Recordings from the Estonian Folklore Archives 3

Mihkel Toom

Mihkel Toom and Mart Männimets at a recording session in Tallinn in 1936. Photo by P. Parikas. ERA, Foto 8929.

August Pulst was the one who over the course of his tours with folk musicians brought wider fame to the music men of Tori Parish where he himself originally came from. Mihkel Toom (1873–1958) was one of the most famous of Tori’s wedding musicians. He started to learn the violin at the age of six. At the age of 18 he was already playing at weddings, building bees and christenings. The most free time to play at festivities he had was in the final decade of the 19th century just before he got married. August Pulst has described Mihkel Toom’s lively playing: “Standing up he stamped the rhythm with his foot. At times he would place his foot up on a bench or chair and with a pipe in his mouth would put his bow into motion so that his violin would wail out, his head would be rocking and his pipe would be bobbing up and down.” Mihkel’s grandfather had also been a wedding musician, while his father played the buckhorn. Mihkel Toom was recorded by the National Radio with another violin player Mart Männimets. Mart was very musical and was able to play harmony by ear to the playing of others. The two men aroused the enthusiasm of even professionals in the audience with their playing.