Tuesday, April 13, 2004


Do the children really greet the competitions with merry and joy, or is it just their professional look towards the cameras? In English Laulukarusell means merry-go-round of singers. Since the program “Entel-tentel” in 1968 the children singing contests in the studio of Estonian public TV have been run every year with the involvement of young musicians all over the country. The gig involves children under nine-teen, among who many start off their career as a musician.

The executive producer of the music project Eve Viilup is in charge of finding the young talents of Laulukarusell in four categories. Every year we have an opportunity to meet the new Estonian talents together with Aarne Saluveer and ETV Girls Choir. Although Antti Kammiste, a man with a big smile on his face leads his studio ensemble throughout the contest, we find the choir very attractive behind the artists. And ofcouse, the anchor of the show, internationally known pop star Electra should also be noticed for her glamor every time the cameras are turned on her. People say that Electra looks as if she still wants to go on the stage with her strong make-up and loose clothes enclosing her body. But we listen to the music. Maybe it is pop music, but in collaboration with the band we might be surprised to hear the singers also presenting remarkable jazzy improvisations.

The first groups are made up of younger children from seven to twelve. Not many of them do sing lullaby or talk about their teddybear – there is a passon to interprate music in new dimensions. Today easy rock and classical estrade as the favourite choice of those groups show the influence of the world music on young children. The contest groups which present the work of children between thirteen and fifteen, and sixteen and eighteen, could already be related to the legendary Kaks Takti Ette categories. Although in Laulukarusell the elder singers could not be considered grown-up artists, they manage to show the same skills and mellow sound in their performances of well-known Lennon songs, jazz ballads and Ave Maria as TV program Kaks Takti Ette, where birth has been given to the many of the Estonian music stars.

Recently we could hear Mai Jõgi singing “Lullaby of Birdlands” with an original combination of the music from the children choir, Kirsi Viitmaa presenting Sinatra’s “Theme from New York, New York” and Anneliis Kits singing “Pay Attention” in jazzy funk. With the improvement of the skills among young children, the fear of the others rises. They are afraid to loose the competition. According to an anonymous instructor of a semi-final in one Estonian county the first year came to her as a shock – she had never seen children being embarrassed in such a scoffing way. The children had tears running down their cheeks, they were running home. “I was there. I am very sad for being dropped out of the final contest, because I did so much hard work on my song. In another moment I found all my work flushed down the toilet bowl,” says Eliise, one of the participants. Probably only the self-confidence, and the hard work with music teachers could turn her luck in the future. On the other hand it seems that the local jury is not regarding one’s personal work and the great polishment on his/hers skills, but find it important to compare the overall qualities between all the children. Moreover, the TV audience will probably vote more in favour of the singers who look most colourful in their appearance. Making oneself attractive is just one required skill for the artist. The competitors must not only gain high qualities in singing, but also prepare for the hard work in the competition.

No one could ever be sure whether the young children are to be found more talented behind the stage. Even after winning the contest the recognition as a musician has yet to come, for instance through the participation in international contests or commercial projects. Siret Kiisla who won Laulukarusell 2004 puts his e-mail address into Postimees internet forum:”I won the contest in 2004. Tomorrow I shall go to Tallinn. Please write me letters, my address is siret95@hot.ee”.

Some parents find the sad moments important for the development of the child. It is claimed that children who have taken part of different competitions since their days in the kindergarten know also how to loose the contests in the world of ambitious people. Each musician seems to have the need for stumbling in front of the stage at least once in his/her life - it shall help the young talents find their path to the right arena.


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