IN THE MYSTICAL LAND OF KAYDARA
Tanel Padar, narraator
Mati Turi, tenor
Rauno Elp, bariton
Priit Volmer, bass
Eesti Rahvuslik Meeskoor RAM
Eesti Riiklik Sümfooniaorkester, dirigent Mihhail Gerts
Videoproduktsioon – Jüri Tallinn
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DVD. Released in 2017. An African initiation rite for vocal soloists, narrator, girls’ choir, male choir, symphony orchestra.
− To Kaydara leydi muuɗum kaawnoyiindi
walaa neɗɗanke waawoya darna hiɓɓa
fa anndina en nde wannoo maa ɗo wonnoo.
Yo caggal kaaƴe njoordii duuɓi seeɗa
tawi jinnaji asidii maaje tildii.
Hammadi ruuyti yehi daroyii e boowal,
nde oolol kanŋinoowol fooyni yeeso
hono ndee fooyre yaynata Laamɗo Ɗokko.
− It was in the mysterious, distant country of Kaydara
which no one can locate exactly
nor tell us when or where the story took place.
It was only a few years after the mountains had hardened,
when the world-forces were just finishing carving out the river beds.
Hesitating, Hammadi advanced to a large crossroads and stopped
at the hour when a soft golden glimmering shone on the horizon
like the aura that lights the One-Eyed King.
Performers: Tanel Padar (narrator), Mati Turi (Demburu − tenor), Rauno Elp (Hammadi − baritone), Priit Volmer (Hamtudo − basso), Girls’ Choir Ellerhein (chorus master Ingrid Kõrvits and Ülle Sander), Estonian National Male Choir RAM (chorus master Rasmus Erismaa), Estonian National Symphony Orchestra (concert master Arvo Leibur), conductor Mihhail Gerts
Video director − Jüri Tallinn
Lyrics in Fulani language by Amadou Hampâté Bâ (1901−1991)
Narrator’s text in Estonian
Estonian translation of lyrics Eva Diallo (Bamako, Mali)
Lyrics adapted and edited by Karin Kastehein
English subtitles by Daniel Whitman
Visual design by Robin Nõgisto, Jaanus Nõgisto and Jüri Tallinn
Recorded live at the Estonia Concert Hall on October 11th, 2015
Sound engineer − Tanel Klesment (in co-operation with Estonian Public Broadcasting)
Camera − Keidi Mäe, Neveli Niit, Mihkel Nõmmik, Kristen Kivistik, Heleri Tamme, Jaan Kalmus Jr, Mart Luukas, Tõnis Peeter Kull
Photos from the expedition African Round − Peeter Vähi
Graphic design − Mart Kivisild
Video editing, DVD authoring and mastering − Jüri Tallinn
Liner notes − Kaisa Luik
Supported by Tiit Pruuli
© 2017 ERP, SSI (Tallinn / Estonia)
Movement I: … After the Mountains Had Hardened
Movement II: Journey to the Underworld
Movement III: Before the Throne of Kaydara
Movement IV: Gold, a Lot of Gold
Movement V: The Death of Demburu and Hamtudo
Movement VI: Coronation of Hammadi
Movement VII: The Mystery of Kaydara
In the Mystical Land of Kaydara is an epic-like traditional tale of the Fulani or Fula people, who live in Mali, Senegal and some regions in Western Africa. This originally oral history was compiled and written down in the Fulani language by a Malian writer and ethnologist Amadou-Hampâté Bâ (1901−1991).
The story of the land of Kaydara is in its essence a description of an initiation rite, a story of consecration − a person, who is deemed worthy gets to know something that others never will. His or her social status is elevated and he or she is given bigger power. But in order to prove their readiness and capability, they must undergo certain tests and trials.
And so, three friends − Hammadi, Hamtudo and Demburu − start their journey towards the mystical land of Kaydara. It is a world of shadows ruled by the invisible Kaydara − the god of knowledge and gold (it is believed that the name Kaydara means ‘purpose’ or ‘end’).
On this journey they encounter different symbols, but the only one who can notice and give important meaning to these symbols is Hammadi. He is also the only one of the three friends, who follows Kaydara’s advice derived from the laws of nature and ancestors experience.
Kaydara gives the friends a lot of gold for their journey. They are warned about the ambiguity of this gesture − the gold can bring them riches and well-being but it can also be a destructive force. Once again, Hammadi is the only one of the three friends who is able to maintain a clear head when faced against challenges, foreseeing that gold, when used wisely, can be helpful in acquiring new knowledge. And so he is blessed to live in happiness and contentment and becomes a great ruler without ever desiring it.
Many of Peeter Vähi’s earlier works have been inspired by distant and exotic places. For example, the cantatas Supreme Silence and Green Tārā are directly related to his repeated stays in Tibetan and Himalayan Buddhist monasteries; percussion concerto Call of Sacred Drums is a result of collaboration with Japanese taiko-drummers; the inspiration for Antartic Concerto is not hard to guess; Mary Magdalene Gospel, lasting more than an hour, was composed after visiting former Coptic churches in Ethiopia. Such is the case for this composition as well − the idea of the piece started growing on the expedition African Round, took the author through 27 African countries in 2012 and 2013. Therefore, Kaydara isn’t technically composed sitting behind a desk or a piano, but is rather Peeter Vähi’s African experiences and impressions that have taken the form of music.
Peeter Vähi doesn’t directly use Fulani folk tunes in this composition, but the exotic colouring is given by the Fulani language and African rhythms. In addition, the percussion arsenal of the symphony orchestra was complemented with various instruments that the composer brought with him from numerous trips to Africa.
Soundtrack of the DVD – Peeter Vähi, In the Mystical Land of Kaydara, Tanel Padar, Mati Turi, Rauno Elp, Priit Volmer, Ellerhein, Estonian National Male Choir, Estonian National Symphony Orchestra, Mihhail Gerts. Live
Watch fragments of the video
Still images from the DVD