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Juha Kujanpaa - Kivenpyorittaja CD (album) cover


Juha Kujanpaa

Prog Folk

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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!

Report this review (#1913337)
Posted Monday, April 9, 2018 | Review Permalink
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.

Report this review (#1913358)
Posted Monday, April 9, 2018 | Review Permalink

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