Tallinn Music Week regularly draws the best bands in the region to Estonia, where the focus is on local flavor.
Published: February 20, 2013 (Issue # 1747)
Tallinn Music Week, the Estonian capital’s major music industry festival, due to take place from April 4 through 6, is coming to St. Petersburg this week to introduce the neighboring country’s burgeoning music scene to local music lovers. The St. Petersburg Times spoke via Skype with the festival’s director, Helen Sildna.
Q: What’s the idea behind the upcoming Estonian music event in St. Petersburg?
A: This year we have the hope, or ambition, to invite more bands and music lovers, and also those tourists interested in culture from Latvia, Finland and Russia, to the Tallinn Music Week. We had the idea that the [organizers of] the Stereoleto festival could help us to spread the word about TMW, so they will help a bit with marketing to Stereoleto fans through their channels. We also thought it would be great to come to St. Petersburg. The reason for doing so is that we would like to meet some of the key music industry people who are active in Russia, and especially St. Petersburg, on location. And if some [of the] music industry press come [to the event] and find out more about TMW, that would also be great.
Another bit of good news is that one of the Estonian artists that is performing at TMW this year — Mart Avi & Ajukaja — will be playing a full live set at the Stereozima festival on Feb. 23.
On Friday, Feb. 22 we’ll have a little reception and get-together for the Russian music industry and press at Helsinkibar, and we’re welcoming everybody who is interested. I will introduce the festival and Ilya Bortnyuk, the organizer of the Stereoleto and Stereozima festivals, will be there as well. There will also be other people from the Russian music scene who have been to TMW before and who will talk about their impressions. That will be followed by a little party with drinks and food. Raul Saaremets, who is a kind of underground legend in Estonia and a respected DJ, will also play records. So it will be an easy-going, relaxed pre-party.
Q: Why did you choose to bring Mart Avi & Ajukaja to perform in St. Petersburg?
A: The way it happened was that Ilya Bortnyuk saw the band playing at TMW in 2012 and really liked them. That’s why we decided that it would be great to bring them over to St. Petersburg in February. They are an intriguing electronic act, with electronic sounds mixed with Mart Avi’s vocals. He’s been compared to a young Scott Walker or David Bowie and has a very special, peculiar voice. It’s quite a special live show, I would say. Ajukaja, who is actually Raul Saaremets, has mixed together the electronic part and Mart Avi sings live on top of it. They just had the international release of their debut album, “After Hours” (Porridge Bullet), which came out a few days ago.
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