Scandinavia, Estonia and Iceland 2018 travel blog


11 Sept

Busy day. I’m happy to note that after 1 ½ days of downloading all of the photos from the camera to the computer, I finally have my phone/camera back in business! I’ve been taking LOTS of photos and felt a little lost the time I did not have a camera/phone with me.

Breakfast was in the hotel restraurant; had my usual of cereal, yogurt, nuts, etc. Also had some juice and fruit.

To the bus at 0800 and we drove north to a music museum/lotta museum. A lady (don’t have her name with me), gave us a presentation on folk music in Iceland. She was very interesting….but maybe because this is our 4th capital and multiple presentations, I was not very excited about the day. I had been taking notes during the lectures to try to stay interested and follow along.

This lady has a PhK in music and was obviously very passionate about the topic. She was a very good singer also. She talked about “incantations”; when you sing in nature to reach the other world. She talked about “yokos” (I have a hand out on some of these topics, but of course it’s in my packed luggage!). We sang some phrases and it all sounded like an American Indian chant/song.

During her lecture we could smell the cinnamon rolls that were baking in the café….it was hard to concentrate!

Thinking about the date…it was 9/11. Some many died about 17 years ago when the planes attacked the twin towers, the pentagon and the plane that went down in Pennsylania. Certainly is a challenging day in American history. The ‘world” changed after the attacks.

Her lecture was interesting; she talked about “lamenting”. This is when a lady (usually an older experienced lady in the community) sings and seems to connect with the “other world”. Translike is how I would describe the feeling I got when she sang this. Is this a form of therapy? She said there were also “happy laments”…… One lament has not survived through the ages; the wedding lament. On the morning of the wedding, the mother and her daughter since a “lament” to/with each other. Lamenting is an old tradition; especially in eastern Finland. Western Finland had soothsayers, etc.

She teaches weekend/weeklong lamenting courses.

She also talked about “work songs”. You should sing when you work (mow, feed animals, vacuum, etc). Makes you feel happy.

She also teaches new mothers/expectant mothers about singing, lamenting, etc. She calls it “song birth” and has been teaching this for about 20 years. After helping expectant moms, she starting helping new parents to sing lullibyes. The lullibyes were also “work songs”…working to settle the child and the parents! Said when you put the child to bed you cannot think about your to do list, or what you are going to do with the child is sleeping; you need to concentrate on putting the child to sleep. Need to focus your feelings on the task at hand.

She talked about “youkus” with instruments….

Talked about “kalavaka’s” an old type of singing. Rhyming simple phrases and words. Use a melody and us poetry. Talked about the Finish people and their singing history. Many think the Finns are depressed people, but they are contemplative, meditative and quietly passionate.

Her musical instrument was called a kalnel. She played some songs on this instrument and then she played the Finnish anthem on the piano.

Finally we got to have the cinnamon rolls we had been smelling…..but they were a little dry.

Next was a film on the “Lotta’s” (?) Finnish women who helped during the “Winter war”. When the men went to war, the women took over many of their duties. They also helped support the soldiers with food, cleaning their clothes, etc. The house we were at was a museum to these women. It was very interesting and I took lots of photos, but we did not have much time there. Seemed sort of like the red cross. The building had also housed the food preparation for the Olympics in 1950(?) and has something to do with single mothers.h. Believe the film said there were 3000 lottas; 306 of them died during the war.

The Finnish guide says the word “transmodified”; believe it means restored/reworked (i.e. the building was transmodified into a museum).

Then off to a muscian's home (there is a music school named after him). It was interesting to see his home. I think his name as Sebilas. He wanted to be in the country where he could concentrate on his music. Had about 6 girls (I think; one died from typhoid fever I believe). I took many photos of his home. He like to related colors to musical cords (green, red, yellow, blue, etc). There was a bust of him at the house and he thought the artist made it look too serious so he added a horse shoe to his bust.

We had lunch at a farm house that had been converted to a golf course and tourist center/farm/lodge.

Then off to the home of 3 architects; it was interesting, but it had already been a long day. Not interested in any more museums!

Back to Helsinki, to a cache and the farewell supper.

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