Mingo Rajandi

Composer, double dass player, creator of interdisciplinary artistic projects, ECU member since 2013
Born on 08.02.1980


Mingo Rajandi has degrees in theatre studies from the Estonian Institute of Humanities, and music studies from the Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre. Her bachelors degree is in jazz performance, studying double bass with Taavo Remmel, and her master’s degree in contemporary composition, studying with Tõnu Kõrvits and Rene Eespere.

For Mingo composing and performing have always been connected. She wrote her first compositions for a jazz group “Ajavares”, authoring around half of the band’s repertoire that was also released on three albums between 2006 and 2011. Later came other groups she started, led and also composed for: “Heliotroop”, “Verbarium”, “Avarus Trio” and, after graduating from the composition studies in 2013, “Avarus Ensemble”, a 10-piece electro-acoustic chamber ensemble bringing together musicians from both contemporary-classical and jazz performance fields. Leading and composing for Avarus Ensemble was an important experience for Mingo, allowing her to develop and expand her profile both stylistically and conceptually.

Mingo has a growing and deepening interest in interdisciplinarity in artistic projects, that is collaboration with actors, writers, artists and choreographers – everything that allows her to expand her expressive palette as a musician and a composer, but also as an artist in the wider sense. The first such collaboration was a dance production “Hingelinnud” (“Soul birds” 2016) for which Mingo composed the music with Avarus Ensemble performing it live. The next step was a multidisciplinary production “Lingua Franca” (2017), also featuring Mingo’s original music and herself as one of the actors. Endeavours to combine music and poetry led to the project “The Cap and Bells” (2016), a concert production focused on the works of W. B. Yeats and featuring a number of original compositions from Mingo and others while the programme organically included poetry recitals by an Irish actor Shane O’Reilly. In connection with that project, a short dance film was produced for Mingo’s composition of the same name, “The Cap and Bells”, directed by Carlos E Lesmes. Her work in the field of theatre continued with a production of “Der Kontrabaß” by Patrick Süskind in 2018. The production by Estonian Drama Theatre featured Mingo’s original music and arrangements and also herself performing a tacit role on stage. One of the most important interdisciplinary projects to date has been “Creating Gods”, commissioned by and premiered at the festival “Arvo Pärt Days 2018” in Tallinn. The production was based on the poems by the famed Portuguese poet Fernando Pessoa and tackled the themes of faith and religion. Based on Mingo Rajandi’s concept and original music the production brought together the choreography of Oksana Tralla, scenography and light design by Kristjan Suits, and featured an actor Paul Curley (IE), a composer and musician Seán Mac Erlaine (IE) and a percussionist and a drummer Ahto Abner (EE).

The most important source of inspiration and impetus for Mingo’s music has always been a passion for languages, literature and poetry. Many of her works are based on text. Socially acute themes have gained prominence in her works in recent years. For example, the bassoon concerto “Trees Talk” written for Martin Kuuskmann has been born out of a concern for the devastation of forests. Also, “Deep Fake”, an interdisciplinary project in the works with an international group.

In addition to composing original material, Mingo has had commissions to arrange and re-compose the music of others. Most important examples of this are the “Erkki-Sven Tüür and Lepo Sumera Rewrite” project commissioned by the Jazzkaar Festival for their 30th-anniversary edition in 2019, in collaboration with Kirke Karja; and a reworking of Händel’s “Messiah” for Veronika Portsmuth’s Choir Academy Christmas concert, also in 2019.

Mingo Rajandi is active in several groups: Mingo Rajandi Quintet, Trio Maag, a group focusing on Argentinian tango, and “The Free Musketeers”, an ensemble exploring the borderlands of free improvisation and performance art, performing recently also at the “Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival”. With her various groups and projects, Mingo has performed in Canada, Switzerland, Russia, Finland, Sweden, UK, Portugal, Hungary, Romania and elsewhere. In addition to composing for her own ensembles, Mingo has also composed chamber music and music for theatre and film productions.