Arts

Midtown music lovers celebrate their Estonian roots with festival

Mix of genres, Estonian dignitaries set to pay Toronto a visit in May

BRIAN BAKER/STREETER SMILES ALL ROUND: Marika Mayfield, Tom Treumuth and Piret Noorhani are all part of the team bringing Estonian culture and music to Toronto’s concert halls in May.

One hundred years of Estonian freedom is being celebrated in Toronto this May.

Tom Treumuth and the Annex’s Markia Mayfield, are working with Chief Archivist of the VEMU-Estonian Studies Centre, Piret Noorhani, to put on Estonian Music Week, May 24–29.

Treumuth is revisiting his Estonian roots as the Canadian music director for the event. He’s bringing in Canadian musicians to blend with the Estonian ones. Treumuth has had his hands on the mix table for bands like Honeymoon Suite, Helix, the Spoons and Big Sugar.

He was on hand for the board meeting in early April at the VEMU and expressed his enthusiasm for the festival.

“The music is extremely innovative and unique. I’m hoping everybody hears what I hear,” he said. “The music is coming from a small country that has been in turmoil for hundreds of years. It’s a celebration of 100 years of being free.”

The six-day festival will also be host to the Prime Minister of Estonia, Jüri Ratas. The Estonian government has provided a good sum to celebrate the country’s Centennial anniversary.

Noorhani said in a phone interview that she looks forward to bringing such diverse artists to the city.

“The main reason is I’m a big music lover. I love Toronto’s music life,” she cooed. “There’s a huge collection of different genres. Estonia is a small country but very rich with talented musicians.”

This year marks the centennial anniversary of Estonia. They are celebrating 100 years of freedom, and because Noorhani wanted something bigger than the usual jazz festival, for the celebration, she helped launch the Estonian Music Festival.

But the event planning has had its share of challenges. Being an archivist in Tartu, Estonia is a lot different than working as an archivist in Toronto.

“I mainly work with the community,” she said. “It can be sometimes challenging to explain why we are doing.”

Marika Mayfield is one of those community members. She was born in the United States, moved back to Estonia with her parents and then came to Canada to go to school. However, she’s stayed behind and has enjoyed every moment.

She’s looking forward to hearing some of the music her mother and brother, who are back in the East, keep talking about.

“I’ve heard a lot about Estonian Voices, and I’d like to see them because I love a cappella,” she said, while closing up the VEMU office.

Some of the event locations include Lee’s Palace, Koerner Hall and Hugh’s Room. Additionally, more Estonian acts making the trip across the Atlantic are Pia Fraus, Erki Pärnoja, Maarja Nuut and Kadri Voorand.

There is a mix of genres that the festival will bring. Including acts like Grammy-winning Vox Clamantis and Canadians Kara-Lis Coverdale and Kaili Kinnon.

“This week is a celebration for the people of Toronto to come out to the best venues,” Treumuth said.

Noorhani agreed.

“What we would like to accomplish is to have a really great festival so that everyone can enjoy it: organizers, musicians and the audience.”

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