The namesake of Alo Cafe is a much beloved musician and composer from the Estonian Singing Revolution. Alo Mattiisen belongs to the dignified list of the twelve greatest Estonian composers, many of whom were instrumental to the re-estamblishment of independence of Estonia on August 21st, 1991. Prior to the country's liberation, Estonia was occupied by Soviet and Nazi authorities for nearly fifty years. Estonian people gathered publicly to sing out their frustration and loyalty to their country for nearly four years, staging peaceful protests with 200,000 citizens in attendance at their peak. An eventual coup in Russia that resulted in the toppling of the Gorbachev regime gave Estonian Parliament and freedom activist groups the opportunity to solidify their independence.
Alo's Owners, Steve and Hilja Martinez are very proud of their Estonian heritage. Their parents were among a small number of lucky Estonian citizens that were able to flee the country by any means possible. This meant a long run to the coastline, taking back alleys and rooftops to avoid capture. It also meant leaving behind all they had known, a source of great pain and suffering. As Estonians, they are very proud that no matter how many times their home has been occupied by various countries seeking a warm winter port, the people have lived on the same land, spoken the same language, danced the same dances, preserved the culture and most importantly, kept singing the songs. Singing is in our souls and in our blood! Every five years a song festival is held in Tallinn, the capital of Estonia. One third of the population shows up for it, and 10,000 voices wearing historical regional clothing from all parishes in Estonia join choirs from all over the world sing as one under the amphitheater. Imagine! The conductor must have all the singers from one side to the other singing at the same time. My Uncle, Olev Hõlpus, was one of these dirigents, and Steve’s brother Gary Distilli sings in the New York men’s choir.
Located in the historic Charles Miller Square, the Northwest corner of 1st Street and Goldwater, behind Cornish Pasty Co.
As the season progresses, we plan to extend our hours and feature local musicians in the evening in our outdoor patio area. After all, we can’t stop singing! We plan to be open on occasional evenings for theme based special dinners. Join our e-mail list and we will keep you informed of upcoming events (email@example.com). You can also find us on facebook.
Or call 480.878.4172 to talk to a member of our staff