Review Archive

‘Soolo’ by Estonian violinist and singer Maarja Nuut - delicate simplicity

(July 16, 2013)

The delicate simplicity of ‘Soolo’ by Estonian violinist and singer Maarja Nuut evokes primeval peace, Maarja Nuttmystical folklore and an elemental proximity to nature. As with all natural growth this music develops in an organic way. On first hearing, you wait for the opening track to start, but perseverance repays; ‘Soend’ is unhurried, measured, supremely gentle and complete with the distant howling of wolves. That initial languid essence follows the melodic modes forms of ’Torupillivis’ and ‘Sabatants’ that weave an encircling web with combination of violin, voice, sound loops and samples.

This is a blend of ancient folk tunes, dances, chants and songs from Estonian folklore and through their mystery Maarja takes you on a fantasy ride of whirling melodies of ‘Polka’ and ‘Likulugu’ and hypnotic rhythms with ‘Sammud’. There’s an exploration of all that violin and voice have to offer, not I suspect everyone’s cup of tea but then again that’s their loss. ‘Soolo’ could be described as uncluttered and understated, and that it is, but it also offers the depth of tradition and an enchanting mystery sealed within its naïve purity.

There's native language and English translations on the album insert but the vocals and poetry lose nothing as listening to Maarja’s voice, whatever the language, is as much of an aural experience in sound as it is of understanding. Some will see ‘Soolo’ as unusual, others will recognise its singular appeal and those willing to open their musical minds will find they are listening to something rather wonderful. Find out more here:

Reviewer: Dan Holland

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