The kannel ([ˈkɑnːel]) is an Estonian plucked zither, one of the family of Baltic psalteries which includes the Finnish kantele, Russian gusli, the Latvian kokle and the Lithuanian kanklės. The Estonian kannel has a variety of traditional tunings. In Estonia, studying the kannel has made a resurgence after some years of decline.
The kannel became rare in the early 20th century, though surviving in some parts of the Estonian diaspora, until cultural movements under the Soviets encouraged the development and playing of larger chromatic kannels. However, influence from neighboring traditional Finnish kantele players supported the playing of the traditional smaller kannels.
The kannel serves as a national symbol of Estonia; Jakob Hurt's 1875-1876 publication of Estonian folksongs was even entitled Vana Kannel ("The Old Kannel"). The kannel was legendarily played by the Estonian god of song Vanemuine, and the Estonian national epic Kalevipoeg (published in the 1850s) begins with the line: Laena mulle kannelt, Vanemuine! ("Vanemuine, lend me your kannel!").
- Igor Tõnurist
- Tuule Kann
- Mari Kalkun
- Sander Karu (Kandlemees Sander), Estonian zither player
- Kristi Mühling
- Hiiu kannel, the Estonian bowed lyre
- Rait Pihlap, Estonian kannel maker
- Mikhel Soon, Estonian kannel maker
- Raivo Sildoja, Estonian kannel maker
- Postimees: Pärimusmuusika ait lööb uksed valla (in Estonian)
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