Unusual Venues Vol 2

Today at midnight I will play a recital at the Old Water Tower of Viljandi. It is part of the annual Viljandi Guitar Festival who published a short interview with me on that occasion (not my translation!):

Vana veetorn

Viljandi’s Old Water Tower. From the website VisitEstonia.com


1) On which aspects of your performance would You recommend the audience to concentrate?

Let’s say that someone is creating a new product. Before you can start selling it you have to calculate the fit between the product and the market. A musician’s product is the repertoire. It goes the same with organising a concert – you need to match the performer and the audience. Then the audience will focus mostly on the music and the minority on the musician. But there’s always those who feel that they are in the wrong place.

Last spring I went to Pat Metheny’s concert and I counted seconds to get home. The problem wasn’t about me or the performer, I just didn’t fit the target group. So it doesn’t matter what I should have focused on, but sometimes a little bit of education can give you a new perspective. Since I play some very old and very new music at my concerts, I always try to share the history of the pieces.

2) What was the first song You learned to play on your guitar?
Honestly – I can’t remember. It was more than 20 years ago and because my music studies started accidentally, there weren’t any idols whose music I practised or listened to. It’s easier with first recordings. In 1994-95 I recorded couple of duos with Andre Maaker in Kuressaare. I haven’t found them in Estonian Radio Archive but these are probably the first recordings. From my old tapes I have found some Brazilian music, a bit of Valgre’s music and some material recorded with my ’basement bands’ are most likely on the tapes as well.

3) What inspires You?

I think there are two options: firstly that inspiration is a romantic make believe and the second option is that I have never experienced it. It would also be nice if both of them turned out ot be true.

4) What is Your next musical goal?
I’m currently busy with practising tiorba and firstly I have to overcome the techincal difficulties. Then come the musical ones. With guitar I’ve realised that you can’t do everything with high quality. You can’t be a flamenco guitarist, classical musician and play modern music all at the same time. Classical music comes with the teaching job. I spend many years to master the flamenco techniques but didn’t become a gipsy. Estonian contemporary music sounds more logical to me – Estonian composer, Estonian musician, an instrument made by a local and music recorded in Estonia. For the perfect combination you would also need a local audience but that doesn’t always happen.

5) Can You bring out your best concert experience?
Last year I gave approximately 100 concerts and the most positive were the school concerts. As a listener I visit concerts very rarely and when I do, it’s usually because of work. It’s a total pain for me to sit in a concert hall and this form of listening to music doesn’t work for me. Generally I listen to music quite rarely. When I do, it’s due to my work process – either the pieces I have to learn or my students’ recordings.

Couple of years ago I sometimes listened to metal. I remember the Swedish death band Unleashed and Obituary from the USA in Tallinn and Helsinki. I still listen to death metal when I drive and even though there’s a certain amount of theatricality, I find it more honest and believable than most of the classical and jazz music. It brings you the emotions not knowledge and it gives me a break from analytical and evaluative listening.

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