Eesti Laul (“The Song of Estonia”), the national selection process in Estonia for the Eurovision Song Contest 2014, is underway.
As most of EstonianWorld’s readers live outside of Estonia and might not have had a chance to follow the national broadcasting channels, we bring you all the competing songs from the semi finals – use your own judgment on a current state of Estonian pop music and please feel free to leave a comment with your opinion below. This is the second part of the two articles – you can find the first one here. Estonia’s Eurovision song will be chosen on 1 March.
01. Norman Salumäe – Search (Norman Salumäe)
Norman Salumäe has always had a passionate interest in singing, having been an active member in both the Estonian men’s and boys’ choir. His dreams of a career in music however didn’t get off the ground until he auditioned to take part in the second series of the Estonian TV talent show Eesti Otsib Superstaari, where he made it to the final. In addition to his solo career, Norman is also the lead singer with the group August Hunt, which he joined in 2010.
02. Lauri Pihlap – Lootus (Hope) (Lauri Pihlap)
Lauri Pihlap has sung from an early age. At just 16, he took part in the singing contest Kaks takti ette, making it to the last ten finalists. Following that, he played various roles in musicals and music projects before joining the group Soul Militia in 2000 (then known as 2XL), which thrust him into the local limelight. Lauri got his first experience with Eurovision when he provided backing vocals for Tanel Padar and Dave Benton with Estonia’s only win to date, Everybody, in 2001. He launched his solo career in 2007, under the moniker Lowry.
03. Nion – Muud pole vaja (Nothing else needed (Karl Kanter / Keit Triisa / Marilyn Jurman)
Nion was formed by musician Karl Kanter along with Keit Triisa in early 2011. Karl plays the guitar, Keit provides vocals, Siim Usin is on the bass guitar, Madis Muul is on the keyboards and Peep Kallas plays the percussion. Nion’s self-titled debut album was released in May 2012 and their sophomore set Tiibade jõud (Wings of Power) was released last year.
04. Maltised – Elu (Life) (Jakko Maltis)
The entry Elu is something of a family affair, with an Estonian veteran musician Mait Maltis at the helm, aided by his sons Mikko and Jakko. Mait was born on 23 February 1951 and spent his childhood in Tallinn. He has enjoyed over 40 years in the music business. Growing up with a musician as a father has clearly influenced his sons, as Jakko has also been an active musician for some time, having studied at the Georg Ots School of Music and working together with the likes of The iPad Band (making a cover version of the 2012 Eurovision winner Euphoria) and the Ivo Lille group. Mikko studied the guitar and has also provided backing vocals for many well-known artists in Estonia.
05. Sofia Rubina – City lights (Priit Juurmann / Sofia Rubina)
Sofia Rubina-Hunter, born to parents of Russian and Jewish origin in Tartu, studied at the University of Tartu Culture Academy in Viljandi before her studies took her to Germany, Russia and the US. She has a wide ranging repertoire, performing music influenced by jazz, soul and club music as well as acknowledging her heritage with Jewish folk music. She has previously worked with the Jazz Trio, musician Villu Veski, the group Baltic United and the Tartu Junior Big Band. She has taken part in a number of competitions previously, achieving first place in The Hope of Europe contest in Russia, 2000, Nõmme Jazz both in 2002 and 2004 and the Lady Summertime contest in 2004 in Finland. Her debut album My Sun was released in 2007.
06. MiaMee – Fearful Heart (Liina Saar / Liisi Koikson)
MiaMee is a five-piece band that consists of Liina Saar on vocals, Anni Ecegioglu on the cello and vocals, Taavi Kerikmäe on the keyboards and electronica, Mart Soo on the guitars and electronica and Ahto Abner on the drums. Writer of their entry Fearful Heart is a renowned Estonian singer Liisi Koikson, who took part together with Söörömöö in last year’s pre-selection with the entry Üle Vee, coming fifth in the final.
07. Traffic – Für Elise (For Elise) (Stig Rästa / Silver Laas)
Traffic is a five-piece band from Tallinn that consists of Silver Laas on vocals, Stig Rästa and Robert Vaigla on the guitars, Tõnis Kivsild on the bass and Ivo Priilinn on the drums. The band was formed in 2006 by Silver and Stig and they quickly gained a following.
08. Maiken – Siin või sealpool maad (Here on the Other Side) (Kadri Koppel)
Maiken, or Kadri Koppel as she is otherwise known, works as a professional vocalist and vocal coach at the song and dance school WAF (We Are Family). Maiken has figured among the line-up in two bands – Family and Soul Control – which entered Eurolaul in 2001 with Life is a Beautiful Word, coming fifth in the final.
09. Sandra Nurmsalu – Kui tuuled pöörduvad (When the Winds Turn) (Sven Lõhmus)
Sandra Nurmsalu took her first steps into the enthralling world of music at a very early age, learning to play the violin. As a teenager, she sang with the groups Pillipiigad, Virre and Pink Tank. She gained recognition in Estonia when she took part in the Public Broadcasting’s singing contest Kaks takti ette in 2005. However, it wasn’t before 2009 that her major breakthrough really came with the group Urban Symphony, winning Eesti Laul with Rändajad and earning a highly respectable sixth place at the Eurovision contest in Moscow. She’s back as a solo artist this year, hoping that her entry, Kui tuuled pöörduvad, can prove equally successful in Copenhagen.
10. Brigita Murutar – Laule täis taevakaar (Sky Full of Songs) (Rainer Michelson / Feliks Kütt)
Brigita, a medical student, got involved in Eesti Laul almost by accident, when she was contacted by a local music manager and songwriter Rainer Michelson. The project between Brigita, Rainer and Feliks originally began as a one-off, but turned out to be very fruitful for all involved and she was offered the chance to provide vocals for their song.
Videos: Estonian Public Broadcasting
Text sources: Eurovisionary.com, err.ee, Wikipedia
Cover photo: MiaMee (Mati Hiis/Õhtuleht).
Note that five semi finalists qualified to the final, which will be held at the Nokia Concert Hall in Tallinn on the 1st of March 2014: Traffic, Maiken, Sandra Nurmsalu, Norman Salumäe and Brigita Murutar.