Womadelaide 2012 LIVE! – Roger’s Blog – Kimmo Pohjonen Gets Standing Ovation
Kimmo Pohjonen hails from Finland – Helsinki at the moment. The music that he brings to WOMADelaide in 2012 is from somewhere else! And in performance on a small and intimate stage, as evening fell over Botanic Park, he mesmerised and astounded the audience.
For a start, Kimmo plays accordion. Has done so since he was about 10. And his performance starts with that: tunes on the 5-row diatonic button accordion. But gradually, as his feet danced over pedals, he sampled his music, condensed and expanded it, looped it back into his vocals, slapped the accordion body, plucked the bellows … the sounds built and became a landscape.
At times, Kimmo produced huge church organ music, thunder and lightning, howls and moans – and occasional maniacal laughs – and incredible beats and surges of sound. At one stage he unbuckled the accordion and it sat beside him, playing itself, while he swayed and darted, each movement translated into its own sound. Great crescendos: power and portrayal of land. And then tractors started and stalled and started again; spinning wheels clacked; chain-saws roared – and all became part of the soundscape. Surround sound helped – for the engines were behind us, beside us, on stage … somewhere.
Evening bats flew overhead at one stage, and we weren’t sure if their calls were part of Kimmo’s music.
It was a stunning performance, almost without separate ‘pieces’. One set of sounds merged into another and we were transfixed for an hour. Finally, Kimmo finished with the most delicate sounds, bells and chimes and sweetness. And we rose and applauded.