Sunday, October 16, 2011

Maria Kalaniemi

Maria Kalaniemi is an extraordinary musician from Finland. She has changed the way I look at the accordion. She plays with grace and a sensitive dynamic range that makes her music engaging and great fun to hear. For the 2001 release Airbow, she teamed with Swedish fiddler Sven Ahlbäck to make a beautiful album that stands among my top Scandinavian folk recordings. If the front cover reminds you of ice and snow, you know a little of what you're in for. This is an excellent album for the colder months ahead, perhaps in ways even a personification of winter itself. Okay, I'm overdoing it a little, even a lot, but let me also say that there is fire in here as well. You'll get a dose of warm, heartfelt musicianship like hot cocoa in sub-zero temperatures. Maybe I better quit with the goofy metaphors.

As far as the style of the music, you will hear quite a few polkas, but not in the way you may be accustomed to hear them. This is elegant music with a sparseness to it that is just breathtaking.

Download here (no password):

When this album becomes available in MP3 format, I will definitely point to the link. In the mean time, I'll give a link to Kalaniemi's albums on Amazon here. There are one or two I haven't heard yet, but the ones I've listened to are all fantastic.


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