This year’s Tallinn Music Week managed to draw in 177 artists from various countries to the beautiful autumn-landscaped capital of Estonia. The festival had something to offer for all sorts of music fans, unafraid to go beyond the boundaries and try fresh, crossover music acts on the stages of Telliskivi, Tallinn’s Old Town and Noblesner.

Trio Maag & Isabel Bermejo, Tobias Tammearu Trio @ Fotografiska

What a heartwarming start to a jazz night on the stage of art-venue Fotografiska! Trio Maag, comprised of three talented Estonian musicians delivered a soulful live set, blending the sounds of bandoneon, guitar and double bass.

For half an hour the audience felt transferred to a vivid Spanish jazz bar, where every song was a deeply personal music experience, vocalized by gorgeous Isabel Bermejo. Barefooted and wide-open-hearted, the Spanish singer, who joined the band in 2020, performed her renditions of modern prayers by contemporary Argentinian composers and their own pieces. An indispensable international addition to Trio Maag!

A more classical jazz set followed with another trio, a local jazz band Tobias Tammearu Trio. From soft to pounding, the musicians surprised with the spectrum of their original sound.

Rahel @ TIKS Records, D3

As the main goal of Tallinn Music Week is letting the young, up-and-rising musicians find their audience, it’s meant for singers exactly like Rahel. This classy-looking Estonian lady is a one of the newest additions to the Baltic pop scene. Rahel isn’t afraid to be sensual and plays with genres, which was precisely the factor that let her RnB single ‘Sunday Night’ make it to the the semi-finals of Eesti Laul 2021 (Estonian Song 2021). Rahel is on her way to her debut solo album and has all the chances to shine brighter in the years to come.

Kirov @ Russian Sounds, F-Hoone

An impressive amount of listeners gathered at the ex-factory building of F-Hoone in Tallinn, eager to witness what’s new on the Russian indie-rock scene. The prog-rock band Kirov, which just arrived from St. Petersburg, admitted they’d missed not having been able to tour Europe like they used to. Obviously, COVID-19 restrictions deprived all musicians of their oxygen — touring and playing live. Kirov got a pretty warm response, as the frontman was actively engaging with the audience and sharing his recent experiences. But tonight something was missing there for me, be it the desynchronization of the drums against the rest of the instruments, or the acoustic fault of in ear monitors. «Russian sounds» appeared to be a tough mix to my ears.

Horror Dance Squad @ Metal Stage, Von Krahl

Friday night wouldn’t have been the same without the energy and charisma of Horror Dance Squad, firing up the Metal Stage. Last year, the aspiring modern metal band dropped their new album No Flag Will Fly Forever, which secured their position on the Eastern-European stage.

Even though the time slot for the band’s set was a modest 30 minutes, the audience was warmed up enough to start moshing. The group’s latest singles ‘Happy Face’, ‘Cancer’ and, of course, the fiery ‘Burn This Place Down‘ made the heat in Von Krahl almost unbearable (a hint to the venue to do something about the absence of ventilation in the hall). As for HDS, hands down, the band’s ever-increasing audience will soon stretch beyond the Baltics and open them way more opportunities, like Wacken Open Air did back in 2016.

Text: Tatiana Vinichenko
Photo: Kenneth Spiteri, Tatiana Vinichenko