Primary Instrument: Accordion
Finnish accordion adventurist Kimmo Pohjonen’s singular mission is to expand the capabilities, sound, scope, performance and experience of the accordion to levels never before attempted, seen or heard. Accordion, voice, effects, surround sound and light show combine to make a unique and captivating performance event.
A visionary of boundless energy, Pohjonen’s roots go back thirty years in all forms of accordion music including folk, dance, classical, rock, experimental, theatre music and more. His studies in the progressive and innovative Sibelius Academy Folk Music Department were a critical factor in Pohjonen’s transition to the boldly creative and versatile musician / performer he is today. Currently, Pohjonen is simultaneously involved in numerous projects:
-Kimmo Pohjonen / Samuli Kosminen Kluster featuring sampling genius Samuli Kosminen (also known from work with Icelandic band MuM). Kluster appeared at the MIDEM 2006 music convention in Cannes on a main stage showcase performance. Their album is released in Europe via Rockadillo and Westpark, the duo has toured througout Europe in folk, jazz, world, classical, contemporary and rock music festivals.
-KTU (pronounced ”K2”) is the new band featuring Pohjonen with Texans Pat Mastelotto and Trey Gunn from King Crimson. The KTU album 8 Armed Monkey is released in Europe on Rockadillo and Westpark, in North America on Thirsty Ear and in Japan on Besection. Concerts in Helsinki, Moscow, Tampere, Tallinn, Moers, Jena and Tokyo have been resounding successes with the highlight being FMM Festival in Sines, 2005, for an audience of 7000. 2006 concert successes include Wien Accordion Festival, Ljubljana Slovenia, FIMAV in Victoriaville, Canada, Nattjazz in Norway and SPOT Festival in Denmark, followed by their North American tour in March 2007.
-Kluster meets Kronos Quartet in the Uniko project featuring music composed by Pohjonen and Kosminen, commissioned by Kronos. Concerts in Helsinki, Moscow and Molde Jazz Festival were major successes. US premiere of Uniko is set for October 3,5,6, 2007 at Brooklyn Academy of Music.
-Pohjonen’s latest solo adventure is called Animator featuring live computer designs by multi-media artist / designer Marita Liulia and live video mix by Antti Kuivalainen. Successful concerts took place in Helsinki, Wien, Dusseldorf and in the late 2005 tour of Portugal.
-Pohjonen works in an improvisation duo with French drummer, Eric Echampard. Their album Uumen was released by Rockadillo and Westpark and they have performed in Finland, France, Estonia, Norway and Netherlands.
-Pohjonen has composed music for a Swedish dance performance premiered in October 2006 by choreographer Lisa Torun..Pohjonen also collaborated in Paris in June 2006 with dancers /choreographers Tero Saarinen and Carolyn Carlson.
-Pohjonen has composed music for one British short film and for a Russian full length feature film, Majak.
Pohjonen and Kluster cohort Samuli Kosminen have composed and performed music for the full length Finnish feature film Jade Warrior. They have also composed music for a Finnish ”circus theatre” performance, Keskusteluja.
-Pohjonen and Kosminen are collaborating with Finland’s Proton String Quartet, for a premiere performance in Helsinki and Estonia in 2006 and concerts in Helsinki and Macau in 2007 and Köln in 2008.
-Pohjonen’s ”solo” show continues to tour regularly.
-Pohjonen enjoys a high profile UK with performances at The Proms at Royal Albert Hall London, Jazz Festival at the Barbican, Kalmuk and Kluster at Queen Elizabeth Hall and solo in the Purcell Room. Pohjonen has performed at two Meltdown Festivals in London. Pohjonen / Kosminen Kluster at David Bowie’s Meltdown performed one set of Bowie music followed by their own show. At Patti Smith’s Meltdown at Royal Festival Hall 2005, Pohjonen and drummer Sami Kuoppamäki participated in the Songs of Experience concert performing music of Jimi Hendrix. Pohjonen was nominated for BBC Radio 3 World Music Awards in 2002 and again in 2005 for the BBC Radio 3 Planet Award.
-Finnish choreographer Jorma Uotinen directed the Finnish National Opera Ballet performing Pohjonen’s Kielo music at Helsinki‘s National Opera House and again in Netherlands and Australia with local dance companies.
-Kimmo Pohjonen has received two consecutive five year artist grants from the Finnish state. He was Named “Accordionist of the Year” for 2000 and 2001 in Finnish Jazz magazine Jazz Rytmit and received the Nordic Council Music Award.
-Past projects include:
-Kalmuk, featuring fifteen piece Tapiola Sinfonietta orchestra plus Samuli Kosminen, a second percussionist, light show and surround sound. Kalmuk premiered in Helsinki 2000 then toured UK in 2002 with a simultaneous DVD release featuring extra video effects and archive film footage.
-The Manipulator project, 2002, featured multimedia artist Marita Liulia and buto dancer /choreographer Aki Suzuki and was performed in Helsinki, Sweden, Belgium. In Helsinki, the show was six hours of improvised performance on each of three days, total eighteen hours. Folk music groups included the side project Pinnin Pojat with JPP fiddler Arto Järvelä and Sibelius Academy Folk Music Department group Ottopasuuna.
KTU, Quiver (Rockadillo Records, 2009)
KTU, 8 Armed Monkey (Thirsty Ear, 2005)
Kimmo Pohjonen with French drummer Eric Echampard, Uumen (Rockadillo Records, Westpark Music, 2005)
Kimmo Pohjonen with Tapiola Simfonietta, Kalmuk (Westpark Music, 2002)
Kimmo Pohjonen, Kluster (Westpark Music, 2002)
Kimmo Pohjonen, Kielo (Rockadillo Records, P Vine [Japan], 1999)
Ismo Alanko Säätiö, Pulu (Poko, 1998)
Pinnin Pojat, Gogo 4 (AMK, 1992)
Middle photo with Samuli Kosminen: Tuomo Manninen
All others: Kalle Björklid
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