It's not a word used much these days, but if you've never heard of Estas Tonne, he describes himself as a modern troubadour. He is famous as a classical and fingerstyle guitarist. So who is he? Estas was born as Stanislav Tonne on the 24th of April, 1975. He was born in Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine, which at the time was part of the USSR.
He started learning to play the guitar when he was eight years old. He attended a local music school where he studied classical music. Unlike many other guitarists, Estas gave up playing the guitar for almost 11 years after his family moved to Israel in 1990. He only took it up again in 2001 when he moved to New York. He formed a duo with violinist Michael Shulman.
After a while, he began to travel around the world and played solo. He has never really stopped moving for long since then. He has stated in interviews that since becoming an adult, he has rarely stayed anywhere for more than a year. Estas has been posting videos of his performances to YouTube for more than 15 years and now has 644,000 subscribers to his channel.
Many of his videos have gone viral across multiple channels and received millions of views. The most popular is The Song Of The Golden Dragon, and it has been viewed 95 million times which is unbelievably high. If you aren't one of those 95 million, you can see it here.
Although he travels the world and performs on YouTube, Estas has stayed still long enough to record some albums. He has released seven studio albums and four live ones. His music is available on Spotify, and he has around 166k listeners per month. Some of his songs, including Internal Flight and The Song Of The Butterfly, have been listened to over a million times. Many listeners praise the spiritual feel of Estas' music which may be rooted in his study of yoga as well as his travels among different cultures around the world.
In his own words: "Music isn’t a career to me, it’s life. When I started to play on the streets, I just lived my life and I keep doing so today. Life includes it all: pain and healing, sorry and joy. Within the polarities there is a great guide that keeps it all together and it’s in all of us; just feel.”
Although Estas appears to feel a deep connection to everything, he has not yet found that special someone. Estas has never been married or engaged, or had children and does not appear to have a partner at the moment. Perhaps this is because he is devoted to his music, or perhaps he never stays anywhere long enough to meet someone. However, he should have no problem winning them over with his music when he does.
Until then, Estas continues to tour and attempts to build bridges using music. So many people have felt isolated since the Covid-19 pandemic that this is a powerful message. It seems he has a lot more travelling to do.