Toronto Welcomes Estonian Music

October 22 and 23, 2021

The third Estonian Music Week festival in Toronto is coming soon! Talented Estonian artists will be visiting to share the stage with Canadian artists. This year’s festival will take place on October 22 and 23, 2021. Programming delves into important issues of our time through captivating musical performances. This truly hybrid festival will have audiences simultaneously in Tallinn, Toronto, Facebook, and YouTube. We will be connecting audiences and bridging communities like never before.

So how will this work technically? There are two stages, one in Toronto and one in Tallinn. Safety permitting, we will have a small audience in each venue. An artist will perform in Toronto, audiences will be able to watch on a screen in Tallinn, and vice versa. There are 7 back-to-back performances spread over two days, available in full, for FREE, via Facebook and YouTube around the world. Thanks to the support of Music Estonia, the Estonian Ministry of Culture and our partner the Estonian Foundation of Canada, we are able to once again connect with these communities.

The program includes (Night One Oct 22, 6-8PM EST) New Voices in R&B: three unique female artists forge their identity in the world of R&B; Estyr (Toronto) – Alt-R&B and Indie Rock gives us lush vocals telling lyrical stories of femininity, heartbreak, liminality, and Toronto’s suburbs. Rita Ray (Estonia) – Estonia’s femme fatale, with a classic soul sound backed by a 5-piece band; Kaili Kinnon (Toronto/LA) – Estonian Roots, Toronto born and raised, presents smoky alt-pop with a rare and splendid voice. Hosted by Erik Laar, the Toronto performances will appear on the Northern Birch Festival Stage, located in the iconic Paradise Theatre (1006c Bloor St W) while the Tallinn performance will take place at the legendary Philly Joe’s Jazz Club.

On Night Two (Oct 23, 5-7:30PM EST) the theme is Persevering Languages. Languages are only alive as long as they are spoken. Through colonization, oppression and globalization, languages run the risk of disappearing altogether. And with them the culture, knowledge, and history they hold. Music emerges as a unique way to preserve these languages, folklore, and stories. From four unique perspectives, four innovative musicians explore their own heritage and creatively weave nearly lost languages into their music. Duo Ruut (Estonia): at the heart of the folk duo that has everyone in Estonia talking are two good friends joined around one instrument – the zither. Ancestral traditions breathe new life into minimalist creations. Erik Laar (Toronto): Canadian-Estonian turntablist and time traveler. Weaving traditional Regilaul songs into big band beats. Väike Hellero & Friends (Estonia) are collectors and keepers of folklorian soundscapes. Sung in its original form, a fresh perspective to the modern listener. Väike Hellero will be joined by a surprise well known Estonian guest. Beatrice Deer Band (Montreal) – Pioneer of Inuindie: Inuit folk tales, legends, and the search for understanding and meaning within yourself. This is our main stage event and is made possible through the generous support of our partner the Estonian Foundation of Canada. The evening is hosted by Kaili Kinnon. Toronto performances will take place in the famous El Mocambo (464 Spadina Ave. #462) and the Tallinn performances will, again, take place in Philly Joe’s Jazz Club.


Other Activities

On October 17, at 3 PM (EST), the Canadian premiere of world-renowned choir Collegium Musicale’s documentary film: Unustatud rahvaste jälgedes/In the Steps of Forgotten Peoples. The documentary follows the choir as they prepare and then perform composer Veljo Tormis’ contemporary choral masterpiece of rarely heard Finno-Ugric languages in the very towns where they originated. Virtual screening will be followed by a talk with conductor Endrik Üksvärav and Finno-Ugrist Taisto Raudalainen.

On October 20, at 7 PM (EST), explore the Finno-Ugric world with a virtual tour of the Estonian National Museum’s (Tartu) exhibition Echo of the Urals by museum educator Anti Lillak. On October 23 , 12 PM (EST): Enjoy a fun afternoon of storytelling and concert for kids Pumpkin & Stretch with author and musician Vincent Teetsov and his friend and drummer extraordinaire, Stefan Loebus. Vincent will be your guide through the colourful world of Pumpkin and Stretch, into a mysterious cave and a forest abounding with silly, jazzy, and cultural creatures. Online and in-person at Tartu College (Toronto).

Tickets are available at (Toronto in-person Night One: $25 Toronto in-person Night Two: $35). The event is free online via Facebook and YouTube.


Press release from