Leading Estonian Bands

In the 1980s, during Soviet rule, Estonia had a thriving underground band scene with punk/progressive bands like Propeller, Ruja and In Spe. Sadly, this scene went from underground to near oblivion when Euro pop butted in and took over. One group running against the Euro grain is Echosilence. Another innovative Estonian band is No Big Silence, which is reminiscent of Depeche Mode.

Other bands and soloists of note:

Ultima Thule: Arguably Estonia’s best rock band; fantastic instrumentals and creativity. Lead singers Riho Sibul and Tõnis Mägi are first-rate, world-class. Songs on their Ultima Thule album are good to spectacular.

Johanson Brothers: Godly folk sound. Acoustic guitar accompaniment.

Smilers: Ol’ fashioned, but high-energy, rock and roll. Lead singer Hendrik Sal-Saller (who’s also made a name for himself in Finland) is outstanding.

Lindpriid: Specializing in pop/folk music from before and during World War II. Professional, sublime sounds despite the apparent simplicity. For enthusiasts of ’30s and ’40s music, their albums are a must.

Tanel Padar and Dave Benton: The surprising Eurovision 2001 winners. Pop, obviously, but solid and soulful.

Jäääär (Jääboiler): Professional folk/rock without the schlock of lesser Estonian bands. Excellent instrumentation; intelligent lyrics.

Blacky: A dashing woman with a gravelly, Joplin-esque voice. Rock mainstream.

Maarja: Pop soloist with a voice like a bell.

Ines: Said to be an Estonian Britney Spears; equally vacuous song lyrics, but still fun.

Urb Brothers:
Refreshing sound, great harmonies. A touch of Peter, Paul and Mary. Outstanding!

Hedvig Hanson:
Blues, jazz, rock. Music agents combing Estonia for talent just have to see Hanson in action.

Saxappeal Band:
An excellent jazz band Dixieland to Fusion. A great dance band.

Jaxy: Very good, Chris-Rea feel.

Siiri Sisask: Good-taste, funky pop.

Compromise Blue:
Heavy blues. Great horn section. Great drummer.

Tõnis Mägi: A national treasure. A la Billy Joel, he often performs solo on piano.

Good progressive punk.

Kukerpillid: Pop country/folk music.

Justament: Good country/folk.

Rockers with attitude.

Rock Hotel/Ivo Linna:
Grandpas of Estonian rock. Sounds of the ’60s.

Mr. Lawrence: The Estonian U2.

Folk a  la accordion.

Folkmill: Another good folk band.

Good punk.

New wave meets bossa nova.

Noorkuu: A cappella pop.

A good Estonian pop/rock band.