There’s music in the air

  • 2012-03-21
  • By Laurence Boyce

OLD AND NEW: Tallinn Music Week offers new sounds, as well as the tried-and-true.

TALLINN - If you visit the international headquarters of Skype, the Nordic Hotel Forum of Estonia’s LHV bank from March 29 – 31, there is a good chance that you’ll hear someone singing. But it’s not because someone has had a few too many beers at lunchtime. Instead, Tallinn Music Week is giving people a unique opportunity to hear artists in a setting not normally associated with music – though there’ll also be plenty of chances to experience traditional venues. Certainly, with 183 bands and artists from 13 different countries performing in concert halls, clubs, cafes and corners the only way to escape the music during Tallinn Music Week will be to stuff cotton wool in your ears. But, with a program that boasts something for everyone, you wouldn’t really want to.

The festival will showcase 33 international performers with Alina Orlova and electronic-acoustic performer Markas Palubenka, both hailing from Lithuania, alongside Latvian band Instrumenti and Latvian singer Sergejs Jegers,  who will be flying the flag for the Baltic region. There’s also a wide range of styles from all corners of the globe, running the gamut from Polish rock in the form of Fonovel, to indie folk stylings from the Austrian band Diver.

But as interesting as discovering these global artists will be, the real strength of Tallinn Music Week is in showcasing the best of what Estonia has to offer. One of the highlights for the local population will be a concert by Liis Lemsalu, the recent winner of “Estonia’s Looking for a Superstar.” Whilst some may be turned off by a showcase of the more commercial aspect of the music business, it shows a commendable willingness from the organizers of Tallinn Music Week to make the event as diverse as possible (and, to be fair, only the most cold-hearted cynic would deny Lemsalu’s obvious talent and popularity).

Indeed, with a number of curators, from the likes of the Viljandi Folk Festival, jazz festival Jazzkaar and the Estonian Composer’s Union Tallinn Music Week can’t help but be as varied as possible. It’s perhaps the only place where a rock band with lovely moniker of Bedwetters can be on the same program as a mezzo-soprano and Rulers of the Deep, the lauded ‘masters of deep house’ (which, for the uninitiated, is a genre of music and not an avant-garde form of architecture).

“We want to take a step forward towards our local music fans and potential audiences by bringing music even closer to them,” said Helen Sildna, the organizer of Tallinn Music Week. “Recent Estonian success stories like Ewert and the Two Dragons have proven both the need and the desire for good, new music. It is indeed our job as a music industry to make Estonian music available to people in new and innovative ways.”

Being in Estonia means that technological innovation is also important and Garage48 – held in the days running up to the Tallinn Music Week – will see one hundred software developers, designers, marketers and visionaries from Estonia and abroad attempt to create 10 to 15 new Internet or mobile services in the field of music and entertainment in a 48 hour period. The best five music products or services will participate a week later on a pitching session at Tallinn Music Week conference, where a jury of international music industry key players and potential investors will give their comments and choose their favorite.

Whilst Tallinn Music Week is an important event that attracts industry professionals from across the world, its main aim is to inspire audiences to check out new music whilst indulging in a few old favorites. Given that Estonia is renowned for its love of song, it’s appropriate that the audiences this year will get to experience – for all intents and purposes – the whole of Tallinn turned into one gigantic stage.

Full details on Tallinn Music Week, including details on how to buy tickets and festival passes, can be found at: