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Jäääär


Jäääär ("edge of the ice") was born on the 21st of January, 1991 in Tartu, and is noteworthy in the Estonian musical landscape not only because of its unique name. In reaction to the electronic musical tastelessness of the 80s, a group of young musicians came together to create something unique to touch their and their listeners’ souls. The resulting “urban folk”, performed on acoustic instruments, with deep and often penetrating lyrics, was an enchantingly refreshing new musical blend. From the beginning, their trademark was the extensive use of slide guitar, which in those days Tõun played using a porcelain shot glass nicked from his father’s liquor cabinet. (Estonia was in the final year of occupation by the Soviet Union and at that time it was very difficult to acquire decent musical equipment).

Incidentally, Eric Clapton’s “Tears in Heaven”, released the next year, had a very similar soundscape to that of Jäääär. The four members of Jäääär came from widely varying musical backgrounds, ranging from country to progressive rock. In the first years of their creative collaboration, they lived, worked and breathed together and besides enjoying life wrote a large number of songs, many of which have become local classics. Outside of Estonia, Jäääär has performed for audiences in Finland, Austria, Latvia and even Japan. To date, the band has been active for almost 20 years.

Over this period, the sound of the band has matured and the palette of musical instruments has diversified to include: Irish tin whistles, Hawaiian lap steel guitar, pedal steel guitar, National Tricone, Weissenborn guitar, cajon, mbira and much more.

In attestation of the continuing good health of the band, 2009 saw the release of 2 successful Jäääär records: “Pojaga restoranis” and “Öö on öö”, for which Jäääär was awarded a Golden Record for 'Group of the Year 2009' at a gala ceremony held in April 2010.

The year 2010 will be remembered by both band members and fans foremost due to the series of concerts in Estonian churches with excellent acoustics. Jäääär was assisted on this tour by organist Ulla Krigul, whose church organ blended beautifully with the other instruments, especially with the pedal steel guitar, to produce a unique and bewitching sound.

2011 has also started off well for Jäääär – the jubilee concerts all sold out rapidly, as did the quickly scheduled extra concerts. But this is only the beginning of what promises to be a busy year…