The World Music Expo 2019 starts next week in Tampere, Finland. Tampere is the 3rd largest city in Finland and a multi-talented music hub. It is the home for numerous high-quality festivals, events and music companies.
Finnish music will play a key role this year. The Opening concert is titled Arctic Fire – Pohjoiset tulet. To celebrate WOMEX’ 25th anniversary, four leading Finnish acts, Vildá, Pauanne, Pekko Käppi and Suistamon Sähkö, will be performing on the opening night at 19:30.
The Northern Connections showcase will present MA Rouf on Saturday, October 26 at 00:45. The band combines mystical Persian and Nordic music; Tuuletar, a vocal group that draws from Finnish traditions and modern influences, set to perform on Thursday, October 24 at 00:45; and the Sami yoik of Wimme & Rinne on Friday, October 25 at 23:15.
The Official Showcase features Finnish act Emilia Lajunen
& Suvi Oskala, scheduled to perform on Friday, October 25 at 13:00. Emilia
Lajunen & Suvi Oskala are five-string fiddle masters.
Composer, producer, researcher and ethnomusicologist Pekko Käppi was born in 1976. He is a jouhikko player from Tampere and a part-time instructor at the Sibelius Academy.
He has a band called K:H:H:L.
Pekko Käppi’s style combines folk, rock and blues.
Kalastajia ja kaivostyöläisiä, EP (Amerikan Peikko Records, Kuusi Pientä Kustantajaa, 2001) Бубнить Себе под нос, EP (267 lattajjaa, 2003) Minun päiväkunnissani, EP (Imvated, 2004) Jos ken pahoin uneksii (Peippo, 2007) Vuonna ’86 (Singing Knives, 2010) Rammat Jumalat (Helmi Levyt, 2013) Sanguis Meus, Mama! (GAEA Records, 2015) Matilda (Svart Records, 2017) Väärä Laulu (Svart Records, 2019)
Finnish band Pauanne explores the pagan traditions of Finnish folk music. The trio has uncovered and collected long-lost folk music that includes stories of spells and curses, the dreams of a shepherd, 17th century witch hunts and magical iron fences that repel invaders.
The trio includes Kukka Lehto on violin; Tero Pennanen on Hammond organ and other keyboards; and Janne Haavisto on drums.
Band leader Kukka Lehto searched through Helsinki’s music archives and discovered exciting material from the early 20th century. Pauanne’s material includes traditional folk songs and new compositions as well.
Markku Lepistö, from southern Ostrobothnia, is one of Finland’s most dynamic accordionists, having been playing folk and dance music since age five.
A graduate of the Sibelius Academy Folk Music Department, where he studied kantele, woodwinds, double bass and fiddle, Markku was a member of the now defunct ensemble Pirnales, has played with the group Progmatics, more recently in a duo with Aldargaz mandolinist Petri Hakala and in the klezmer group Doina Klezmer. Markku joined Värttinä just before the Vihma recordings.
In 2011, Lepistö released an album titled Accordion Samurai along with four other accordion colleagues: Riccardo Tesi (Italy), Bruno Le Tron (France), Didier Laloy (Belgium) and David Munnelly (Ireland).
A follow-up Samurai album titled Te featured David Munnelly; Riccardo Tesi (Italy), Simone Bottasso (Italy) and Kepa Junkera (Spain).
Kimmo Pohjonen is one of the most respected and in-demand musicians and performers in Finland. An accordionist of exceptional ability and imagination, Kimmo’s musical history goes back more than twenty years in rock, folk, avant-garde, improvisation, classical, dance and theater music projects.
He was born in 1964 and began playing accordion at age 8, playing dance music, folk music, later classical and rock music. He studied Classical Music at Helsinki Conservatory 1980-1985. He later studied at the Sibelius Academy Folk & Classical Music Departments in 1985-96. In addition, he studied at Bagamoyo College of Arts, Tanzania, off and on, 1985-92; and in Buenos Aires, Argentina, 1994. He has worked as teacher of accordion at Sibelius Academy and in the USA, Sweden, Denmark, and Holland.
Pohjonen was named “Folk Musician of the Year” in Finland in 1996, 1997, and 1998. He has played in over 75 different albums in the past years, including Finnish folk music group Ottopasuuna, duo Pinnin Pojat with JPP’s Arto Jarvela, and rock band Ismo Alanko Säätiö. Pohjonen has also performed music for theater, ballet and modern dance.
In 1996 he embarked on a solo career with his solo 5-row accordion project, featuring extreme and original compositions, live loops and effects, a dynamic and animated stage performance, orchestrated lights and surround sound. This show received instant massive worldwide critical acclaim at WOMEX Berlin in 1999 and led to continuous work with his many projects all over Europe, North and South America, Israel, Russia and Japan to rave response.
In 2000, Kimmo received a five year composer/artist grant from the Finnish state and he was named “Accordionist of the Year” for 2000 and 2001 in Finnish Jazz magazine Jazz Rytmit.
In 2000 he presented “KalmukkiSinfonia” project in Helsinki featuring the 15-piece Tapiola Sinfonietta orchestra, two percussionists, light show and surround sound.
In 2001 Pohjonen formed duo Kimmo Pohjonen Kluster with sampling whiz Samuli Kosminen. Kluster toured Europe throughout 2001-2004.
He teamed up with French percussionist Eric Echampard for a first concert in Tallin. Finnish choreographer Jorma Uotinen directed Finnish National Opera Ballet performing Kimmo’s Kielo music at Helsinki’s National Opera House.
Pohjonen worked on the Kalmuk project with Tapiola Sifonietta toured England in 2002 with the simultaneous release of Kalmuk DVD Symphony. The Kalmuk DVD Symphony won the Teosto Prize (Finland) in 2003.
The Manipulator project was created in 2002, with multimedia artist Marita Liulia. It was performed in Helsinki, Sweden, and Belgium. In Helsinki it was 6 hours of improvised performance on each of three days, with a total 18 hours.
Pohjonen composed and performed, with Kluster, music for the UK short film “Flickerman and the Ivory Skinned Woman”.
In 2004, Kluster collaborated with Pat Mastelotto and Trey Gunn of King Crimson, and with Kronos Quartet.
Pohjonen’s recent adventures include Animator, featuring live computer graphics by Marita Liulia and live video mix by Antti Kuivalainen. Pohjonen also performs entirely improvised music with French percussionist Eric Echampard.
Out of the collaboration with Pat Mastelotto and Trey Gunn came KTU, a live band featuring Trey Gunn on Warr guitar, Samuli Kosminen on vocals and accordion samples, Pat Mastelotto on drums, Kimmo Pohjonen on accordion and vocals, and Heikki Iso-Ahola as sound designer.
Áššu’s album Áššu has won The German Record Critics’ Award (Preis der deutschen Schallplattenkritik), Longlist 3/2019, Weltmusik (world music).
Áššu includes Ulla Pirttijarvi (Finland) on vocals, joiks; Harald Skullerud (Norway) on percussion, calimba, calabas, harmonium; and Olav Torget (Norway) on baritone guitar, konting, oilcan guitar.
On behalf of the jury, Johannes Kneihs stated “Rough and with electrifying energy, singer Ulla Pirttijärvi from the Finnish part of Lapland “joiks” about people and others bring West African elements into the game – which fits surprisingly well and clearly convincing better than other pop-joik adaptations from Finland or Norway in past years. A rousing debut album, it makes you curious and wants more.”
Áššu recently performed at Etno-Espa in Helsinki 9th of August, 2019.
Kardemimmit is a quartet band of four remarkable women playing the Finnish national instrument, kantele (lap zither). The ensemble was formed in 1999 in the musical institute Juvenalia in Kardemimmit’s home town Espoo, in southern Finland.
The ensemble’s members are Maija Pokela, Jutta Rahmel, Anna Wegelius and Leeni Wegelius. The four musicians were attracted to folk music even though they also liked playing others types of music.
Kardemimmit creates and manages its own music. The artists compose, arrange, write lyrics and produce their recordings.
Together with 15 and 38 stringed kanteles, vocals have an essential role in Kardemimmit’s sound. The quartet’s original pieces combine modernity with Finnish, Eastern European and Scandinavian musical traditions. Kardemimmit incorporates Finnish reki-singing style, 19th century dance music, Perhonjokilaakso kantele playing style, Eastern Finnish ancient improvisation and early runo singing.
In 2004, the four musicians attended the influential Kaustinen Folk Music Festival. They got to see two of the finest Nordic bands, Väsen and Värttinä.
In 2005, Kardemimmit won the International Kantele Competition.
The group has released several album, including Viira; Kaisla; Autio huvila (Abandoned Villa), selected Finnish folk album of the year 2012;Onni (Happiness); and Kesäyön valo 2018. Kaisla was reissued in 2012 as The Rough Guide to the Music of Scandinavia compilation’s bonus CD under the title Introducing Kardemimmit.
Usein Kasvoin is a superb genre-defying album by Finnish
multi-instrumentalist Pekka Nättinen. On Usein Kasvoin, Nättinen brings
together Finnish folk, medieval influences, contemporary jazz, global
percussion, blues and progressive rock elements.
Pekka Nättinen plays a wide range of fascinating flutes and other wind instruments along with spellbinding kantele, guitars and more. He’s joined by masterful musicians who come from various musical traditions.
The lineup includes Pekka Nättinen on wind instruments, kantele, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, bouzouki, dobro, vocals, and programming; Tony Elgland on electric bass and double bass; Juha Kujanpää on piano, keyboards; Seppo Santala on vocals and programming; Osmo Blomqvist on percussion; Antti Heerman on violin; Jarmo Hovi on percussion; Emmi Kujanpää on kantele; Saara Lehtonen on flute; Hannu Leppänen on drums, percussion; Iida Nättinen on vocals; Markku Rinta-Pollari on tenor saxophone; Henric Sandås on bandoneon; and Hannu Tähtelä on kantele.
Odda Áigodat (Bafe’s Factory, 2018) by Solju is the winner of the The Indigenous Music Awards (IMA) – the Best International Indigenous Release 2019. The award was given by Manito Ahbee Festival May 17th, 2019.
Solju includes Ulla Pirttijärvi and Hildá Länsman, who were the first Sámi artists nominated for the awards.
The Manito Ahbee Festival celebrates Indigenous arts, culture, and music in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. The 14th annual festival will be held May 15-19, 2019 and feature the Indigenous Music Awards, Manito Ahbee Pow Wow, Indigenous Music Conference, Indigenous Marketplace and Trade Show, Getting Jiggy With It, Art Challenge, and Youth Education Day.
Solju is a Finnish group led by Ulla Pirttijärvi-Länsman and her daughter Hilda Länsman. They are Sámi musicians from Utsjoki, Lapland, which is the northernmost municipality in Finland.
Ulla and Hilda bring together their heritage of northern Sámi language and traditional chant, known as yoik, with a desire for new and innovative music, providing a dialogue of traditional and modern Sámi culture.
Solju’s debut album “Odda Áigodat” (New Times) was released in April 2018. In May 2019, Ođđa Áigodat won an award in Canada, The Indigenous Music Awards (IMA) – Best International Indigenous Release 2019.
Hildá Länsman is also a member of Finnish duo VILDÁ, featuring accordionist Viivi Maria Saarenkylä.