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Prog Folk • Finland

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Juha Kujanpaa picture
Juha Kujanpaa biography
Juha Kujanpää is a composer and musician living in Helsinki, Finland. He is particulary interested in the area between folk and jazz music. As a musician he has a history goiung back to the year 2000 as a band member and a contributor to releases from other artists. Of the latter, Dave Lindholm, Nikolai Blad, Riku Keskinen, Dile Kolanen and Joakim Berghäll can be mentioned. Current band involvements are the bands Teija Niku Quartet, Captain Cougar, Ikiranka, Ville Ojanen & Kameleontti, and children music band FlipFlop. He is also a member of the improvisation theatre group Häpeämättömät.

In 2013 Kujanpää decided to start releasing solo albums, where he could explore his love for the blend of jazz, folk music and progressive rock in more detail. As of 2018 this has resulted in three solo albums, all of them released by Finnish label Eclipse Music.

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4.28 | 8 ratings
3.96 | 4 ratings
3.00 | 2 ratings
Niin Kauas Kuin Siivet Kantaa

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Showing last 10 reviews only
 Kivenpyorittaja by KUJANPAA, JUHA album cover Studio Album, 2013
4.28 | 8 ratings

Juha Kujanpaa Prog Folk

Review by Kingsnake

5 stars This is exactly the kind of music I'm always looking for.

Instrumental music with a pastoral feel. A mixture of (medieval) folk, world, prog, jazz, fusion and classical music. All instruments are analog and/or acoustic, and the production is crystal clear. There's a rockband somewhere in the music but only to accompany the rest of the music.

This music makes you want to dance in joy and walk or ride your bicycle in nature. When listening to this music all the problems in the world cease to exist.

There's so much joy and happiness in the music without making it sound cheesy. Anther bands that have that same approach is Wintergatan from Sweden (but they use more synths), although it can be played in a playlist together.

Finnish progressive folkmusic has always been a favourite 'genre' of me, and this artist and this album only establishes that love.

Highly recommended to people who like joyful and playful music. Not recommended to people who like doomy, gloomy stuff.

 Kivenpyorittaja by KUJANPAA, JUHA album cover Studio Album, 2013
4.28 | 8 ratings

Juha Kujanpaa Prog Folk

Review by Matti
Prog Reviewer

4 stars - First review for this artist - Before launching his solo career, Finnish composer and keyboard player Juha Kujanpää (b. 1974) had already been for a long time involved in numerous recording projects dealing with several genres from folk and vocal music to jazz and even children's music. As a solo artist, now with three well-received instrumental albums, he wants to explore especially the area between folk and jazz/fusion. And he's done it with such sovereignty that his addition in the ProgArchives was truly deserved.

This is his debut composed during 2011-2012 and recorded in March 2012. Already by looking at the list of musicians and their instruments one knows to expect something special. The rock-based quartet (that uses also harmonium and mandolin) is accompanied by three violins and a viola, plus guest appearances of e.g. cello, flute, saxophone, clarinet and other wind instruments.

The first two tracks start in a very folkish way with violins, but pretty soon the 'rock' instruments join. There are two pretty good references in the Finnish prog history: PEKKA POHJOLA, especially the early output, and the orchestral popular music of ANSSI TIKANMÄKI (he's not in PA). To some lesser extent also PIIRPAUKE could be mentioned, but Kujanpää is not as Ethnically oriented. As a composer Kujanpää operates more or less in these directions without sounding too much of either of them. All musicians here are great, but it's the excellent electric guitar work of Timo Kämäräinen (generally seen as one of the best Finnish guitarist today) that often gets the attention in solistic moments. Overall the arrangements are very verstile and the music floats with joyful ease. For example 'Suomenmaa' is gorgeous. Peaceful 'Hääpolska' ('Wedding Polska') and the humorous 'Arkipäivän ylistys' ('Ode to Everyday') are among the folkiest ones. The latter features the accordion of Teija Niku.

This highly original music will surely win lots of friends among the international prog community. If the listener enjoys both fusion and the Ethnic folk elements, Juha Kujanpää is a name worth checking out!

 Kultasiipi by KUJANPAA, JUHA album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.96 | 4 ratings

Juha Kujanpaa Prog Folk

Review by Windhawk
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Finnish composer and musician Juha KUJANPAA has been creating music for almost 20 years, is presently a member of half a dozen bands, and have generally been an active presence in the Finnish music scene. He made his debut as a solo artist back in 2013, and currently have three solo albums to his name. "Kultasiipi" is the second of these, and was released through Finnish label Eclipse Music at the tail end of 2015.

There are many artists out there that explore various incarnations of vintage era progressive rock. While Kujanpaa most likely is a part of such a context, he does this in his own manner, blending elements from Scandinavian folk music in an elegant and effective manner, creating music with a dream-laden spirit that also maintains depth and enough details to please most with a taste for music of this kind. I'd suggest that those who tend to enjoy artists such as Camel should have a taste of this album, especially if they also tend to be fascinated by folk music in general and Scandinavian folk music in particular.

Thanks to windhawk for the artist addition.

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