Vootele Ruusmaa

Vootele Ruusmaa (born 23 March 1988) is a composer, musician and writer.

Ruusmaa was born in Kohtla-Järve. From the age of 12, he lived and grew up in Võru County. Ruusmaa graduated from the Viljandi Culture Academy of the University of Tartu in 2015 specialising in jazz singing. During his studies, he began to take interest in various forms of performing arts. He has continued his education abroad.

Vootele Ruusmaa writes poems, chooses and plays music to accompany them and performs his poetry texts. This is how the CD Audioluule reisipäevik (‘Travel Diary of Audio Poetry’) was created in 2017.

Vootele Ruusmaa’s debut collection of poetry Tavaline Don Quijote (‘The Ordinary Don Quixote’) was nominated for the Betti Alver Debut Prize in 2018. The lyrical book comprises of succinct reflections on inner life.

In 2021, Ruusmaa published the poetry book Purgatoorium (‘Purgatory’) for which he received the Bernard Kangro Literary Award. The book is an intimate obituary to the author’s father who deceased a few years earlier — Arthur Ruusmaa, a well-known historian of Võru County.

At a public reading in 2022, during a mentor programme to develop Estonian playwriting, the actors of Theatrum performed Vootele Ruusmaa’s play Sjoo linna uulitsate tuska (‘Sorrow of That Town’s Streets’). The play speaks about the town of Võru and the poet Artur Adson.

Vootele Ruusmaa has said that music and literature are visual for him: each story or poem is an impressionist picture. The essential features for the author in his creation are the tone of sound, minimalism, images and atmosphere.

L. P. (Translated by I. A.)

Books in Estonian

Tavaline don Quijote. Tallinn: Kultuurileht, 2018. 78 lk. [Sari ‘Värske raamat’.]
Purgatoorium. Luhametsa: Kaarnakivi seltsi kirjastus, 2021. 39 lk.