The Estonian folk ensemble Rüüt sensitively brushes old Estonian folk tunes against the grain and rearranges them. The quartet also writes its own songs. Rüüt celebrate a mystical atmosphere, revel in rhythms that only seem complicated, and love precision. Most important to the band is the feeling of togetherness. Although their music is based on traditional Estonian tunes, the ensemble doesn’t want to limit itself to a specific genre, but keeps all doors open. “Our philosophy is that each piece has its own character and takes listeners on a journey through different sound worlds,” emphasize the four Rüüt musicians.
The ensemble has performed several times on the stages of Estonia’s major folk music festivals. In 2015, the debut album “Maasikille” (translated: strawberries) was released. The longplayer was nominated for Album of the Year at the Etnokulbid Awards. In 2017, the ensemble released its nature-inspired second studio album “Kadakad” (Juniper), which was even nominated three times for the Etnokulbid Awards.
With “Kiriküüt” Rüüt now present their third album. “Kiriküüt is very different from the previous albums. We sound much smoother than in the beginning, when we experimented with two accordion players and two singers. For a couple of years we’ve had a new member on guitar, and we’ve found exactly the person we were missing in our group. Now it’s just me playing the Estonian accordion, and for half of the songs I turn to the kannel, the old Estonian zither” reports band member Juhan Uppin. This opens up the possibility for the band to vary the sound character and intensity. The album title “Kiriküüt” is an old, playful word for a nightingale. “We have always been attracted to birds, they symbolize something important to us. Birdsong can be perceived as music. Our band name Rüüt also refers to a bird in Estonia, a golden plover,” Uppin says.
Of course, birds also play a role on “Kiriküüt”, especially in the single “Toonetuuled”: Since there was no scientific explanation for bird migration in the past, it seemed strange to people that the birds disappear in autumn and suddenly reappear in spring. It was believed that they go to Toonela, which the northerners called the “place of death”. In the spring, there was a custom that you could not go outside the door in the morning until you put a piece of bread in your mouth. This bread protected from diseases and evil that could come with the birds from Toonela. “The song is about the fact that sometimes dangers can lurk around us, but that we can still be protected,” writes the band.
Rüüt draw inspiration from the past, present and future. The “ancient level” comes from traditional Estonian folk songs. “Secondly, our love belongs to nature, which is the same in the present time as it was in the time of our ancestors. Traditional music and nature are inseparable. We try to put ourselves in the minds of the people who used to play this music. We create new music from natural sources. We transcribed bird songs and used them as melody fragments,” Uppin says. The third source of inspiration for the band is the free world, with all its possibilities.
Rüüt are: Maarja Soomre (vocals/melodica), Maili Metssalu (vocals/fiddle), Juhan Uppin (Estonian accordion and kantele) and Jaan-Eerik Aardam (vocals, guitar).
Year of Release: 2023