Triskele started its activities in 1997 with the aim to perform Estonian folk music, focusing on ancient runosongs and folk hymns. The uniting factor for the members of the group has been their keen interest in early music as well as various folk music traditions. From these sources stem also Triskele's choice of instruments and mood of arrangements. To those familiar with the Estonian musical tradition, both may seem somewhat strange. The earlier experience of the musicians of Triskele ranges over a variety of styles from early polyphony to modern jazz.
To one degree or another, members of Triskele have all been involved with medieval European music by playing in the early music consort Via Sonora and participating in collaboration projects with the most noteworthy early music performers in Estonia (the ensemble Hortus Musicus, the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir, etc.) In their music one can recognise the members' affection for the Arab (and Oriental in general) approach to making music, where the relationship between the performer and the music is intensive and devotional, and the distinctions between listener, performer and music are not very clear.
During the seven years of its activity the Triskele ensemble (Tartu, Estonia) has published three CD-s: "Estonian Folk Hymns" (2000), "South Estonian Folk Hymns" (2001) and "South Estonian Folk Hymns vol. 2" (2002). The ensemble has consistently been active in working with and performing folk hymns, thus trying to draw attention to this little-known tradition. In the last three years, Triskele has concentrated on performing South-Estonian folk hymn melodies. Their Kolga-Jaani song album is the first attempt to publish a CD with the melodies of one parish only.
The symbol triskelionÂ—a figure composed of three running legs emanating from a common centre like spokes in a wheel had probably arrived in Northern Europe already in the Early Bronze Age. The symbol was attributed magical properties and supposed to protect against evil spells. It stood for the sun, the moon and movement as well as change in general. Although during the Viking age the triskelion was thought to represent the ancient Norse Supreme God Odin, it was also used extensively in Christian iconography and symbolism, in particular referring to the Holy Trinity.
The triskelion has reached Estonia through various intermediate cultures and embodies the meanings of different ages. In like manner, the ensemble's music offers reference to the various layers of Estonian folk music. It shows traces of earlier folk songs, polyphonies characteristic to South-Eastern Estonian song and devotional congregation song. All this is further accented by reflections of ancient and Oriental musical traditions influencing members of the ensemble.