AALLOTAR is a transatlantic collaboration between Finnish-American violinist Sara Pajunen and Finnish accordionist Teija Niku, whose families once lived within hours of each other in the western regions of Finland. Using instruments traditional to Finnish and Finnish-American folk music and singing in both English and Finnish, the music of Aallotar pays tribute to Pajunen and Niku’s respective cultures, which – although they pulsate with many of the same values and energy of 100 years ago – have grown apart. While Aallotar explores these differences, the music ultimately intends to create new harmonies that reflect the rejoining of sounds at once familiar and foreign.

The name Aallotar, meaning ‘wave maiden’, comes from a character in Finland’s national epic “Kalevala”. The Aallotar name has graced the hulls of Finnish ships for centuries – ships that separated the ancestors of Aallotar’s members.

Both accordionist Teija Niku and violinist Sara Pajunen began performing Finnish folk music at an early age. Niku, from Haapavesi, Finland, has earned a master’s degree in folk music from the Sibelius Academy and won the respected Konsta Jylha competition with her band Grupa Balkan. Her album “Finsko Pajdusko” has been nominated Ethno Album of the Year in Finland’s version of the Grammys. Pajunen, one ‘of the most ambitious and notable practitioners of Finnish folk music outside of Finland’, has received classical music degrees both in Minneapolis and Helsinki. Later, she returned to Finland explore the folk music that is both her personal and ancestral past. She has founded two touring ensembles based on her Finnish roots: Kaivama and Tango Pohjan Tähden. Her recorded compatibility with (mentor/colleague/Finnish fiddler) Arto Järvelä ‘is superb… the most genuine Finnish music ever recorded in the U.S’. Finland’s Pelimanni magazine, published by the Folk Music Institute, described the sound as ‘two violins fly(ing) like the fragrance of a summer’s morning’.

Aallotar released its debut CD, “In Transit” in March 2014. The UK-based fROOTS writes: ‘Extra elusive appeal, its lightness of touch and melodiousness of repertoire matching the skill of [the musicians]’. Since their formation in fall 2013, they have toured the United States five times, including shows at the Old Town School of Folk Music, HostFest, and as a showcase artist at Folk Alliance International. They have recently presented their music at Folkelarm in Norway, and will play European festivals in summer 2016.

Sara Pajunen – violin, voice
Teija Niku – accordion, voice

Strona internetowa: www.aallotarmusic.com
Video: youtube.com/watch?v=Qt7RVSl-KQw