I am an Estonian accordionist, born and raised in the forests of Southern part of Estonia: in Võrumaa, in the most beautiful village in Estonia called Rõuge. All the tourists pronounce it like rouge (read in French). Well, to be really honest, it's super cute, BUT this little wave on the letter 'o' makes a big difference. Check out more about Estonian & letter 'õ' here. Wait-wait-wait, I'm getting off track! So, my bio:
... I started off with classical music at the age of 9 at Võru music school where my teacher was Siiri Kahar. The repertoire that she chose for me was definitely not as classical as it could have been. She encouraged me to play jazz. I loved it! Especially newly composed tunes by Henn Rebane. He is an Estonian accordionist, composing mainly for the accordion.
As there is no high school in this amazing little village called Rõuge, I decided to move to Tartu, where I started studying at Hugo Treffner Gymnasium & Tartu Heino Eller Music School, classical music. I was so fascinated by getting to know everything about EVERYTHING! Treffner was amazing - loved the teachers there! So inspiring! Same with Eller! I am grateful for going to both!
How I got into jazz & did you know that I studied the vibraphone? Curious? Keep on reading!
After receiving my high school diploma, my studies at Heino Eller Music School were not done. During my second year, I decided to switch from classical music to jazz music. I talked to the head of the department and asked - would it be possible to study jazz as an accordion player? Well, get one more person on board and we will make it happen, he said! So I did!
I started having lessons with Jaak Lutsoja and other amazing musicians, including Lembit Saarsalu. During my studies at Eller music school I started to compose and find my own voice. During those 4 years, I was playing together with many different groups and being part of many projects. I wanted to learn a second instrument, so I got into vibraphone! I love it! I miss playing it!
Education in folk
After graduating from Tartu Heino Eller Music School I continued at the Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre, where I started off with jazz music. Whilst studying jazz I took lessons from Tuulikki Bartosik who inspired me, a lot! In 2015 I had the possibility to take part in the NordTrad conference which took place in Denmark. That changed my life. Seeing a living tradition in Sønderho left me amazed! I decided that folk music is something I want to dig into. That is also when I found out about the Nordic Master in Folk Music programme.
So, I ended up where I always belonged - in folk music! Got my Bachelor's degree from the Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre, folk music being my main subject and continued at the Sibelius Academy in Finland.
Where am I now?
In the autumn of 2019 I started my Master's studies at the Nordic Master in Folk Music programme. During the first semester we were studying at the Royal Academy in Stockholm (KMH), where I had the honour of having main instrument lessons with the most amazing teacher ever: Leif Ottosson. Second semester brought me to Denmark, where my accordion teacher was the sweetest & most positive teacher I've ever had: Mette Kathrine Jensen Stærk. During autumn 2020, I was back in Finland, studying at the Sibelius Academy, Maria Kalaniemi, Olli Kari and Timo Alakotila being my main teachers. We were supposed to travel to Norway during spring 2021, but due to current situation in the world - all of our lessons were being held online.
Currently I am learning more about film music composition, pedagogy, Finnish folk music at Sibelius Academy in Finland. I work as a freelance musician, accordion teacher, composer & arranger and collaborate w
Well, there's actually a lot more to tell, but I will try to wrap it up for now. Just hit me up if you have any questions, will you? Aaah yes, the most important thing:
In the summer of 2017 my debut album Pühendus (‘Dedication’) with twelve compositions written and performed by me was released. The same year I was nominated at Estonian Folk Music Awards in two categories: for best new folk artist and best debut album.
On 25th May 2020 my second solo album The one about... was released! Read more here! My album was nominated at Estonian Folk Music Awards as the best album of the year. What an honour!
Who do I love?
My biggest influences & inspirations are: Bon Iver, Tigran Hamasyan, Frigg, Basco, Dreamers' Circus, Timo Alakotila, Maria Kalaniemi, Jacob Collier.