Most people have probably never heard of the tiny, Eastern European country of Estonia. It’s one of those postage stamp pieces of land that you might memorize for a geography test and then never think of again. However, it was the site of one of the more remarkable events of the 20th century.
In 1987, after nearly 50 years of brutal occupation by first the Soviets, then the Nazis and then the Soviets again, Estonia decided it wanted to be free. The people fought for their freedom not with guns or riots, but with songs. The most unique aspect of Estonia is that everybody sings. The country has more choral singers and ensembles per capita than anywhere else on earth. The Soviets had banned the traditional folksongs, but when it came time to protest, thousands of people flooded the streets brazenly singing. Thus began the Singing Revolution.
The Soviets rolled in the tanks and troops, but that only strengthened the resistance. At it’s peak, the protests swelled to 300,000 people singing in four-part harmony. On another occasion, protesters formed a human chain 2 million people long, stretching through Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia.
You’re probably wondering why I’m writing all of this (besides it being a great story). Well, someone finally decided to make a documentary about the Singing Revolution. Here’s the trailer, which you should watch.