Arto Järvelä Far In
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Arto Järvelä
Far In!
Oart, Finland

cd cover Far In! is the third solo CD from Arto Järvelä, a collection of original tunes performed, produced, and engineered by Järvelä himself. Best known for his participation in several influential Finnish folk bands (JPP, Helsinki Mandoliners, Pinin Pohjat, Aldargaz, and many others) he is equally skilled on fiddle, mandolin, nyckelharpa, kantele, and a dozen other instruments, most of them included in tracks on this new disc. With a trilogy of solo CD's to his name now, Arto Järvelä could be dubbed Finland's Lord of the Strings.

Born into a family of musicians, with dozens of younger relatives and neighbors following in his footsteps (ie., Frigg), Järvelä has been playing, composing, creating arrangements for JPP and other groups, and teaching at the Sibelius Academy Folk Music Department for over two decades. Recently, the Finnish government awarded him a 3-year financial grant for his artistic achievment. This CD project may be one happy result what Järvelä did with his "free time".

Alone in the studio, experimenting with sound tracks like a painter with a new set of brushes, Järvelä created musical improvisations out of thoughts, inspired by everything from a black cat on a fence, to the blaring of Pakistani taxi horns.

For example: "Salix", is a melody that came to Järvelä as he tuned a wooden overtone flute for his little daughter. Here, he folds sounds the sounds of his fiddle, heartbeat, footsteps, electric guitar, cittern, octave mandolin, 10 string kantele, and the original overtone flute into a gentle tone poem, almost a lullaby.

In an entirely different mood, "Ellu's Schottis," one of the best known pieces AJ arranged for JPP in the 1980's, takes a cruise to Jamaica, over a reggae beat track from the electronic sequencer. Nods and winks also go out to friends and heroes in Järvelä's world of music, like the Quebecois group La Bottine Souriante. "Joliette River" is a quick waltz he wrote for them in 1996. "Taraf" celebrates the gypsy fiddlers from the Haidouks village in Romania.

It's hard to believe that the "usual suspects" heard on most other recordings with Järvelä (Timo Alakotila, Kimmo Pohjannen, Oli and Tapani Varis, etc) are not playing here as well. However, Far In hardly signals the end of his partnership with other great musicians. Things to look forward to include a new trio with Swedish fiddler Hans Kennemark and Timo Alakotila, which will also have a CD out soon . JPP is working on a new CD and some cross-cultural fiddling went on recently when Nikolai Blad invited him to fiddle on a new Finnish-Argentinian tango CD titled Missä kävit?

Before this flood of new recordings arrives, check out Järvelä's first two solo CDs as well - Polska Differente (1994) which includes dozens of the best Finnish folk musicians, playing original Arto tunes, and Arto Plays Fiddle (2004) that presents the traditional fiddle style of Kaustinen region (where he learned to play from his father and grandfather) and shows what fiddlers did before the fiddle, bass & harmonium style became the standard in Finland. - Patrice George

CD available from cdRoots

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