Riho Sibul is the leader of Ultima Thule, an Estonian rock band. Formed in 1986, they have been one of the country's most influential bands of the 1980s and 1990s. Their style combines blues-rock with either witty or poetic lyrics, often incorporating elements of Estonian folk lore and traditional music.
In addition to his work in Thule, Sibul is also a renown solo artist with three highly acclaimed albums. He is, as claimed by many, the most unique guitarist in Estonia with influences from Jimi Hendrix, Jeff Beck, Wayne Krantz, Brandon Ross, Kevin Breit and Bill Frisell to name a few. His solo albums are all self-composed, torn towards a jazzy melancholy, blues and often diving into the ambient soundscapes. The lyrics, presented in Sibul's trademark gruff vocals and written by different Estonian poets, usually display his affection for poetry and revolve around coping with everyday life, emotional moments and the surrounding (mostly late autumn) environment. It seems that the seasons of late autumn and winter are a common feature in much of Sibul's creation.
During his several decades in the Estonian music scene, Sibul has established himself as one of the most professional and highly appreciated musicians. He has worked with various iconic figures such as the singers Tõnis Mägi, Gunnar Graps, Jaak Joala and Urmas Alender, the contemporary composer Erki-Sven Tüür, lyricists Ott Arder and Villu Kangur, not to mention various other projects.
Sibul was born in Järvakandi, Estonia in 1958. Coming from a musical family, he attended a specialized music class in school. During his high school years he played in the band Welled. After opening one night for the then number one hard rock artist Gunnar Graps, Sibul was invited to play with him in Graps's Magnetic Band, which soon brought him to the pantheon of Estonian rock musicians. He studied choir conducting at the Estonian Pedagogical University from 1976 to 1977, but never graduated.
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