The Estonian folk-innovator Maarja Nuut has won this year's Tallinn Music Week’s notable artist award, the Wire Prize.
The prize, presented for the first time by the festival’s global conversation channel Wire, includes 3,500 euros, supporting the winner’s chance to further her potential for international breakthrough.
Fiddle-player and singer-songwriter Maarja Nuut is one of the hopes of Estonian music, being chosen as the first artist from the Baltic region to perform at the official program of the leading world music festival WOMEX last year, and making Simon Le Bon, the lead singer of British music legends Duran Duran, praise her song “Üts pruut” as one of his favourite tunes of the year.
Nuut's music combines arrangements of traditional songs and stories from Estonia with live electronics, gradually building up sonic poems from a single violin motif, deftly looping it and adding harmonic layers with voices and violin improvisations. Nuut's debut album “Soolo” (2013) received acknowledgment around the world and was chosen as one of the favourites of the British specialist magazine fRoots.
“Maarja Nuut is someone that can bring Estonian folk to an international audience. Yes, people who are into folk and world music will like her, but I can see a contemporary indie audience for her as well – for example, fans of Bon Iver, Sigur Ros, Andrew Bird,“ Nils Bernstein from Matador Records said.
Nuut is currently preparing for a string of Estonian concerts taking place throughout spring and summer, as well as live dates in Italy, Germany and France, followed by a tour in the US.
The winner of the Wire Prize was selected by TMW music industry delegates from 117 Estonian acts who performed at the festival this year. Next to Maarja Nuut, artpop trio Badass Yuki, folk-stylists Trad.Attack!, singer-songwriter Ingrid Lukas and electroacoustic collective Avarus Ensemble received the most nominations.
Editor: S. Tambur