I have been in Tallinn for a week to get some things done when my wife’s son Uku called to invite us to The Estonian Television Studio where he was rehearsing for the Estonian Song competition which will take place on the 19th of February coming up. Uku is performing a Rein Rannap song which he has arranged „Jagatud öö“ .
Heli and I got there just as the studio monitor in the waiting area showed Uku already doing a run through on the stage in studio 4. One of the singers backing him was the very popular Raimondo who was one of the favorites on “Eesti otsib superstaari” competition. Uku is good friends with him as he is with most musicians. Estonia is really just a small family in the glo-bal scheme of things.
Their song is different from what I had expected from both Uku and Rein Rannap. Also, each time I hear it I liked it more and more. Raimondo said it was the same with him. I don’t know how well it will do because the song is different, it is low keyed and has a slight eastern tinge to it. What I liked was that this song wasn’t simply another clone off last year’s winners. Standing in the studio I started getting restless.
Years ago representing the Estonian Defense Forces, I had been a guest on different shows dealing with issues important to soldiers, their parents and friends. I have also twice appeared on coo-king segments on the morning show showing recipes from Eesti Maja.
Many Estonians 15 years ago thought Eesti Majas were all connected -as one big Välis-Eesti Network chain. All Eesti Majas around the world are not connected; all are independent and self sufficient or at least attempt self support. However when Eesti Maja opened I didn’t wish to discourage this misunderstanding especially since this perception gave us a lot of special considerations from Ivi Eenmaa, the then Mayor of Tallinn as well as the different town officials. As it is today, back then all visitors to Tallinn were gratefully received and no one in authority wanted to alienate or discourage any expats from coming to Tallinn.
I have recorded two albums while here in Estonia, one with my sister Pia who flew to Tallinn to record with me, the other was me singing songs I have written and perform. Some of these songs I have performed in this same ETV studio. So, here I was, but this time as a spectator.
This was both exhilarating and frustrating. It was exhilarating because I was backstage of a television studio watching experts doping their things and I didn’t have to stress. I could feel all the focused energy and felt a bit frustrated because I sort of missed being a part of it all. The technicians, sound men, camera men all seemed like kids to me. I remembered them all being much more grown up. It’s the same with policeman, doctors, and firemen; they always surprise me at how much younger they keep getting. Deep down I understand it is me simply getting older, day by day.
I have been living in the country pretty regularly for a couple of years now and- except for working on the solar park project -I thought I was content just feeding the birds, dogs and cat. I paint in spurts of energy. Lately I have again gotten stuck painting and repainting the same paintings over and over again. A couple of days ago I attended the 90th Birthday of my friend, artist Ants Viidalepp.
We have known each other for years and he keeps promising to come and stay with me in Kurenurme for a week or so. Ants is responsible for me starting painting again since I have been here in Estonia.
Ants sat on a chair while Eve Kivi, Jaan Manitski, the sculptor professor Jaan Vares, Tiit Pääsuke and tons of others filed passed to congratulate him on his 90th birthday. We sat together for some time; he asked me what I thought he should do. I said “Sing!” laughingly and he brightened up and said, “YES” and broke out in the song, “Gaudeamus igitur”. Later I saw him intently staring at one of his paintings. He then said to me, “is it wrong for me to enjoy looking at this painting. I haven’t seen it for a long time. It is nice to know that I painted it.” Ants really is a great painter, and for several generations, a great teacher as well.
I suppose creativity is nothing more than a need to externalize what you have boiling up inside. And you need to know that what you feel is important enough to subject others to it. All of this requires a tremendous amount of effort and energy and it is this creative energy that I seemed to be enthralling. With the coming spring comes the dissatisfaction of inaction. And like the coming spring, hopefully this new energy will manifest itself in a new burst of creativity.