Vilma Timonen Quartet

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Audio Feature

Music from The Vilma Timonen Quartet
From the 2015 release Drops (Bafe's Factory)

The kantele is often considered the very breath of Finnish music, an ancient instrument that has developed many iterations, from a small lap top zither with a few strings to concert giants with many many rows, rivaling a piano.

Vilma Timonen has mastered the instrument, and plays one of a scale somewhere in between the two extremes. While there is folk tradition at the root of her music, it is very much in a popular form that integrates rock, jazz and folk.

Joined by Tuomas Timonen on percussion, Topi Korhonen on guitar, trumpet, and mandolin and Jaakko Kämäräinen on bass, VTQ definitely pulls out a few stops, both instrumentally and vocally in this set of 9 beautifully crafted songs and tunes. The music is sometimes ethereal and transcendent, and at other times firmly grounded in rhythm and melody.

"Pinnan alla (under the surface)" (full track)

I chose to feature this instrumental piece because it so firmly relates back to Finnish folk music - without being folk music.

We'll follow with a few samples of other tracks from the recording that feature the ensembles vocal work and Timonen's lyric sensibility. - Cliff Furnald

"Kuutar / Moon Goddess" (excerpt)

A woman hears the moon goddess weaving and goes to her. The goddess gives her gold, gives her silver: the woman gets gold jewellery on her brow and good silver to wear. She burns bright as gold, shines like silver. When she falls asleep on a grassy meadow, a thief watches from the bushes. He takes the gold from her brow, steals the silver from her. Crying, the woman returns home. Her father watches from the window, her mother from the storehouse steps. “Why are you crying, daughter,” asks her mother, “why are you weeping, my child?”

"Viima / Gale" (excerpt)

A cold wind in July, strange faces everywhere: a different country where I don't know the language. Odd customs, a language impossible to understand. Small smoky restaurants. An unfamiliar part of town… I try to listen to ancient words, they melt in my mouth. I repeat my wish: come to me, my gentle, calm wind.

You can find the ensemble on Facebook.

All audio ©2015 Bafe's Factory and Vilma Timonen Quartet
Used by permission.

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