Liisi Koikson continued a mini-tour of favourite Estonian gig venues last night, taking her friends who made up her jazz trio to the Must Puudel, epicentre of so many cool happenings in Tallinn. The wind was up and the air stung in that icy early-winter way outside, but Liisi's music, as I've said before, always takes me to a happy place, convincing me everything will be alright. There will be other artists whose songs remind me of other times in my life, but Liisi Koikson will always be the soundtrack of when I arrived in Estonia, as I said here.
As you can see above, it's a small cafe, cosy, intended to feel like a 1970s house. Originally, the owner, Estonian indie-rocker Vaiko Eplik, used this room to stage a weekly music quiz, as well as regular bands from Estonia, Finland and further afield. Now he also owns the larger sister cafe Sinilind, a lot of the centrepiece events have moved on - but for an artist like Liisi, with a pure, precise tone, this is undoubtedly the ideal venue, as her music, and the subtle way in which it is played by her musicians, benefit from being heard at close quarters.
As well as old favourites like "Ettepoole" and "Varjud", the opportunity was taken to try some new tunes, like "Hey Baby", a rare English-language song, penned by Liisi in London having, she said, been inspired by a lot of soul music. Some of the other new music showed a move towards darker, more atmospheric territory. It is a delicate balancing act, keeping fans of the earlier work happy while also broadening the range of musical of influences, but she seems to be managing it.
"Not Like This", on her Soundcloud profile, on the other hand, is pure Eva Cassidy, and sounds utterly timeless. This is going to be quite some album eventually.