Recordings from the Estonian Folklore Archives 3

Mari Kilu

Juuli Ott, Marie Paemurd, Herbert Tampere, August Pulst, Liisu Tamp and Mari Kilu at the Music Museum in 1936. Photo by P. Parikas. ERA, Foto 828.

In Harjumaa County the older singing traditions survived longest in continuous use in the coastal parishes. Mari Kilu (1851–1947) lived in Randvere village just outside Tallinn in Jõelähtme Parish. Her little thatch-roofed cottage was right by the sea. Mari Kilu made her living mainly through fishing: “My hands have felt plenty of lightning and pain rowing on the sea during storms.” Mari had started singing as soon as she was old enough to climb onto the village swing. As a young girl she was the leader of all the local young people when it came to singing and playing. Later on tour with folk musicians Mari was a tireless singer despite her old age and she was the first one to twirl about on the dance floor at the dance parties after the performances. The National Radio recorded five regilaul from her in 1936, two of which were swinging songs that she sung in the old fashioned way along with Liisu Tamp and two other were song games. Mari Kilu, and Liisu Tamp performed also on the tours that August Pulst from Estonian Theatre and Music Museum organized in the 1920’s and 1930’s to (re)introduce folk music.