Monday, May 27, 2013

Maria Kalaniemi - Iho [1995 Finland] @VBR~224

Accordionist Maria Kalaniemi is one of the better-known Finnish musicians. An student of the famous Sibelius Academy folk program, she is equally at home playing traditional music and more experimental fare as well. She was one of the members of the great group Niekku, and more recently has collaborated with musicians such as JPP keyboardist Timo Alakotila and Swedish fiddler Sven Ahlback. Iho is the first album credited to her and Aldargaz, a group of top-notch musicians.

All of the pieces are instrumentals. Most were composed by Kalaniemi except for three by Alakotila, two traditional tunes and a rendition of Carlos Gardel's tango "Sus Ojos Se Cerraron" (retitled "Surun Silmat"). Kalaniemi's playing can be intricate and fast (as on "Lomasavel") or she can create a beautiful wash of sound. Some pieces, like "Green Score" and "Napoleon," invite the listener in with an accessible, attractive sound. Others are complex and subtle, like the sad folk tune "Istunpa Sankys Laitalla."

Aldargaz is Timo Alakotila (piano and harmonium), Olli Varis (guitars), Tapani Varis (acoustic bass), Petri Hakala (mandolins) and Arto Jarvela (violin). Each of these musicians has a formidable career in his own right and their names should be well-known to fans of Finnish music. In addition, eight more guests add brass instruments or strings to various cuts. This creates a perfect setting for Kalaniemi's five-row button accordion. The accordion is definitely the lead instrument here, but the other band members hold up their end of things. Alakotila's keyboards add stylish accents and solid support; his sophisticated piano work on "Surun Silmat" is perfect for the piece. Most of the arrangements were written by Alakotila, often in partnership with Olli Varis.

The music on Iho bears the same relationship to Finnish folk music that new acoustic music does to bluegrass and old-timey music. The tradition is a foundation for musical technique and skill that is played out in a more modern style. For some of the best in contemporary Finnish music, check out Iho.

01 - Napoleon
02 - Lomasävel
03 - Green score
04 - Slingerdansin
05 - Surun silmät
06 - Iho
07 - Triolipolska
08 - Sofias flykt
09 - Istunpa sänkys laitalla
10 - Säde
11 - Linjärv

Maria KALANIEMI: Accordion
Timo ALAKOTILA: Harmonium
Olii VARIS: Guitar
Tapani VARIS: Bass
Petri HAKALA: Mandolin
Arto JÄRVELÄ: Violin
Janne LAPPALAINEN: Saxophone soprano, Saxophone tenor
Jukka TIIRIKAINEN: Trompete, Flugelhorn
Aleksi AHONIEMI: Saxophone tenor
Matti MÄKELÄ: Violin
Maarit KYLLÖNEN: Violin
Tuula SAARI: Alto
Tiuja TIRKKONEN: Violoncello
Antti SOININEN: Violin.


CrimsonKing said...

Iho (RS)
Iho (Yandex)


Anonymous said...

Thank you so much, I was looking for that one for long. I love Maria Kalaniemi so much...

Anonymous said...

Thanks a lot for this.

Barron said...

Thank you. I have really enjoyed the other two posted earlier.

Anonymous said...

Thank you. Lovely music.

Anonymous said...

Can you please upload her album Åkerö?

Anonymous said...

ur blog is just incredible. be thanked a thousand times for ur work !!!

CrimsonKing said...




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