Wiiralt: “There are people with hearts as big as the Pacific Ocean working at Eesti Laul”

The semi finals of Eesti Laul kick off tonight, but appearing in the second semi final on Saturday is the Eesti Laul veteran band Wiiralt.

We were lucky enough to get to chat with Martin Saaremägi earlier this month where he’s explained their feelings about Eesti Laul, the tragic run up to the semi final and their exciting plans for 2023!

Welcome back Wiiralt to Eesti Laul. This is the third consecutive year of your songs being accepted into the contest, do you still have the same feelings about performing for the big audiences?

It’s great to be back. I don’t know if it’s some kind of a record or not. Three years of Wiiralt and the third Eesti Laul. And still doing our own thing – all night Rock’n’Roll Revival. And we are ready for the stage, the cameras and the ESC community. But we have promised in every interview – this will be the last time Wiiralt will take part in Eesti Laul.

“Salalik” seems more rock based than your previous songs, what can you tell us about the song?

“Salalik” kind of reminds me “Tuuled”, the first song we had on Eesti Laul. Little bit of country and little bit of blues mixed with big drums and loud guitars. As to the lyrics, it’s about troubles, famine, worry, sickness. Cutting down the forests, polluting the waters, disease, war, hunger. Breaks my heart seeing what’s going on and that’s what I wrote about. And then added a little tongue in cheek joke to the end – how can one worry about all these global things when they have troubles of their own – running out of beer and smokes.

We know that “Salalik” was initially to be performed by yourselves along with the band Ultima Thule until tragically their singer Riho Sibul passed away in November. How difficult was it to decide to continue with the contest?

We actually we’re thinking about pulling our song out of Eesti Laul contest but the Eesti Laul team has been super supportive and positive so we decided to continue. There are people with hearts as big as the Pacific Ocean working at Eesti Laul.

You’ve always been incredibly supportive of other Estonian artists, and have collaborated with many. What are your thoughts on the Eesti Laul Class of 2023?

I love music. Ever since I was a little child. I still listen to music 4-8 hours a day. Still try to find new artists that excite me. So music has been my job for 20 years now, but it has been my passion for way longer. And seeing that Estonian Artist would get a break, no matter if it’s with touring or with ESC or with Grammys or any other way… I want it to happen. So I’ll keep supporting Estonian artists. As to collaboration – we have many cool collaborations to come but those have not been released yet. We’ll get to that after the Eesti Laul semi finals.

Eesti Laul – class of ’23. I love that this year Eesti Laul semi-finals will be held in Viimsi. Small place on the outskirts of Tallinn. I live here and it’s literally 3 minutes walk from my home to the stage. But also a record number of Viimsi artists/songwriters got selected to the Eesti Laul.  Sissi, Carlos Ukareda, Inger, Stig Rästa and of course Wiiralt. So it’s like a neighbourhood party. Sent them my congrats as soon I found out they we’re chosen. Not bad for hamlets and villages.  

We last spoke ahead of Eesti Laul 2021, coming out of the pandemic you had many plans in place for concerts and recording, both as a band and with other artists, how has it been going?

 We are an active band so we keep on touring, we keep on releasing songs and albums. That’s what’s different between Wiiralt and a lot of other artists on Eesti Laul. Making music is what we do. We had some great radio success between the three Eesti Laul contest. “Tähed” was top20 most played songs of 2021 in Estonia and it was followed by “Enam pole pääsu”. Released a live album and we are getting ready to release 2 albums this year. Recorded also 2 albums abroad with many great singers and musicians from USA, UK and Argentina. So I am keeping myself busy and keeping Wiiralt busy. A lot of great music coming. And some of the music is way different from the country/blues riffing we are known from Eesti Laul so check those out.

Also in 2021, you treated us to fabulous cover versions of some of the other entries, any plans to carry this over to 2023?

I would love to do cover versions of other this years Eesti Laul songs but the timeline is been a bit difficult this year. December is a crazy month for musicians and the semifinals are happening already in a week so there has not been time. But if we get to the final, there’s no more excuses and some covers have to follow 🙂


 Thanks for your time Martin, and very best of luck to Wiiralt on Saturday in the semi final! Listen to “Salalik” here and don’t forget to vote in our poll below for your favourites from Semi Final 2!


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