Revolution Songs

Tallinn Song Festival Grounds | Алекс Тевтонский Google Maps

We were young then. Idealistic. We were braver, we were better, we were united.

Jüri stood in the empty field, stiff wind ruffling his graying hair, his cigarette smoke swept east by the wind. East to Russia.

“It seems so empty now,” I said to fill the quiet. I remember when we came all those many years ago, the pair of us in his old VW, all the way from Võru.

Jüri turned to me and nodded.

Back then more than 300,000 had come to Tallinn Song Festival Grounds to sing. Journalists wrote, activists spoke, singers wrote songs, and by September 1988, a fifth of the nation came together to sing for Estonian values. The Singing Revolution, they called it. We made history together, Jüri and I.

But now the rumblings come again. To outsiders, Estonia is but a pawn on their strategic chessboard. They underestimate the power of our song.

149 words

This has been an edition of What Pegman Saw. To read more stories inspired by the prompt, click here.

If you’re interested in the real-life inspiration for this fictional story, you might enjoy 30 years since the most important Singing Revolution concert.

I apologize for being late to the party! Here in Iowa, we’ve been dealing with snowstorms and shoveling, school cancellations and polar vortexes. Only in Iowa does kids’ show choir go on while everything else is cancelled.


  1. One of those stories that shiver my back. Music has greater power than we usually accord it. Enjoyed the read.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Crimsonprose! Music does indeed have great powers. The real-life story was so inspiring.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. That was an amazing piece of writing k. Bravo!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aww, very kind of you. So glad you liked it, Violet!


  3. Love this, Karen. You capture the fear and determination of your brave characters so well. Tragic that the same nations can repeatedly become pawns of stronger ones. So well written


    1. Thanks for your kind words Lynn. I think you’ve got a new pic. I love it!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. My pleasure, Karen. I always look forward to reading your stories. And yes, a new gravatar – thank you. I was tired of seeing the same old me staring back 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Great voice in this piece. Estonia has been fought over for hundreds of years. I love the idea that the songs can save them.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! This was the first I’ve ever heard of a revolution of song. What a wonderful way to bring about change.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I hear the faint echoes of their song stirring their hearts and minds again. Beautifully written piece, Karen, full of emotional value.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your kind words. That means a lot, coming from you!

      Liked by 1 person

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