Tallinn Music Week: Estonia’s cultural showcase

Tallinn Music Week’s mix of eclectic eastern European sounds, art and fashion attracts everyone from clubbing enthusiasts to the country’s president

In the Kultuurikatel, an arts centre in a former power station, Mart Avi takes to the stage, sporting a white umbrella and a trench coat. His eerie, yodel-style baritone, somewhat reminiscent of Davids Bowie and Byrne, silences the audience in the tall space. His performance is set off playfully by amusing boxing footwork, bubbling trumpet notes and warm synthesiser riffs. Avi is a 26-year-old teacher of special needs children, the son of a rye farmer from Vara, in the far east of Estonia. He grew up on the remains of a former Soviet collective farm and is now a rising star of the “New East” music scene. I discover him on my first evening at Tallinn Music Week , just one of many offbeat surprises from a weekend in the Estonian capital.

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