Sunday, 24 November 2013

Sing Out

To celebrate their Cultural Heritage Year 2013 Estonia issued this souvenir sheet. It was also the 10th Anniversary of the UNESCO Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage who had proclaimed the Seto singing tradition as a Masterpiece of Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity in 2009.

The Seto people have been described as living on the borders of two worlds, living mostly in SW Estonia but also over the border in the Pechong district of Russia.   Their polyphonic singing tradition called leelo is one of a lead singer delivering the verse followed by the choir.  Lyrics are learned from former performers but the skill of composition is the mark of an true lead singer.  The majority of choirs are composed of women and the most notable singer is crowned on Seto Kingdom Day as the "Mother of Songs".  Song infuses everyday life and covers major events in lifetime as well as little things like picking berries.  I don't know which choir is shown on the souvenir sheet but I like how the FDC shows a group of young girls continuing the tradition of leelo singing.
2012: Britons of Distinction
Here is someone who sang everything from folk songs to classical and was also accomplished pianist, the contralto Kathleen Ferrier whose death from cancer came at the height of her fame.   A stunning voice that is probably mostly heard nowadays, sixty years after her death, in the rendition of "Blow the Wind Southerly".
 Lastly we have "La Stupenda", the Great One, Joan Sutherland (Luciano Pavarotti called her "the voice of the century").  Making her concert début in Sydney in 1947 and at London's Convent Garden in 1952 she became an international star after performing in Donizetti's 'Lucia di Lammermoor' in 1959.  This demanding role remained in her repertoire for over thirty years and the stamp shows her as Lucia in that opera  from a 1980 photograph by Branco Gaica.  The cover shows her in a lighter role of Anna Glawari in The Merry Wives. Dame Joan gave her final performance in 1990 but after death in 2010 the Sydney Opera House
2010: Marking the Occasion
changed the name of its Opera Theatre (home of Opera Australia) to the Joan Sutherland Theatre 

An entry to Viridian Postcard's Sunday Stamps theme of  - Singers

9 comments:

Bob Scotney said...

I missed out on that Kathleen Ferrier stamp unfortunately - she had a lovely voice.
The Seto people and their leelo singing are totally new for me - I've learnt something again from Sunday Stamps.

Lisa B said...

Excellent stamps for a challenging theme. I hadn't seen the GB one. The minisheet with the choir is very pretty.

Sheila @ A Postcard a Day said...

I confess I didn't know Joan Sutherland was Australian.

I've just been listening to some Seto Leelo on YouTube - love it!

luvlinens said...

I love the black and white stamp of Kathleen Ferrier. It makes me think of all those "Golden age" Hollywood movie stars.

Postcardy said...

Interesting post. I wasn't familiar with the Seto singing tradition or the famous singers.

viridian said...

I really like learning something new. Now I know about the Seto singing too. All these stamps are wonderful.

Heleen said...

What a nice variety, not only of sorts of stamps, but also of styles of singing! Interesting information, too. I didn't know Seto Leelo music, and similar to Sheila I listened to some of their music on youtube. I love their polyphonic singing (reminds me a bit of the singers of 'le mystere des voix Bulgares').
Thank you for sharing!

VioletSky said...

I, too, had to look on youtube for some Seto Leelo music. It has a lovely sound (at least some of the clips I found did).
Dame Sutherland was familiar to me, but I wasn't sure of Kathleen Ferrier. She did have a wonderful voice. Would loved to have heard either of these women live on stage.

Hawwa said...

Difficult to beat your selection! ;)