Peter: I've reviewed some of the artists from Estonia that are scheduled to appear here and I must say that I am extremely impressed with the quality of talent that will be showcased here in Toronto, in some cases for the first time. Can you highlight some of the music and cultural values that exist in Estonia and if you can, offer us some insight as to what to expect at some of these concerts?
Piret: As I have said, choosing the Estonian performers was easy. Perhaps the only difficulty was that there were too many talented musicians we wanted to include in the festival. Estonia is a country with highly talented professional choirs. I am delighted that Vox Clamantis, the ensemble-sized collective led by Jaan Eik Tulve who perform Gregorian chants and contemporary Estonian classical music, including Arvo Pärt's works, will finally make it to Canada.
The popularity of ethnomusic in Estonia is a phenomenon unto its own. A whole new generation of young musicians have grown out of the Viljandi Folk Music Festival and Viljandi Culture Academy who use our two thousand-year-old “Regi” song tradition and more recent traditional music to create contemporary new music. The fact that ethnomusic is cool can seem odd to Canadians, but in Estonia it is. In the homeland the extremely popular band Trad.Attack!, who we won't see at EMW because they have already performed in Canada a number of times, is currently touring the world. Another successful Estonian ethnomusic export, Maarja Nuut, will be coming to EMW to captivate audiences with her loop station, violin, singing and storytelling talents and transport them to an exotic Northern wonderland. She will be accompanied by the electronic musician Hendrik Kaljujärv. They will be joining Vox Clamantis at Koerner Hall.
Kristjan Randalu has proved himself internationally as a jazz pianist. Two years ago he performed with Peedu Kass' project within the VEMU cultural program at Tartu College. We hope to offer him a better venue and a larger audience this time. The Kristjan Randalu Trio will be performing at Mazzoleni Hall.
Estonian Voices has a unique take on vocal jazz. The ensemble's original compositions inspired by folk, pop and classical jazz themes always bring the audience along for the ride, as their collaborative creations are based on their lively improvisations and charming stage presence. One of the brightest stars of this festival will definitely be Kadri Voorand, the exceptional vocalist who has been awarded with numerous prizes in Estonia, and who will be performing with her own jazz quartet and Avarus Ensemble in addition to Estonian Voices.
The opening night with Avarus will offer more treats. Alongside the experimental musical ensemble, the bassoon virtuoso with Estonian roots, but now based in the USA, Martin Kuuskmann, and our own Kara Lis Coverdale, a rising star among Canadian experimental electronic music, will be performing on opening night. It is also a delight that Kara Lis has found a path to the stages in Estonia.
There is plenty more youthful spirits at the festival, such as Erki Pärnoja and ensemble Pia Fraus who represent different sides of the Indie music. Furthermore, Estonian singer from Toronto Kaili Kinnon and DJ Sander Mölder from Estonia will be joining Erki and Pia Fraus in heating up the Estos Rock party at Lee's Palace.
As you see, the program is rich. I'm sure that Toomas Treumuth will introduce the Canadian musicians in more detail.