President Praises TMW

While Russian tanks headed for Crimea and Western political analysts speculated on whether Russian President Vladimir Putin might follow up by trying to reclaim the Baltics, Estonian leader Toomas Hendrik Ilves was likely pleased do an interview that didn’t focus on European politics.

Both Ukraine and the Baltics border Putin’s empire and both have about the same high percentage of Russians among their populations.

But Wader – a Baltics English-language lifestyle magazine – only really wanted to talk about Estonian culture and music.

Ilves’ genuine love of music and knowledge of the subject has become famous from his opening speeches at the annual Tallinn Music Week, but apparently he still gets asked if it may look as if he’s just trying to be populist.

“There’s no need to be artificial. If you’ve enjoyed something in particular your whole life, you will continue to do so,” he told Wader. “You can’t fake your cultural interests.”

Asked why he thought it had been difficult to bring international acts to Estonia, he quoted an article by TMW founder and former Baltic Development Group promoter Helen Sildna, who said it’s hard to say how many people will buy tickets.

“[The article] mentioned a rather unknown at that time – but now famous – band that I was also familiar with called Arcade Fire. [Sildna] called it the music of the future, but doubted that any more than 300 people at best would come to see them,” Ilves explained. “Who could afford the risk of investing a large sum of money into putting up a concert for a band that’s famous outside but maybe not that known in Estonia? You attract only a small audience and then you’re bankrupt.”

He also had praise for TMW: “I think Helen Sildna and her colleagues have created a suitable solution in the form of Tallinn Music Week.

“They invite lesser known artists, who have nonetheless achieved a certain level, and there’s a chance to get acquainted with all of them.”

Tallinn Music Week is March 27-29.