In partnership with the
Ministry of Culture of Estonia, the Tallinn State Conservatory of Music and Theatre, the Embassy of Estonia in France and the Estonian Honorary Consulate in Marseille.


Participating in and learning about the very ancient singing practices of Estonian and other Finno-Ugric people (the Seto, Ingrian, Moksha Mordvin, Udmurt) dating back up to 1000-2000 years, and understanding the meanings of songs and singing in their traditional environment.


Estonian, Seto and Ingrian songs belong to the runo song tradition, known from the Kalevala epic. In addition to our own native runo song, we will teach a couple of songs from the eastern Finno-Ugric peoples Moksha and Udmurt (Bessermans). The songs are related to different community rituals and everyday life, they lead us into the way of feelings and thoughts of the pre-modern people.

The melodies of the Estonian songs are unison (partly heterophonic). The Seto, Ingrian (Izhorian), Moksha and Udmurt songs offer us a possibility to have an insight into a different kind of multipart singing, that sounds quite exotic in the context of the Western music. Noteworthy is the bodily aspect of the traditional co-singing, starting from a powerful way to produce the sound to special movements and dance related to singing.

These old singing cultures have reached 21st century both, by living tradition (at Kihnu island and Seto parish in Estonia, also by eastern Finno-Ugric people) and by the plentiful archive resources.

Although most of the songs are learned from ladies and we as women keep on singing and carrying these traditions further, also men are welcome to our workshop, as we also teach men’s songs.


  • Learning the different variations of a unison melody and getting accustomed to heterophonic sound.
  • Learning the principles of different types of multipart singing, acquiring different parts, and achieving traditional rich sound in singing.
  • Learning the simple dance movements that accompany some of the songs.
  • Reflecting on the meanings and performance contexts of old songs.


This course is open to everyone who wishes to sing and has interest to experience different cultures.

OTHERS : 200 €


Janika Oras

Janika Oras is an ethnomusicologist, senior researcher in the Estonian Folklore Archives of the Estonian Literary Museum. She also teaches traditional music and singing in Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre and Viljandi Culture Academy of the University of Tartu and gives workshops mainly on traditional songs of Estonian and Finno-Ugric, but also other peoples. Her research focuses on Estonian traditional song culture, traditional and contemporary practices of singing as well as poetic-musical and performative properties of traditional song. She has also studied the history and development of Estonian folklore collections. During fieldworks in Estonia and among Eastern Finno-Ugric peoples she has collected various materials on traditional singing.

Marion Selgall

Currently Marion is studying singing at the traditional music department in Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre. Before that, she has been studying Estonian and Comparative Folklore at Tartu University. Marion Selgall is a singer. She has been singing Estonian and other people’s folksongs for more than 20 years. Marion is a member of an Estonian folk hymns inspired group, called 6hunesseq. She is also participating in social projects (like singing with different communities, singing at hospitals).

Karoliina Kreintaal

Karoliina Kreintaal is a performing artist and a lecturer in Estonian folk music. She’s an active performer in the folk scene with groups such as Tintura, Sounds and Stories from Ruhnu Island, Candango Trio and Bagpipe John’s Trio (Torupilli Jussi Trio).

Her main instruments are fiddle, bowed lyre and voice. She’s currently teaching and being a coordinator of the folk music studies at the Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre. Her interest and connection with the old folk song tradition began during her university studies, while she attended many fields recording trips to several Finno-Ugric nations. She’s also into documentary photography which is where two of her passions – folk music traditions and photography meet.