationalist machismo through their vocal cords. A gigantic painting on the wall of the choir's practice room depicts its original director, Gustav Ernesaks. He, like so many Estonian men during the Second World War, was sent to Russia for enforced labour, where he gathered together his compatriots to form what is now the Estonian National Male Choir.
Next month, the choir visits Scotland as part of Estonian Days in Scotland, when it will perform some of Tormis's vast choral repertoire in the new Scottish Parliament, followed by a public concert at Edinburgh's Greyfriars Kirk. Folk musicians, including Johannson, will also be in various venues in Glasgow, Edinburgh and Inverness and heading up to Shetland to perform with Aly Bain and Phil Cunningham.
Der im Scotsman erwähnte Veljo Tormis hat auch im deutschsprachigen Raum 1992 eine CD veröffentlicht: Forgotten Peoples bei ECM Reords, Lieder der kleinen finnougrischen Völker der Liven, Voten, Izhoren, Ingrier, Wepsen und Karelier.
Wie bedeutend Chormusik für Estland ist, zeigt das Foto vom großen Festival 1965- Die Bunte Farbbildbericht,das Stadion ist nur zum Singen gebaut worden.