Global Notes: Music Of Revolution Unites Estonia With Africa

South African anti-apartheid leader Nelson Mandela with his wife Winnie at his side, raises his fist as he acknowledges the cheers of thousands at a rock concert Monday, April 16, 1990 at London's Wembley Stadium.
South African anti-apartheid leader Nelson Mandela with his wife Winnie at his side, raises his fist as he acknowledges the cheers of thousands at a rock concert Monday, April 16, 1990 at London's Wembley Stadium. AP Photo/Martin Cleaver
South African anti-apartheid leader Nelson Mandela with his wife Winnie at his side, raises his fist as he acknowledges the cheers of thousands at a rock concert Monday, April 16, 1990 at London's Wembley Stadium.
South African anti-apartheid leader Nelson Mandela with his wife Winnie at his side, raises his fist as he acknowledges the cheers of thousands at a rock concert Monday, April 16, 1990 at London's Wembley Stadium. AP Photo/Martin Cleaver

Global Notes: Music Of Revolution Unites Estonia With Africa

When choirs sing, they do something revolutionary. Every individual member of a collective breathes at the same time, feels the same thing, and creates sound where everyone is heard, but nobody created on their own.

That’s not too different from the solidarity of political revolution. Two countries today owe much of their freedom to singing. Estonia’s famous “singing revolution” led the Baltics to independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. Music played a central role in abolishing South Africa’s apartheid regime, including songs about the jailed Nelson Mandela, which were sung at rallies.

Both of these social movements inspired the North Shore Choral Society’s latest project called “Music for Social Change.” This weekend at Regina Dominican High School, the choir will sing music from Estonia, South Africa, and the American civil rights movement.

The choir’s music director, Julia Davids, says these social movements prove that solidarity is possible, and that music still brings about radical social change. Davids joins Mollie Stone, an expert on South African music, to discuss the project in this week’s installment of Global Notes.