Tallinn Music Week’s (TMW) partners Telia and Telliskivi Creative City have issued the artist awards to Estonian artists Mart Avi, Mari Kalkun and Holy Motors. The winners will receive a monetary prize and participation at the INTRO programme of Music Estonia.
The winners have been chosen by the feedback of TMW music industry delegates and audience vote among 126 Estonian acts participating at this year’s festival. All three were credited for a convincing performance, clearly distinguishable soundscape and international potential.
Avant-pop producer and singer Mart Avi, who received the most nominations and a 2000 Euro prize, was praised for the originality and innovation of his music and artistic image.
“Avi has musical nous in spades. His music is weird pop of the highest order and needs to be disseminated as a Google implant,” says Richard Foster of the Quietus. Derek Robertson comments in his TMW review for the Independent: “As an artist, Mart Avi is the very embodiment of a post-everything music culture where entire histories can be consumed with the click of a mouse. Utterly modern then, but looking firmly over the horizon.”
Mart Avi himself was impressed by his fellow performers at TMW: “The line-up of this year’s festival was stimulating. I would give special prizes for some artists who performed with me at the CryptoMarket showcase. Best Conglomerate – Aleksei Taruts, Best Constructivist Kate NV, Best Mappers tema kresta, Best Comrades Lynch, Best Cake Florian Wahl and Best Inventor Maria Minerva.” Avi plans to use the prize money for his new album, due in autumn.
British music sites The Quietus and Drowned in Sound have featured Mart Avi in interviews this week. On Sunday, 6th he will perform at the Liverpool Sound City, next month at Moscow’s Bol festival, performances in central Europe are planned in the near future.
The runner-up with 1500 Euro prize fund is folk musician Mari Kalkun, who charmed the music experts with her technical proficiency and spiritual power. Editor of Songlines Magazine Simon Broughton commented: “I thought the presentation was extremely good – her compositions are a good mixture of tradition and innovation.” Christian Pliefke of the German label Nordic Notes said the performance of the folk innovator made him “speechless”.
“Thanks to TMW I have realized that music business is not a huge and horrible monster but rather a group of people who love music passionately,” said Mari Kalkun. “I think genres are no longer defining music and the message, individuality and meaningful relationship to the surroundings are more important. TMW stands out by the will and skill to notice the new and innovative, also music that differs from the ‘norm’. This is how new ideas find a birthplace.”
Mari Kalkun plans performances in Estonia, Japan, Germany and UK, among them at the WOMAD festival. “I also want to start working on a new album soon. The prize money is great news as I’m just planning two live videos to be shot in Tokyo and Estonian country-side.”
Holy Motors who achieved the third place with 1000 Euro prize money were praised for their stylish blend of dream pop and Americana. The head of the Berlin based music agency More Zvukov Natasha Padabed pointed out the film-like melancholy of the band’s music. The editor of the Czech music magazine Michal Parizek is fond of Holy Motors’ ability to create a special atmosphere: “The motives of shoegaze and western are just a starting point for them to build a completely unique environment.”
“April was somewhat warmer this year and TMW seemed to have grown even bigger,” remember the members of Holy Motors. “After TMW we continued work on our new album. For the prize money we can finally repair our Jaguars and other guitars. It’s great to win sometimes.”
The five-piece have released their first full-length album “Slow Sundown” under US indie-label Wharf Cat this year and will perform at the SKIF festival in St Petersburg in May. The second half of 2018 will bring gigs in Germany and Scandinavia.
TMW artist award is presented for the first time as a joint contribution of the festival’s presenter Telia and partner Telliskivi Creative City.
“We do hope that the winners of the Telia and Telliskivi artist award gain inspiration and opportunities through this acknowledgement to dedicate to their art and to open new doors to conquer the world,” wishes Telia Estonia’s head of communications Katrin Isotamm.
TMW artist award winners 2019-2017: Popidiot (2009), Iiris (2010), Ewert and The Two Dragons (2011), Talbot (2012), Elephants From Neptune (2013), Odd Hugo (2014), Maarja Nuut (2015), I Wear* Experiment (2016), Mart Avi, Erki Pärnoja and NOËP (2017). Audience award winners 2014-2017: Metsakutsu (2014), Lithuanian bands BA (2015) and Garbanotas Bosistas (2016) and The Boondocks (2017).
TMW anniversary festival took place from 2nd to 8th April 2018. The music programme included 260 artists from 30 countries, among them 126 artists from Estonia. 34170 people attended the events of TMW, among them 1330 festival delegates. More info.