Portfolio of Kimberly Johans

A collection of articles created during my stint as a journalist at The Macau Daily Times

The world of music accordion to Kimmo

Posted by Kimberly on October 26, 2007

By Kimberly Johans
Published in The Macau Daily Times
October 26, 2007, page 5 (566 words)

In a world where variety and uniqueness draw interest. Kimmo Pohjonen combined his accordion with the Proton String Quartet and Juuso Hannukainen’s sound manipulations to create something indescribable last night at Mount Fortress.
Having played the accordion since the age of ten, with the instrument being in the family through his father, Kimmo’s goal was always “to explore the instrument and make it my own as I’ve been playing it for more than 30 years.
“If somebody thinks it’s popular then great!” he added.
Asked what thought went behind combining the accordion with the string quartet, Kimmo said it was like an accordion, “al those frequencies and sometimes I feel on stage it’s like a counter-force,” adding it was the same with the electronic music.
This is not the first collaboration with the quartet though, as Kimmo mentioned he had performed with them during Spring 2005.
Teppo Ali-Mattila, a violinist with the quartet added, “we’ve also used Kimmo’s music in two films [a Finnish and a Chilean project]
Kimmo’s not one to rest on his laurels, saying “I try to find new sounds from that instrument,” adding “that’s what excites me.”
But, like almost every artist, there was a time when his passion wasn’t so obvious and his desire to create began to ebb.
“At one time I felt really tired of the accordion and wanted to quit,” he said, yet it was the discovery of electronic music and new ideas with it, that gave him back the inspiration to continue.
Explaining the concept was Juuso who said, “the basic idea was that all the sounds in the piece were made from either the accordion, his [Kimmo’s] voice or the strings.
“They have been sampled and then processed in many ways so they can be heard as drums, bass or harmonies,” he said, adding that the possibilities were numerous when working with machines, “so you have to restrict yourself.”
These new ideas bring inspiration to Teppo who said, “it’s exciting and very different to what we normally do.
“We’re trying also in future to use the ideas we’ve got from Kimmo. It’s unique for us and inspiring,” he said.
Asked what inspired him during the creation of his music, Kimmo said, “there’s been so many different styles that influenced me. At one stage I was so into African music but I don’t listen to that anymore.
“As a musician I don’t want to get bored so you always need to find things that inspire you,” he said, adding that he never rite music.
“I used to a long time ago but it’s too slow for me and cuts the creative process,” he said.
He added that the process is also helped by the fact he receives assistance from the government and so “I don’t have to go for all the projects that are offered. I don’t run with money but with time.”
His music plan is simple: make music when the winters ensure nothing else could be accomplished outside, and attend festivals and bring that music to the public during the warmer months.
And they had no concern for how their music would be received in Macau, with Kimmo adding, “it makes it easier for people to open their minds to different instruments, so it creates a new audience.
“I think if they [the audience] don’t know what to expect, they are more open,” he said.

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