Estonian folk group Pillipiigad (meaning maidens playing an instrument) was established in 1987 by one of its present leaders Juta Helilaid. Last year, the different casts of the group celebrated the 30th anniversary of  Pillipiigad with a concert. Through the years, there have been four different casts of girls playing in the group. Two of them are active at the moment, one of them consisting of children aged 10-13 and the other of girls aged 15-22. Altogether, there are 25 members of Pillipiigad now, practicing twice a week in Kose Music School in Harju county.

So far, the active period of the group has been good timing. New winds blowing in Estonia in 1990ies – the re-establishment of independence and building up the republic – has been a favourable time for Estonian culture. Lots of folk groups acted as ambassadors of the country on several international festivals and competitions all over Europe.

The group has given more than 500 concerts during its existence, performing old folk songs as well as instrumental folk music.

The programs have been built up on scientific basis. Participants of international folk festivals are supposed to perform programs based on authentic material, so the leaders of the group Juta Helilaid and Angelika Kadarik are constantly to be found in the Theatre and Music Museum, looking for suitable music and putting together new programs.

Different casts of the group have performed in Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Russia,  Finland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Great Britain, Poland, the Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Switzerland, France, Spain, Italy, Austria, Makedonia, Serbia and Slovakia.

The most exotic tour took the group from Siberia up to Mongolian border, where the girls also met local Estonians. Another interesting project was carried out in a  free school of Geneva in Switzerland, where the girls taught Estonian folk music to local children. In the end of the project, they gave two concerts together, where they performed only Estonian folk music.

Last year the group participated in an all-European competition of folk groups in Slovakia, where they competed with 54 youth ensembles from different countries and returned as prize winners. The girls came back with a strong conviction that they have chosen the right way.


2010,2013 Spivacovi the winner of the competition etc