NEWS blog

18 April 2012

Kreatiivmootor will play at the 16th Sergey Kuryokhin International Festival (SKIF) in St Petersburg

Photo: Aron Urb

The frenzied art-kraut-techno-improv ensemble Kreatiivmootor will play at the 16th Sergey Kuryokhin International Festival (SKIF) to be held in St Petersburg, Russia on May 18-19.

"Estonia’s paced up experimentalist’s Kreatiivmootor, back on their own turf after a year-round trip of European showcases following an excellent show at last year’s TMW, again delivered a fully cranked up and frenetic live performance deserved of their hot ticket status." (AP Childs, Shout4Music 2012)"Few bands can keep speed with the vast imagination of Japanese rhythmic-noise collective Boredoms, but this is one of them. Kreatiivmootor are lightning in a bottle – teeming with energy, truly unique and utterly special." (John Brainlove, The Line Of Best Fit 2012)

12 April 2012

Vali oma lemmik Tallinn Music Weekil esinenud Eesti artist Skype’i auhinna võitjaks!



Täna, 12. aprillil avame TMW kodulehel hääletuse mainekale Skype’s Go Change the World Award tiitlile. See on auhind, mille võitja valivad Tallinn Music Week delegaadid ja välispress koos Skype’i meeskonna ja publikuga. Auhinna vääriline artist peab omama värskeid ideid ja uuenduslikku DNA-d. Artist peab olema originaalne, silmapaistev ja ka piisavalt professionaalne, et lüüa läbi rahvusvahelisel areenil. Skype’i auhind pannakse välja konkreetse eesmärgiga – pakkuda võitnud bändile võimalust oma karjääri heaks midagi vajalikku korda saata. Maineka tiitliga kaasneb rahaline auhind summas €3500. 
Hääletada saab valides rippmenüüst oma favoriidi nime ning vajutades nuppu „cast your vote“, hääletus toimub siin:
Tallinn Music Week 2009 Skype auhinna võitjaks oli Popidiot, 2010. aastal Iiris ja 2011. aastal Ewert and the Two Dragons.
Hääletus kestab kuni 16. aprillini kell 12:00. 
Fotod festivalist:

10 April 2012

Tallinn Music Week 2012 was a success!


The annual showcase festival and music industry conference Tallinn Music Week took place for the fourth time and this year presented a record number of promising artists from 13 countries. The 183 bands and artists performing on 27 festival stages gathered 11 200 visitors. The festival’s conference programme was attended by 589 local and international delegates.

The conference opening hosted a welcome speech by the President of Estonia Toomas Hendrik Ilves, who revealed an extensive knowledge of rock music, citing Neil Young and PJ Harveyandalso touched upon the connection of rock’n’roll to democracy and freedom of speech, pointing out the recent arrests of the members of a Russian punk band Pussy Riot. The speech can be viewed in full:

For the first conference panel Anna Hildur Hildibrandsdottir presented the strategy and goals for Nordic Music Export offices (NOMEX), followed by discussion on trends in European music exports. TMW conference also covered topics like copyright, models of music entrepreneurship, the role of a manager, career opportunities of classical music artists and hosted a pitching session for innovative music products and services of Garage48 Tallinn Music. Celebrity interviews with two music industry legends, the prolific artist manager Edward Bicknelland Russian cultural figure Artemyi "Artjom" Troitsky both inspired and entertained the audience.

589 music entrepreneurs and representatives of music organizations took part of the conference as delegates, among them 306 from abroad and 283 from Estonia. 108 delegates were present from Finland, 46 delegates from Latvia, 34 from UK, 27 from Germany and 19 from Russia.

“We are happy to see that TMW has now a solid place at the annual calendars for our region’s music industry key players and organizations. If we manage to boost up the artist and knowledge exchange between the neighbouring countries by making it possible for the right people to meet each other, we have already succeeded, simultaneously providing a gateway into the market for the whole Europe and the world. Just five years ago it was quite rare to see an Estonian band play in Finland or Latvia and as rare to see any Latvian bands play in Estonia. Things have changed significantly and suddenly the whole region is a bigger and more open market place for new talent, “ comments the head organizer of TMW, Helen Sildna.

Meanwhile, right after TMW, European Talent Exchange Programme released a statement, saying Estonia’s Ewert and the Two Dragons are doing best out of this year’s ETEP program following Eurosonic 2012 and the band have been confirmed to play at festivals in Finland, Sweden, Belgium, France and Lithuania.  Ewert and the Two Dragons were in fact the Skype Award winners of TMW 2011 and within a year their career has taken them to festivals across Europe together with their first tour in North America.

The Skype Award winner 2012 will soon be announced and the prize of 3500 EUR will go to an artist with the most international potential as selected amongst TMW delegates.

During the 4 years of TMW a lot has happened to the music industry of Estonia: in 2010 an industry’s platform organization Estonian Music Development Centre was established, in 2010 the first master-class of Estonian music entrepreneurs kicked off, in 2011 the organization together with TMW got the first solid 2-year funding for developing export activities through Enterprise Estonia (EAS). “TMW has a key role in shaping the Estonian music export strategy and the festival is an important partner for the government when developing the best support measures that would help musicians to reach international markets,“ comments the undersecretary for fine arts at the ministry of culture Ragnar Siil.


Dates for Tallinn Music Week 2013 will soon be announced.

Photos for media use:


TMW statistics:



27 stages

183 artists from 13 countries

150 artists from Estonia

11 200 festival visitors

589 delegates, 283 from Estonia

306 international delegates

61 549 unique hits on the website from 110 countries



16 stages

147 artists from 10 countries

123 artists from Estonia

7600 festival visitors

423 delegates, 229 from Estonia

194 international delegates

52 483 unique hits on the website from 88 countries


The Guardian, Helienne Lindvall: “Tallinn Music Week suggested the Baltic States would be the next region to burst on to the European music scene. It was clear right from the start that last week's TallinnMusicWeekwas not your ordinary music festival – and Estonia not your average country. The Estonian president, Toomas Hendrik Ilves, opened the festivities by reminiscing about his days at CBGBsin New York, mentioning Neil Young, quoting lyrics from PJ Harvey's Let England Shake, and touching on the perils of being an outspoken musician when the country was part of the Soviet Union.”


Loud and Quiet, Andrew Childs: "Over the weekend, Tallinn Music Week (TMW) experienced a significant rise in music executive types who would normally associate themselves with the larger and more established showcase conferences, like SXSW, CMJ and our own Great Escape. Considering the event’s previous success stories, which include local folk-pop act Ewert & The Two Dragons, who have recently started to make waves in the British music media and across central Europe, it is abundantly clear why UK-based music execs have wised up to the delights the picturesque Estonian capital has to offer.”


Jonas Holst, A&R, Sony/ATV Music Publishing Scandinavia:“Without the efforts from Tallinn Music Week, the focus on Estonian music would be a lot less. To make the artist/bands/labels/manager easy to access is very valuable for international music industry. You build relationships and continue to work with them over a long period of time thanks to TMW. Nothing is instant and these long and steady relations are fantastic when they work, and they do thanks to the various platforms and opportunities built by Tallinn Music Week. The goodwill and visibility of Estonian music and artists has TMW a lot to thank for. I’m not sure there is an equivalent anywhere in the world, to access almost everything and everyone in Estonia at once.”


Adam Harper, the Wire Magazine: “Tallinn Music Week has proven that a country as small as Estonia punches well above its weight in terms of musical talent. The degree of technical ability and polish shown, across many different genres, both live and on record, was very impressive. What's more, Tallinn's musical community is warm, well informed and enthusiastic. In particular, I was amazed at the address given by President Ilves, which proved indicative of the passion and connoisseur-ship I was to encounter in the following days - such ardent and detailed insight into the relation between music and politics barely exists in the UK's Houses of Parliament or even many of its arts-supporting institutions. TMW was a thought-provoking window on music-making culture not just in and around Estonia, but as regards the rest of the world too."


Ville Kipeläinen, Fullsteam Agency: “After 4 years, Tallinn Music Week is already among the top 5 showcase festivals in the world, which is an amazing accomplishment in itself. Secondly, the Estonian music scene has leapfrogged past most European countries as one of the most exciting sources of emerging talent. Tallinn Music Week is a productive and enjoyable event that just keeps getting better and better."


Jonas Sjöström, Playground Music Scandinavia: “Tallinn Music Week combines the chance to see a lot of interesting local bands at great venues and meet professionals colleagues from all over Europe in a very relaxed atmosphere. The old town in Tallinn provides a fantastic background for the emerging Baltic music industry to meet with the European industry. Playground will be back!”


Sine Tofte Hannibal, Nordlichter Biennale 2012 Berlin: “The programme really showed the variety of genres constituting the Estonian music scene and the ebullient pool of talent, and it definitely makes sense to mix the genres since I as a foreigner gain a much wider and distinctive insight into the music scene and shows all the interesting things going on cross genre. The highlight for me was definitely the Estonian Music Days show case, which was very well planned with a great programme of concerts suiting the venue very well and composers and ensembles of a high standard, a very good form with concerts alternating two rooms and a really good atmosphere. Furthermore, I really enjoyed the concerts at Theatre No99, which presented bands also of a really high standard, playing a playful, appealing and joyful music that to me - meant as something very positive - represented something more Estonian and unique than international and therefore made a great impression.”


Ilya Bortnuk, Light Music (RUS): “I think that TMW growing up and developing appreciably, the varity of the delegates from the different countries is growing up as well. Moreover I can say that TWW was a real meeting point between Russia and Baltics this year. Estonian music scene is developing remarkably - there are a lot of interesting musicians in different genres. I would like to note such artists as Legshaker, Mimicry, Tiit Kikas, Mart Avi.”



Tallinn Music Week thanks our partners and supporters:

Nordic Hotel Forum, Skype, LHV Bank, Kultuurikatel, Tuborg Music, VW Beetle, Estonian Air, Tallink, Hansabuss, Eventech, RGB, 360 Event Service, ERR, Postimees, Anne & Stiil, Viru Keskus, Apollo bookshop, Rada7, Garage48, Velvet, Ministry of Culture, Estonian Cultural Endowment, Tallinn Heritage Board, Tallinn Enterprise Department, EAS, Embassy of USA, British Council, EAÜ and Estonian Music Export. TMW conference took place in cooperation with Estonian Music Development Centre, TMW designs are created by AKU Collective.

05 April 2012

Anne&Stiil valis TMW stiilseimaks koosseisuks Tenfold Rabbiti

Eesti andekaim ja stiilseim ajakiri Anne & Stiil koostöös Tallinn Music Weekiga andsid sel aastal esimest korda välja stiiliauhinna, mille pälvis ülekaalukalt ansambel Tenfold Rabbit. Võitja valis ajakirja toimetus välja lugejate kaasabil ajakirja Facebook-lehel.

Toimetusele jäi silma mitmeid suurepäraselt andekaid esinejaid, ent lugejate silmis oli vaid üks võitja - juba konkursil „Eesti Laul 2012“ kuulajaid hullutanud Tenfold Rabbit,“ tõdes ajakirja Anne & Stiil peatoimetaja Ester Kannelmäe.

Auhinna raames kingib Anne & Stiil võitjale võimsa fotosessiooni ja täiusliku paketi pressifotosid. Lemmikuks osutunud bändi liikmetele antakse Anne & Stiili poolt ka viimane stilistikalihv nii pressifotodeks kui lavaesinemisteks. „Me ei hakka Tenfold Rabbiti meestele uut imagot looma vaid jagame nippe tulevasteks esinemisteks laval ja meedias, lihvime poiste väljakujunenud mõnusat look’i ning jäädvustame selle fotodele,“ lisas Ester Kannelmäe.

Meil on eriliselt hea meel, et Anne & Stiil on võtnud oma südameasjaks ka Eesti muusikat ja bände toetada - hea promopakett, sealjuures valik proffe, lahedaid ja isikupäraseid pressifotosid on vajalik töövahend igale artistile, tänu Anne & Stiili auhinnale saab üks bänd festivalikavast nüüd sellise materjali enda käsutusse,” kommenteeris festivali korraldaja Helen Sildna.

Anne & Stiili artistifoto-meeskonda kuuluvad ajakirja peatoimetaja Ester Kannelmäe, stilist ja Eesti üks tuntuimaid moeblogijaid Britta Talving, fotograaf Maiken Staak ning kõigi staaride lemmikmeikar ja soenguseadja Mammu. Värskeid promopilte saab peagi näha Anne & Stiili blogis:

Tallinn Music Week 2012 toimus 29.-31. märtsil ning esitles kolme päeva ja öö jooksul üle kogu linna toimuvatel kontsertidel 183 artisti 13 riigist. Festivalimelust sai osa 11 200 muusikasõpra ning Eesti artiste olid vaatamas ka talendiavastajad üle maailma.

05 April 2012

The Guardian: Estonia makes its mark on the musical map

Svjata Vatra

Words by Helienne Lindvall

It was clear right from the start that last week's Tallinn Music Week was not your ordinary music festival – and Estonia not your average country. The Estonian president, Toomas Hendrik Ilves, opened the festivities by reminiscing about his days at CBGBs in New York, mentioning Neil Young, quoting lyrics from PJ Harvey's Let England Shake, and touching on the perils of being an outspoken musician when the country was part of the Soviet Union.

He said the worst thing for an artist is to be ignored – hence why Dead Kennedys' Jello Biafra had always wanted to get arrested. But, he said, in an "unfree" society, such as the Soviet Union, being jailed was a real possibility, and such risks are not just a thing of the past. As a stark illustration, Ilves wrapped up by showing a video of Russian punk band Pussy Riot being dragged away by the authorities after staging a protest gig in Moscow's largest cathedral earlier this year. "They've been held without bail for weeks, facing seven years in jail for that performance. They have children," he said. "Keep in mind: it's not all fun."

Ilves isn't the only serious rock fan in the Estonian cabinet. With the minister of culture, Rein Lang, having set up some of the country's first rock festivals it's clear to see why Tallinn Music Week (which is actually three days long) receives such huge support. Lang is a strong supporter of copyright and artists' right to be remunerated for their work. "Why is it telecoms feel human value can be questioned, but technology can't?" he asked, adding if we don't pay for the music we consume it'll fall on the state to look after artists, which would turn the clock back to the music environment experienced under communism.

The foreign visitors to the festival were invited to tour the KGB museum, located inside a hotel. Standing inside the former KGB office used to spy on staff and guests (the door to it displayed a sign saying "There's nothing behind this door"), the guide spoke of how, growing up in the 80s, bananas were so rare to come by that they'd eat them like popsicles and walk around proudly waving the peel for all to see – and how, when they managed to, secretly, get a Finnish TV signal, it would make her sad to see everything the rest of the world had access to.

It's little more than 20 years since Estonia gained independence, and maybe that explains the enthusiasm still palpable among the country's musicians and their fans. The festival featured 183 acts – most of them Estonian, but also from Finland, Latvia, Lithuania and other countries in the region. There were also British bands performing, thanks to Brainlove Records, which has developed an artist exchange between the countries since last year's festival.

Many of the Baltic bands didn't shy away from theatricals and campness. The singer of Estonian-Ukrainian "fire-folk" band Svjata Vatra had the audience singing along to his every word, while he juggled fire and played the sword, and Estonian singer Iiris's dramatic performance would do well in Eurovision, I suspect. As would Instrumenti, whose singer appeared to be Latvia's answer to Adam Lambert, flanked by four horn players wearing monster makeup and oversized hats.

The programme described Finnish duo Jaakko & Jay's music as "a high-latitude spin on classic punk themes like drinking, revolution, drinking, making music, drinking, acute social commentary and drinking", but, as it was difficult to hear the lyrics, I'd describe them as a cross between White Stripes on speed and Tenacious D. I was told they're quite political and refuse to use the internet, choosing instead to communicate with their management by letter.

Lithuanian singer and pianist Alina Orlova reminded me of Regina Spector and Ane Brun, or, possibly, a female Antony Hegarty. It was barely noticeable that most of her lyrics were in her native language, as the music itself seemed to illustrate their meaning.

Scandinavia has long been the source of some the most interesting new music around. As acts such as Sigur Rós and Ane Brun have moved into the mainstream, maybe it's now time to set our sights on the Baltic states. The Estonian capital seems to feature all sorts of art in the most unexpected places (as well as the world's only Depeche Mode-themed bar, which only plays the Essex band's music). As one promoter visiting the festival put it: "I think Tallinn can be the next Reykjavik – there's enough craziness here."

05 April 2012

theartsdesk: Estonia achieves musical escape velocity, although reminders of the KGB aren't far away

Galvanic Elephants at Rock Cafe, 30.03.12

Words by


It began with a warning. Opening the fourth Tallinn Music Week, Estonia’s President Toomas Hendrik Ilves cautioned, “In a free society, it’s risk-free. In an un-free society, it’s not risk-free. It’s not all fun.” From behind a hotel conference room lectern, he then began rolling a video of Russia’s Pussy Riot being arrested in Moscow a few days earlier. Not everyone can make their point, make their music, choose how they want to get it across.

The contrast between Pussy Riot’s fate and a festival that celebrates new music in all its forms, held in a country bordering Russia, was marked by more than the 21 years between 2012 and Estonia’s independence. President Ilves was speaking in Tallinn’s Nordic Hotel Forum. Directly opposite is the Hotel Viru, constructed for the Soviet regime by Finnish builders in 1972. Back then, its 23rd floor was closed off, supposedly to house plant. Below, on the 22nd floor, was a restaurant with panoramic views. It was Tallinn’s first skyscraper.

Diners in the restaurant didn’t realise the KGB operated from the floor above, monitoring everything going on in the hotel. Staff were forbidden to speak to guests. Each lift had an old woman seated beside it, registering all comings and goings. The past might seem distant, but events in neighbouring Russia and remnants of Estonia’s recent history – tours of the Hotel Viru’s KGB museum are bookable – ram home how far Estonia has come since 1991.

Last year’s Tallinn Music Week was amazing, a genuinely surprising experience which revealed that a generation on from independence Estonia was about much more than Arvo Pärt, Skype and the massive local boy Baruto Kaito, now amongst Japan’s top echelon Sumo wrestlers. Things are moving fast. Since 2011 – when Tallinn was European City of Culture – the poppy singer-songwriter Iiris has signed with EMI. Indie outfit Ewert and Two Dragons played Toronto and New York the week of Tallinn Music Week. The neighbouring Baltic nations of Latvia and Lithuania have noted the dividends of playing Tallinn Music Week and are showcasing acts at the festival.

The buzz has spread further. Masses of Finns – Helsinki is only a two-hour ferry ride from Tallinn – and lesser numbers of Danes, Swedes and Norwegians were playing, too. There’s two-way traffic through Tallinn: out into Scandinavia and in, into the Baltic countries and, by proxy, Russia.

Estonia though, whatever its history, has retained a particular identity. Although a trading port existed beforehand, Tallinn took off in 1219 with the arrival of the Danish King Valdemar II. The city was sold by the Danes to the Livonian Order of German Knights in 1345. In 1561 they passed it to Sweden. Peter the Great bagged it for Russia in 1710. Independence finally came in 1918, but the Soviets claimed it in 1939 and occupied it in 1945. True and final independence came in 1991. Membership of the EU followed in 2004.

The pass-the-parcel nature of Estonia’s history didn’t rub out its identifying characteristics. In print, Estonian looks like Finnish. Spoken, its rise and fall is more mellifluous. Words shared between the languages have different meanings. Just how much its culture relates to Scandinavia rather than the Baltics or Russia is demonstrated by a visit to the fabulous Estonian Museum of Applied Art and Design. Pottery, glass, furniture, metal and leather work and textiles are more familiarly and organically Scandinavian than Soviet. Glass vessels are sinuous, furniture has clean Nordic lines. Designs on textiles are abstract, yet draw from nature and the landscape. It becomes impossible to escape the idea that Tallinn – to steer clear of further generalisations about Estonia as a whole – shares more with Scandinavia than its western and eastern neighbours.

All this means Tallinn Music Week is a musical melting pot. It’s bubbling over. Estonia obviously has the edge, but elbows from elsewhere are nudging in. Over this year's three days, 183 acts played. The festival is also set apart by the range of music on offer: classical showcases, the Estonia Voices choir, jazz and folk complement all the pop-rock-metal-indie-dance variants expected at any showcase festival. The shows bleed out into the city, with bands playing hotel rooms, shopping centres, book stores, record shops, Skype’s offices and galleries. It’s possible to get a pretty good, stress-free sample of the festival by sidestepping traditional venues. And, of course, by this necessarily selective snapshot.

Tickets have to be sold, so traditional venues will always be needed. And some scattered around Tallinn’s medieval city centre are delightful. Kodu Baar is in a basement and has two vaulted-ceiling rooms separated by a bar which serves a treacly-looking, opaque, locally brewed beer. It tasted OK. Playing there was Lithuania’s Markas Palubenka, who leans towards the John Martyn but makes too much use of his laptop and what appears to be a fascination with Thom Yorke. As he flails at his acoustic guitar it becomes clear the songs would be enough. The folk-slanted Finnish trio Sepia also colour in too much with guitar treatments and have the added distraction of an am-dram singer. Again, the pretty songs would suffice.

More straightforward were the angular St Etienne-isms of Estonia’s charming Mimicry, who also felt the need to distract by mucking about with laptops. The Finnish/Swedish trio Husky Rescue operated in a similar territory, but more surefootedly, evoking lost Eighties French band Antena. Making a stand for rock were the Boy’s Brigade U2, Galvanic Elephants who, if they stick at it, would have no problem developing into a stadium filler. Finland’s New Tigers also wore their influences: mid-Eighties UK indie with some fabulous out-of-tune Stephen Pastel singing. Estonia’s ÖÄK was more out there. Apparently a legendary Estonian duo from the early Nineties, they’re now in Aphex Twin territory, sounding like the soundtrack to a German Expressionist film.

Apt, as ÖÄK were playing Kino Söprus, a Soviet-era cinema. The two shows there which stood out were Estonia’s (still) stellar folk artist Mari Kalkun who shone at last year's Tallinn Music Week, and Lithuania’s extraordinary Alina Orlova. She has some profile in France, but this was her first show in Estonia. She got a standing ovation. Although her curly hair and hammering piano style nods towards Tori Amos, her rolling songs are more middle European, making her a Laura Nyro with gypsy roots.

As well as looking forward by showcasing the up and coming and flavours little known beyond the region, Tallinn Music Week was also celebrating the success of Estonia’s own Iiris, whose quirky pop has found an outlet with EMI. Her album release show at the converted industrial shed Rock Café was assured, melodic and charismatic. Even so, some of the audience happily talked through the more reflective songs she played solo at a piano. As the first success bred by Tallinn Music Week, a lot is on her shoulders.

But the buzz, the quantity and quality of what’s on offer demonstrate that Iiris won’t be on her own for long. What’s along next could be from Estonia. It might come from a nearby country. Wherever it is, they are going to reach the outside world via Tallinn Music Week.

lost in music