Madingma warmed the hearts of the audience

This article was originally published in

Written by Janek Jõgisaar ( English translation by Nora Roosimölder, editing Robyn Laider. Photos by Ivo Eggi (Reval Folk)

The band, whose name is slightly difficult for Estonians to pronounce (Madingma), toured from the 13th to the 16th of February. They played at Saaremaa Veski, Tartu Sisevete Saatkond, Viljandi Pärimusmuusika Ait, and Tallinna Vanalinna Muusikamaja. On top of which, one could spend time with the musicians all together at breakfast and afterwards try the instruments in the Flemish music workshop.

In the evening of the 16th of February, one hundred people came to Tallinna Vanalinna  Muusikamaja. Through the cold, slippery and dark town, on the way towards the flickering candle lights, somebody lost their black scarf. But there was no need to fear the cold – Muusikamaja warmed even the coldest of souls with its time-honoured atmosphere.

To warm up the audience, Tuule Kann and Helen Arusoo played a few Lithuanian tunes on an Estonian harp. It was beautiful to the ear.

Was Madingma impressive? It is no secret that folk music tends to be monotonous and self-repeating. Like a lullaby – Children will easily fall asleep, this is the truth. But it doesn’t happen when the Timmermans brothers step on the stage.

This is not just the music that they play. It is also the stories that they share. This is also in the subtle gifts they give; photos, which are thrown into the audience. It is also in their personalities, which they sell to the audience. Stefan is more talkative and Diedrik more silent, but they complement each other.

It is completely normal to change instruments three times during one tune. It is completely normal to play standing on a chair – at the end of the concert, you will understand why they left their shoes untied. Stefan is not simply a ‘decent person’. It could be said that decent people make decent and boring music for decent and boring people.

The way Stefan presents himself makes me contemplate the interesting life the brothers must be living. On their journeys through the world they have collected tunes and experiences. Now, they give it to people fresh and tasty. You can not can it, you have to be there to get the experience. 

Stefan finds that “The magic of playing music with others is, without a doubt, one of the most beautifu

l experiences a human being can feel. It is also wonderful how happy you can make people, and how you can create very special atmospheres just by playing or singing.

Are they new in Estonia? No, not even a tiny bit. Stefan has been here and cheered Estonian hearts already with Fluxus. He has performed in Estonia over and over again, in different groups, for 25 years! One might even wonder if maybe there could be some offspring in the audience?

Of the audience: one in ten is a man. Almost everyone is young. People are gripped to the music from the first tune. You don’t see that kind of dedication everyday. It’s a struggle to try to get that many young people to listen to anything on this smartphone-era, but Madingma easily succeeds.

Another story is Vanalinna Muusikamaja itself. This house has seen a lot, some of it is visible, some not. The visible part is in the restroom, the non-visible in the concert hall, where it is forbidden to dance because if one dares to dance there, they could end up in the cellar with the floor. Despite this, the audience stomped their feet like thunder, when it seemed that the party will be over soon.

Another high point is the cafe. The staff seems to belong to the same era as the house itself. With their wittiness they often end up on the stage. 

It seems that after the concert and cleaning they climb back in their cocoon, in some dust-free cupboard, patiently waiting for the next ball. And they have been doing it at least for a few hundred years.

The audience and the brothers and the author of this article thank the manager of Reval Folk – Kadri Allikmäe. All of us find that she is the best person to organise these events.

The next concert will be on the 31st of march when Dave Murphy from Ireland and Jyrki Koivisto from Finland meet in the one and only- Vanalinna Muusikamaja. See more HERE

See the full gallery of the concert in Tallinn HERE (photos by Ivo Eggi)

See the gallery of the concert in Tartu HERE (photos by Ivan Chulkov)