In my previous review (of Flemish band Wör), I spoke of the folk music traditions of Europe that just aren’t that recognized, and I think Estonia may be home to some of these. For years, all I knew of Estonian folk music was the “Singing Revolution,” the 1980s movement of night-singing to bring independence from the Soviet Union. While Estonia is home to a great choral tradition that ties to their folk music, I was very fascinated to hear the new music from Estonian fiddler and vocalist Maarja Nuut, since it moves so far away from my stereotypes of Estonian folk music. I hear snippets of traditional songs and tunes mixed into a blend of looped fiddle and vocals. There's a very modern Scandinavian minimalism to this music, playing with the drones and syncopated rhythms of the traditions that have become the hallmark of the "Nordic Roots" sound. I wish I knew more about her background and where the tunes and songs are coming from, but ultimately she's crafting stunningly beautiful tone poems based on Estonian roots and these transcendent soundscapes are immediately accessible. There's an uplifting joy that belies the darkness of these compositions, perhaps a characteristic that lies behind the music of most of Scandinavia and should now include Estonia thanks to Nuut's new album.


AuthorKith Folk