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Raadama Village

Raadama Village, also known as Raadamaa, Raadoma, or Radamaa, is located in Põlva County, in Räpina Rural Municipality. Raadama Village covers an area of 6.35 km2 (2.39 % of the total area of Räpina Rural Municipality). According to the rural municipality register there are 102 people living in Raadama Village (as of 1 August 2012). Twenty-nine households are in use all year round (as of 2006).

About the history

According to the Livonian Peasantry Law of 1819, there had to be a rural municipality school in each rural municipality. It is known that there was a school operating in Raadama as early as 1812. In 1848, the number of students listed was 103. When construction of new 5-year study-period ministry schools began at the turn of the 19th century, one of them was also planned for Raadama. In 1901, the building of a new school house with a mansard storey was finished. This resulted in the conclusion of the work of the rural municipality school in Raadama, the school for orthodox children in Linte Village and, later also, the schools in Kureküla, Saareküla, Naha and Tooste. The students were accommodated in the boarding school on the mansard storey and attic rooms of the building. In the period preceding 1962, the school operated for a few years as a 7-class school and, as of 1 September 1962, as a primary school. Raadama Primary School was closed in 1970.

Raadama Village is the birth place of Elmar Luhats (1908–1991), a well-known singer, who played a traditional Estonian musical instrument and the contrabass, was the head of a folk instrument ensemble, and an instrument master. He came from a family with a long tradition of popular musicians. His grandfather, Paap Loha, was a well-known and favoured wedding musician. At home, he had 5-6 instruments and Elmar’s father taught village boys to play the violin and the harp. Elmar started to make different instruments already as a herdsboy. This experience gave him a strong push, and so it came that Elmar Luhats made more than 150 traditional Estonian instruments during his lifetime; many of them very different from each other – including a wooden gong, string instruments, bag instruments, harps, and many others.

Elmar Luhats was also a professional musician and an opera soloist. He graduated from Tartu’s Highest Musical School in 1937, having studied singing and the contrabass. He played the contrabass in the theatre Vanemuine from 1932 to 1951, and was the opera soloist (baritone) there from 1951-1960. Luhats was also a teacher of contrabass and traditional Estonian instruments in the Tartu Musical School and the conductor of a TRÜ traditional instrument orchestra (1954–1967).

The traditions of the Luhats family are carried on by Elmar’s son Toivo Luhats, who is also a well-known popular musician, instrument maker and the leader of the folk music ensemble Piibar.