Finding the unpolished piece of ruby

  • 2011-03-23
  • By Antra Feldmane

OUR SPACE: Success in this edition of Tallinn Music Week is due to thoughtful planning by the organizing team, says Toomas Olljum.

TALLINN - The third edition of Tallinn Music Week (TMW) will celebrate Tallinn being the European Capital of Culture this year, and is one of its highlight events for music fans both in Estonia and abroad. Tallinn Music Week is a showcase festival and a music industry networking event that started in 2009.

Having partnered up with the European Capital of Culture Tallinn 2011 and the country’s very own brainchild, Skype, the event is a strong new initiative with the aim of integrating the Estonian music scene effectively into the European music industry circuit, thus providing a new platform for the country’s best talent to spread further from Estonia.
Toomas Olljum, the representative of TMW, explains: “I believe the success of Tallinn Music Week lies in its organizing team, thoughtful planning and a well thought-out general idea. Helen Sildna is the mastermind behind it. Although there are similar festivals across the globe, TMW had to be modeled for our space. She had the vision and courage a few years ago to set up a showcase festival.”

More encouraging success stories are already taking shape, with last year’s Skype Award winner Iiris, fire-folkers “Svjata Vatra” and the mysterious bedroom synth-songstress Maria Minerva. There are many others - all stirring up levels of excitement outside Estonia.

Singer-songwriter Goran Gora and rock band “Soundarcade” are the chosen delegates from Latvia so far. They had to struggle between 280 acts from across the world. Goran Gora shares his opinion: “TMW is a really important event here and, so far, no action in the Baltics has been able to attract foreign employers in the music business. What’s more, this event is a way for me to show the desire to return with important contacts in my pocket. I think TMW somehow shows the Baltic music scene as yet an unpolished piece of ruby.

During its third edition, TMW presents a lineup of almost 150 bands and artists from 10 different countries, 124 of which are from Estonia. The showcase venues include the festival’s hot spot Von Krahl as well as Tallinn’s biggest live venue Rock Cafe. For the first time this year, a special night of classical music is to be held at the National Estonia Concert Hall. Tallinn’s pride of modern cutting edge architecture, the Rotermanni Center, is to be open for folk and jazz. Meanwhile, club Korter hosts the Estonian hip-hop stars together with the festival after-party on Saturday.

TMW conference is held to discuss the present and the future of the music business with the focus on new business models and innovative artist management. In cooperation with the Estonian Academy of Music and Theater and a newly formed Estonian Music Development Center, a training program for music managers is run throughout the year. This helps to take the initiative of supporting young Estonian music managers even further. 

“It is easy to fail when you start off bigger than you can handle. That’s why it has been able to grow each year and attract more foreign delegates, but most importantly, bands from our neighboring countries as well. Of course, the timing was perfect. The Estonian music scene has blossomed during the last few years,” points out Olljum. Girts Majors, the director of Positivus Festival, which is held annually in Riga, also adds that “showing up on TMW seems to offer more options to be noticed than it would be in similar events in Europe.”

The Estonian scene, all in all, has a tendency to grow and seems rather exciting. The venues are with good capacity and are unique, too. Estonian music is doing better than ever. The great thing is that youngsters are making a lot of different kinds of music – pop and jazz, and they add their own flavor to it. Our music scene has become very versatile, it’s not stuck in cliches any longer,” thinks Olljum.

TMW starts on March 24 and continues till Saturday, March 26. Check schedules and artists and find out who else is coming: