TMW 2021 opening ceremony speeches Helen Sildna, TMW founder and head of strategy

TMW is presented by Telia
30 September 2021 Uncategorized

Dear friends of music – our team, musicians, artists, partners, guests, and hello everyone watching us via Inspira or Telia’s FB live.

I am sincerely happy to see you all here today! And it is fantastic that thanks to our dear partner Telia this is all possible. 

TMW is the festival of tomorrow’s music and ideas. That is precisely what our programme is about today, brand new music: Liisa Hõbepappel’s “You Are a Continent, My Dear” and “Themes For Great Cities: Tallinn”, created by musicians Alex Maiolo from the US, Jonas Bjerre from Denmark, and our own Jonas Kaarnamets and Erki Pärnoja literally within this past week, when the four of them came together in Tallinn – the fifth member of the group, to record city sounds and turn them into something completely new. Starting at nine o’clock in the Cauldron Hall, you can enjoy the presentation of Sander Mölder’s new album, presented together with wonderful musicians and singers from all across Europe. 

What we will see unfolding here today is creation and self-expression, these are musicians who are opening their souls and their minds to us. What an incomparable moment, at once fragile and powerful! 

This is the impact of different artforms coming together. It takes a moment and it creates meaning, which in turn transforms into a network of meanings – the way in which we understand and experience the world around us and how we perceive ourselves. Our cultural network is a collection of connections that makes us a community – one that can do things together and strive towards goals because we have a shared field of meanings. 

The past year and a half have taught us how fragile our everyday lives and lifestyles actually are, however, we have also learned that we are really good at solving problems, when we do it together. 

Culture is the glue that binds us, but it is also a driver of economy. Oftentimes it is the reason why people do anything or go anywhere at all – it is the reason why people travel, why they choose to live somewhere, why they visit certain parts of cities, and others not so much, it is why some countries just seem so pleasant. Culture affects our behaviour. What could be more powerful?

To quote the Estonian jazz musician and composer Maria Faust, who said at the European Jazz Conference, “A city that has no culture is not worth living in”. 

This is the reason why I am so grateful to companies and organizations that have decided to contribute to TMW’s activities and culture on a wider level. Thank you Telia, thank you Viru Keskus (Center), Telliskivi Creative City and Postimees Group as well as all other partners. Thank you Ministry of Culture, City of Tallinn, Visit Estonia. All of you, as well as all the partners of our and other cultural companies, have understood that there is power in culture. Culture is an investment. Our strength, our nature, our driving force.


I am particularly fascinated by the fact that over the years collaboration with our partners has indeed grown into initiatives with a social impact. This is the case with Telia, with whom we cooperate to help put into practice the UN Sustainable Development Goals in Estonia through environmentally conscious behavior and equality, as well as supporting the mental wellbeing of young people.

At this year’s TMW, we will explore how to maintain the local ecosystem while developing international relations, how to examine sustainable solutions for both the music industry and society as a whole, delve into the positive impact of night culture and night economy, talk about the future of the event industry and, of course, welcome 170 artists from 21 countries to experience architectural and light installations, to visit art galleries, to talk about burning topics, to eat fine Estonian food, and to experience our hometown a little differently than usual. To be together.

What I really wish, however, is that the richness of Estonian culture would be the richness of its species. That we would be equally proud of the Estonian National Opera, the techno club Hall and the Vaba Lava in Narva, but also that we have national societies, DIY theatres and at the same time a growing gaming industry and international film industry. All of these levels are equally important – creating a network that creates new opportunities and supports-balances-inspires-motivates society. I want us not to ask which of them is more important, I want us to ask how to develop the whole bigger picture.

Dear friends, I wish you a wonderful festival!