Line up 2018: PUULUUP & Arsis
by Miriam Rossius
The lyrics and sounds of this duo are a daring mixture: Ramo teder and Marko Veisson draw inspiration from Estonian punk and folk, satirical Russian poems, surrealism, Sahel’ blues, Polish TV series and much more. The result are stories about wind turbines or –as they out it- „about the uncomfortable feeling that your neighbor's dog might try to bite you while you take out the trash.“
Regarding music instruments one seems to be completely sufficient: the talharpa, a horsehair stringed instrument that is mostly played on the Estonian island of Vormsi. But they sent it through a looper and use various electronic means. What you get is an alienating sound which at the same time underlines the natural sound of the talharpa. Way-out and charming.
Bells and cymbals belong to the oldest music instruments on earth, while ARSIS is only about 30 years old. But its talent and skills for handbell music are outstanding in a way that makes this ensemble from Estonia one of the best in the world. With dozens of bells the eight artists create a listening experience of its own. Since the melody line is created through all musicians, exact timing is even more important than usual and playing as a handbell ensemble is considerably more complicated than in other bands. Traditionel and contemporary Estonian music, compositions by Bach, Chopin, Tschaikowsky are part of the repertoire. Singing is also part of the performance and not entirely by chance – the ensemble has strong ties with the Arsis Chamber Choir. When its conductor, Alvar Mäe, went to the US and listened to a handbell concert for the first time in 1991, he was determined to take this special sound to Estonia. What a lucky coincidence.