|Estonia: Tartu Bluusikuu Brings the Blues to Tartu
Headlined by Finland's Black River Bluesman & Bad Mood Hudson, the 3rd
Tartu Blues Month brings concerts to not just the Mother River Delta but also
to the town of Rakvere.
In addition to live music events, this year's festival includes Leif Laaksonen's
photo exhibition and the world premiere of Katja Juhola's documentary "Into the
Deep Blues" which follows Black River Bluesman and Tuomari Nurmio (a.k.a Judge
Bone) on their journey to Mississippi's Deep Blues Festival.
"The blues month started in 2015 as a very organic grassroots thing and it still is
– all out-of-town bands were selected because of public demand: people started
e-mailing me, asking "When is Black River Bluesman coming back?" and "Why
have Joensuu Riihimäki played in Tallinn and Pärnu but never in Tartu?"" says
festival coordinator Andres Roots, a founding member of the Tartu Blues Society.
"So we did our best to work it out – we don't so much organize the gigs but put
the artists in touch with the right venues and help promote it."
With 1-2 events every week throughout February in Tartu, "the right venues" this
year range from the music department of the Tartu Public Library to the Pühaste
Brewery, with concerts in every other downtown bar. The Rakvere concerts are
all held at the same place: the newly opened Buena Vista Sofa Club, located
most befittingly in Tartu Street.
"The way Rakvere got involved was that when the actor Eduard Salmistu opened
a new culture club in December, he simply rang me up, asking for the blues – and
as it happened, we had plenty," explains Roots. "The Rakvere concerts kicked off
one week ahead of Tartu and will end in March. In Tartu, the concerts run from
February 3rd until February 25, with Leif Laaksonen's exhibition open until March
18. The general idea is to bring in interesting acts for Tartu folks to see and to
give Tartu roots musicians the chance to play before new and different audiences
and promoters from out of town."
In addition to those already mentioned, this year's list of performers in Tartu
includes the experimental Ringhold duo from Raplamaa and a myriad of local acts:
Alar Kriisa & Vilho Meier (of Cathouse Radio), Karl Laanekask, Enn Vei Blues Band,
Andres Roots, Autt Of Office, Sven Kullerkupp Band, Randal Duo, Crosswood, Vix
Mode and the Sawmill Roots Orchestra. On February 8, Cathouse Radio will play
an additional live set on Raadio Elmar, which can be heard over the internet
around the world via the radio's website at 2:15 p.m. In Rakvere, the performers
are Andres Roots & Raul Terep, Joensuu Riihimäki, Black River Bluesman & Bad
Mood Hudson and Louie Digman & The Ferriday Express.
Buena Vista Sofa