This year the music festival Tallinn Music Week promises to its audience total fusion – impossible mix of different styles. It’s no wonder that The Independent and The Guardian called TMW one of the winter’s best music festivals in Europe. At the beginning in 2009 the festival lasted three days. Since then it has grown: now a week-long festivity covers not only music clubs and concert halls, but also cafés, art galleries, shops, and private homes.
2018 is the festival’s tenth anniversary and Tallinn welcomes around 250 artists and bands – from cult to pop, from dance to metal, from folk to classical music. In this review you will find the most interesting and peculiar participants of Tallinn Music Week.
Emilie Levienaise-Farrouch (GB/FR)
Ambient, Classical, Contemporary, Experimental
Emilie is a London based, Paris born composer and pianist. Her work spans film scores, commissions and art installations, marrying electronic and orchestral elements. Her debut album, “Like Water Through the Sand”, came out in 2015 through FatCat Records’ 130701 imprint. She has performed her compositions internationally and has been commissioned to create works for the likes of the Victoria and Albert Museum, BBC Radio 4 and the London Contemporary Orchestra.
Woijet Mazolevski Quintet (PL)
Wojtek Mazolewski is a bassist, composer, and a leading figure of the 21st century Polish jazz movement. The music of Wojtek Mazolewski Quintet brilliantly combines traditional jazz with numerous currents of contemporary music (punk, rock, electronica, and others). The true power of their music can be heard during encounters with the audience that are always packed with emotion. WMQ is the first jazz band which reached the charts of Polish Radio. The band opened this year with a new single. The 12” vinyl „London“ released by Lanquidity in the UK in April, has been enthusiastically received in the UK and Europe by music fans and critics alike, and has been aired on BBC Radio, NTS and Worldwide FM. WMQ played 250 concerts in 15 countries since 2015.
Avant-garde, Electronic, Pop
In his native Iceland, Högni is one of the best known contemporary singers and songwriters. Importantly and interestingly, his music and performance style is equally loved by music aficionados and less serious, commercially inclined listeners. As a multi-instrumentalist musician, he regularly writes, composes and performs with Hjaltalin and he was a full-time member of the legendary GusGus, touring extensively in Europe and North America. On October 20th, 2017 Högni released his solo debut album “Two Trains” as the newest addition to Erased Tapes. The album embraces the spirit of the original European avant-garde and invokes these concepts in its chugging rhythms, metallic clangs and brooding choral arrangements while the lyrics speak of ominous clouds on the war-ridden eastern horizon.
Mick Pedaja (EE)
Alternative, Ambient, Electronic
Mick Pedaja is a singer-songwriter from Estonia, whose purpose is to bring warmth and peace to the listeners through his music. His inspiration comes from nature, people, and life, all of which motivate his music. An organic, floating, and cosmic sound describes Mick’s music the best. Mick has released 3 albums: “Ärgake EP” in 2014, „Hingake/Breathe” in 2016, and „Laniakea” by his new solo project SUMRA in 2017. Mick is also performing at TMW as a member of Kristjan Järvi’s Absolute Ensemble.
Lo-Fi, Pop, Synth
Monetochka, or Liza Girdimova, is a young songwriter from Yekaterinburg who became an Internet star in 2016 after she began posting self-recorded songs online. Her lyrics, built on a foundation of Russian internet culture and teenage angst, are often blunt about the lives of the characters they portray. Monetochka’s youthful voice, in combination with her tragic themes, creates a satisfyingly cynical dissonance.
Pocket Knife Army (NL)
Alternative, Electronic, Experimental, Pop, Synth
Pocket Knife Army permanently resides in the twilight zone, creating sonic landscapes that are elusive, dark, and unpredictable, yet organic and warm. Standing out from the crowd, the band is centered around playing live, backed up by an impressive array of electronic and acoustic gear. Although the instruments of choice are mainly analogue synths and drum machines, the duo has the attitude, attack, and stage performance of a rock band. With no laptops involved, Pocket Knife Army pushes the boundaries of electronic indie, without compromise. Expect intimate songs in essence, erupting into vast walls of sound.
Pom Poko (NO)
Alternative, Avant-garde, Contemporary, Experimental, Indie, Jazz, Pop, Punk, Rock
Despite having formed just a year ago, the Norwegian quartet are on a rapid ascent with the three singles they’ve officially released so far gaining them masses of praise for their ingenuity and energy. Pom Poko has already been praised by press like Interview Magazine, Vevo, NME, Line of Best Fit, The Independent, Clash, and DIY just to name a few, and they’ve also been picked up by radio such as BBC1 (UK), Radio Eins (Germany), Flux FM (Germany), NRK P3 (Norway), and more. Last summer saw Pom Poko play festivals such as the Øya Festival, Roskilde Festival, Pstereo, Slottsfjell, by:Larm, and The Great Escape (among others), and the band also gave three show nights in a row in London.
Karelia, an ancient land of forests, lakes, and myths, is a border territory between Russia and Scandinavia. It is also a place of mixing languages and cultures with rich musical traditions. The most well-known band in Karelia is folk group Sattuma. Sattuma tours mostly in Russia, Europe, and the USA, showing from their own perspective how living tradition can be represented by modern sound and mixed with different genres, playing captivating dance tunes, lyrical songs and, atmospheric instrumental pieces.
The Cool Quest (NL)
Hip-hop / Rap, Pop
Dutch band The Cool Quest has played over 500 energetic live shows. Their 2014 debut album “Funkin’ Badass” took the band to national success on radio and TV. 2015 became a very hot year for the band: starting with an appearance on Eurosonic in January, they performed at over 60 festivals in the Netherlands alone that year. In 2017, The Cool Quest has developed a more electronic sound combined with pop rock guitars. Their latest single, „Runnin’“, got rotation on radio stations in the Benelux, Germany, Austria, Ireland, and Estonia. It is a preview of their sophomore album, which is due spring 2018. The band played at Reeperbahn Festival in 2017, where NBHAP picked them up as one of the 8 best acts at the festival.
The Karovas Milkshake (RU)
Blues, Experimental, Folk, Lo-Fi, Psychedelic, Punk, Rock, Soul / Funk
The Karovas Milkshake are a garage rock/psyche band heavily rooted in the sound of the 60’s and 70’s. Their frantic garage rock has been gradually moving in the direction of psychedelic in the last couple of years and has been perfected by playing countless shows and recording sessions. Their first singles, „Locomotion“ (2011) and „Freakout Factory“ (2012), were taped at their own Kaleidoscope Eyes Records studio and released by Chickpea Records on vinyl in New York. Their first album, „In the Shade of the Purple Sun“ (2015), was released on vinyl by Groovie Records in Portugal and was considered as one of the best psychedelic albums of the year by some magazines such as Shindig!. The band has toured widely across Russia and played shows in Spain, Portugal, and the Czech Republic.
All Day Long (LV)
With more than 500 shows behind them, All Day Long is one of the oldest active ska-punk bands in Latvia. The latest self-titled album was released in May 2017 by Naba Music / Melo Records and wherever they go, their explosive mix of punk rock, sunny ska and catchy melodies won’t be unnoticed.
Here you can find more information about the artists who come to TMW.