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Tuima biography
The Finnish folk group TUIMA was formed by Jukka-Pekka LILJA in year 2010. Guided by his dream, J-P asked his friend, singer Miia PITKÄNEN, to join the group in formation. Jukka plays himself guitar, morin huur and does both throat singing and clean vocals. After first duo gigs at Faces Etnofestival, Tapani VARIS joined the band to play upright bass, wind instruments and mouth harp, completing TUIMA's line-up for the time of this writing.

The group's music blends different folk music traditions with fresh and personal ways, reaching both humoristic and melancholic moods. Middle-Asian throat singing is one notable characteristic of their sound, which J-P LILJA has studied with guidance of Tuvan and Mongolian mentors. This singing tradition along with exotic instruments has been implemented to the Finnish folk music heritage, omitting the songs of the cultures which developed these expression ways and focusing to their tonal dimensions on group's own song writing and performing processes. The fascination for folk music and singing tradition derives from their ability to unite people of different ages and gender, echoing with the voices of our ancestors and spirit of barren Nordic melancholy. There is a certain "outlaw" concept related to doing arrangements of old music - the tendency of stealing folk songs and treating the loot with free will. Even most familiar songs can be molded to something fresh and inspiring with unprejudiced fusion of elements from different musical genres and distant cultures.

The group has had many concerts on Finnish and also some Estonian venues, reaching audiences for both modern crossover folk music and danceable hippy acoustic dronings. Some gigs have had additional musicians sharing the stage with them, and the group's aim is to develop their current drive with possibility of fourth player for percussion. Also focusing more to composing own songs instead of arranging traditional tunes might be a part of the band's future, this maybe realizing on their second album, being already on plans in year 2013. Recommended Finnish group to the listeners with appetite for blended multicultural folk music, in vein of OUGENWEIDE, GJALLARHORN and similar artists.

Eetu Pellonpää 2013

interview of Jukka-Pekka Lilja in autumn 2013

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 Tuima by TUIMA album cover Studio Album, 2013
4.00 | 1 ratings

Tuima Prog Folk

Review by Eetu Pellonpaa
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

— First review of this album —
4 stars My first encounter with this peculiar folk music group occurred at Tallinn's Kultuuritehas Polymer. The core trio played professionally but very quietly, and it was bit difficult to hear there the nuances due crowd's bellowing. This event however set a spark of interest, and I was later very delighted to note their debut album's release. After spinning this well-crafted privately produced CD, I felt again it having only one fault - It doesn't match the sensation of participating their live concert. I actually managed to attend their concert with very dear red-haired friend a day before writing this review, still happily whirling in aftercurrents of this crossover pagan folk dronings.

My own impression about Tuima's approach to the traditional folk music seems to follow these doctrines; Their aural tapestry has been woven to vintage forms, using only old instruments, and not trying to fusion postmodern sound elements, as for example in the way Garmarna did on their "Hildegard von Bingen" record. The musical innovation develops more likely from player's collective freedom of introducing their own ideas and styles, reaching aesthetically solid but yet personal end result. Miia's vocal style does not aim to emulate 17th century Scandinavian cow calls nor singing styles from medieval court theaters, but blends her soulful jazzy approach to imaginative use of voice, escaping even from melodic focus on lyrics towards more inarticulative soundscape abstractions. The contrasts of scruffy humor and romantic tranquility extend at times beyond sonic plane to theatre's territories. Also the traditional Finnish folk music tunes melt painlessly to Asian influences. The little I have learned to know the musicians, I value them as real citizen of the world, making it easy to enjoy more rustic sides of our own nation's culture, which was pretty much tuck to barbarism of famine raped potato fields still one century ago.

The most impressive detail for me was to learn that J-P has built his morin huur, bow lyre and other wooden instruments by himself. (!) This realizations somehow deepened the concert memories and album songs as something more deeper - thought smaller some things will get, their meaning seems to increase by the amount of investments spent to them on any level (time, consideration, learning etc.). Lesser the audience, lesser the financial profit; greater the spiritual power, deeper the human contact.

This relationship between listener and the musicians are introduced by the first glance from "Oman kullan silmät" (the eyes of your sweetheart). Musically this composition is quite simple and joyful, focusing to vocal breakaways, instrumental presence remaining on quite easy guitar and bass support. If one searches adventurous music, this might not be the most alluring three minutes as for first impression, but I would recommend to gaze further to depths on these three pairs of soul's mirrors. This fully traditional core song also gave me an impulse to try approach the songs in three batches; first the ancient traditional, then those with known composers, and finally tracks with band's founder credited as a composer.

The second song of the album "Zaijuvesj" (tea- or such bongwater) was earlier performed by the famous ensemble Värttinä, and this version escapes their jolly multivocal wild running, cloaking itself to the melancholic charms of nocturnal delights instead. There was a wild story told about following "Suutarin emännän reggae", (Cobbler's wife's reggae), which is a humorous rendition from "Cobbler's wife's lullaby", most possibly recognized by majority of Finnish listeners from its piupalipaupali-chorus lines. On concert it was told that this music style was not invented in Jamaica, but in theatre of Finnish winter war, hits from the peace pipes' eventually leading to temporary truce of 1940 (Continuation War broke out as the stash was finished). Though I know history books are written by conquers, I'll meditate the validity of this story later more carefully, enjoying similarly this version with my full heart - a most wonderful playing ground for Miia's unforgettable vocal tone. From the traditional songs, there also one beautifully shining gem worth mentioning at the later part of the album, "Kullan ylistys", the appraisal of gold (or more likely honey). This more fast paced main body of the composition has really fine arrangements for several singing voices, and is surrounded by really magickal aural serenity, conjured from lyres and voices interplay.

Even though majority of tracks among the concentration of songs selected for this debut release are these arrangements from olde traditional folk songs, there are also some selections from 20th century popular musicians who can sensible be seen as part of Finnish noteworthy cultural heritage. From these I could mention first "Juomaripoika" (almost "Drunken hearted boy" by the Allman Brother's Band), which is originally written by J. Karjalainen, a Finnish songwriter/performer with very successful career. The archaic resonation from bow lyre unites with throat singing buzz, before pulsating rhythm starts to support the tale about Finnish lad dating with the bottle. The singers have much fun on the basic melody line diving through this intoxicated tale, and I felt the sound of the band having also some relations with two earliest albums of The Incredible String Band, emphasizing lesser the extending of song durations and avant-gardist freak-outs, but keeping the playground open for impulsive ideas and shimmering strongly the human spirit. Other folk songs with known composers are "Vallinkorvan laulu" by Oskar Merikanto. Oskar had devoted his creativity towards the symphonic classical vocal works, though keeping his touch in simpler folk music context. I believe the interpretation here for several voices gives honor to his achievements by expanding the palette of styles canonizing his composition's heritage. I had heard Konsta Jylhä's "Vaiennut viulu" first interpreted by Vesa-Matti Loiri from his recordings done with magnificent Peter Lerche. Tuima's recording has a peculiar gypsy camp feeling on it due Miia's deep and intoxicating voice, crude strumming of acoustic guitar and accordion melodies associating the song on Finnish dancing conventions of midsummer nights.

From Jukka-Pekka Lilja's pen there are notes assembled as "Soitto on suruista", which I believe could be translate either as "Playing is sad" or "Playing wells from sadness". (??) This piece searches it's rhythmic foundations from jazzy upright bass lines and sharp guitar chords, caressing my ears with beautiful vocal dialogues, melodic shapes and subtle supportive instrumentations. "Kaksi komiaa vanhaapiikaa" (two handsome spinsters) disappears wonderfully to the ancient compositions, strumming joyfully on the strings of bow lyre and mouth harp vibrations. In addition of his own composition J-P is also credited as composer on few of the traditional songs; "Ei tämä tyttö" (Not this girl) dancing tightly upon sharp guitar and according steps, direness underlined by quick vocal arrangements and having some voluptuous dreamy singing sequences reaching rewarding climax. Another of these, "Minä nuori poiga", which derive from the history of Baltics due tittle's writing appearance, reminded slightly the solo works of Pekko Käppi, Carelian bow lyre circling menacingly a primitive but beautiful theme. The solitary despair of this young lad's contemplation fades the record out to its conclusion, and I would consider this nice little CD being clearly recorded and manufacture with sincere piety. But even more I see this album as a sample of these musicians trade, workings as open invitation to their warmhearted concerts, occurring time to time on small venues around this distant Scandinavian peninsula.

Thanks to Eetu Pellonpää for the artist addition.

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