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The Hedgehogs Ensemble of Indianapolis

Ain and Tereze playing bagpipes
Ain Haas and Tereze Inveiss of Siilikesed playing Baltic bagpipes.
Read a review of this Baltic music ensemble.

Indiana Luthiers
Watch this 4-minute video featuring Hedgehog members and luthiers Ain Haas and Ieva Johnson demonstrating Baltic string instrument building, and ending with an excerpt of a Hedgehogs rehearsal.
"Siilikesed" in Estonian, "ezisi" in Latvian, "hedgehogs" in English, this 8-member ensemble includes musicians of Estonian, Latvian, and American origin. It was formed in the year 2000. The musicians' specialty is the presentation of medleys of similar or at least compatible tunes from different nationalities of northeastern Europe.

The Hedgehogs have performed at celebrations of local Estonian, Latvian, Lithuanian, and Swedish organizations, open-air concerts in Eagle Creek Park, the International Festival of Indianapolis, Indiana University ceremonies, and public radio broadcasts in Bloomington. There have also been performances in other states: at the international festival of Dayton (Ohio), the Latvian summer camp "Garezers" (Long Lake) near Three Rivers (Michigan), and the Milwaukee Latvian House (Wisconsin), as well as at regional meetings of Midwestern Estonians and Latvians, when these occur in Indianapolis. The ensemble often performs with Latvian folk dancers, who have learned Estonian dances, too.

The Hedgehogs play authentic folk instruments, mostly made by the group members themselves, using ethnographic museum specimens and archeological finds as a guide. Most of the others were made by instrument makers in or from Estonia and Latvia. The collection of instruments includes the archaic and modern Estonian kannel, archaic Latvian kokle, chord zither, Novgorod lyre, bagpipe, wood flute/recorder, bowed harp, Latvian giga (two-string trough fiddle), accordion, guitar, drum, and other percussion instruments. The Hedgehogs issued a CD recording in February 2005, a second CD in June 2007, and a third CD in November 2012. They include primarily folk songs from Estonia and Latvia, but also some tunes from other lands and a couple of original compositions. All CDs come with a booklet of information about the origin of the tunes and instruments, as well as color photos of the instruments and musicians. You can listen to some excerpts here.

A track from the first CD called "Sad Songs Medley," consisting of three archaic Estonian runic melodies, was chosen for a recording representing the musical scene of Indianapolis (Indy MP3 Project). Among some 600 soloists or ensembles, a fourth made the final cut, including the Hedgehogs.