Teija Niku & Grupa Balkan
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Teija Niku & Grupa Balkan

Helsinki, Central Finland, Finland

Helsinki, Central Finland, Finland
Band World Acoustic




"Album Review 5.3.2011"

High-skilled accordionist Teija Niku with her band is like a fish in the water among this genre. Niku's teachers from the Balkans, Serbian Lelo Nika and Macedonian Sasko Velkov, have left their marks on Niku & Co's fresh music. - Veli-Matti Henttonen, Salon Seudun Sanomat 5.3.2011

"Album Review 10.3.2011"

Finsko Pajdusko includes Niku's compositions and traditional material from the Balkans. Niku clearly has composing skills and her original tunes definitely belong to the elite on this album. - Kimmo Nevalainen, Karjalainen

"Album Review 16.2.2011"

It is immediately audible that Niku has been a longtime and serious student of Balkan music. Her phrasing is natural, her playing smooth, and she makes also the unusual time-signatures sound easy. Her speed is astounding, and the combination of original compositions and traditional repertoire works well. - Tove Djupsjöbacka, HBL

"Balkan music with subtle groove (Album Review 05.02.2011)"

Violinist Tommi Asplund, bassist Ilkka Heinonen and guitarist Tuomas Logrén help Niku create a nuance-rich groove. The arrangements are highly refined, yet animated. - Pentti Ronkanen, Keskisuomalainen

"Album Review 07.02.2011"

Odd time-signatures and detail-rich arrangements cascade with zeal, the likes of which one rarely encounters. A former student of Maria Kalaniemi and Kimmo Pohjonen, Niku positively revels in her playing. Finsko Padjusko is already a cult classic. - Juha Seitz, Pohjalainen

"From the Balkans, leniently for a change (Album Review 12.2.2011)"

Balkan rhythms are in vogue in Finland, having even spiced things up in the first rounds of the Eurovision Song Contest. But with her debut release, Teija Niku brings to the table a unique and captivating offering: virtuosic Balkan hoe-down executed with sensitivity and subtlety. - Pirkko Kotirinta, Helsingin Sanomat

"Album Review"

Teija Niku's Grupa Balkan quartet is without a doubt one of the most interesting and accomplished groups to arrive on the new folk music scene. Their skill is especially underlined by the speedy and unwavering unisons of the accordion and violin. - Kimmo Mattila, Hanuri (Accordion) 1/2011

"Album Review"

This album is rousing and euphoric from start to finish. The group doesn't shy away from emulating the virtuosity of its forerunners, nor would it have any reason to: the skill level of its musicians is astounding. At the center is Niku, whose accordion playing is compelling both in virtuosity and nuance.
- Jimmy Träskelin, Pelimanni (Fiddler) 1/2011


Teija Niku: Finsko Pajdusko (Rockadillo Records 2011)



Teija Niku (born 1982 in Haapavesi, Finland) is an accordion player with extensive experience in performing ever since she was 7 years old. Her first instrument, the 2-row accordion, led her way towards folk music, and even though she took classical lessons on her 5-row chromatic button accordion for a few years as a teenager, it never felt right for her.

Today Teija Niku is a professional folk musician with a master's degree from the famous Sibelius Academy Folk Music Department. She plays a great variety of music: Nordic folk music, Finnish tango & schlager, accordion evergreens, French musette, etc. But her true speciality is the folk music from the Balkan region, which she's had the honour to learn directly from great accordion masters Lelo Nika & Sasko Velkov. Not to mention that one of the most important mentors and teachers in Teija's accordion playing history has been Maria Kalaniemi.

– I am very lucky that I have had the chance to study accordion with the masters, Teija says.

Teija Niku & Grupa Balkan plays folk music from the Balkans – a region, where music is often characterized with fast tempos and heartbreakingly romantic melodies. The virtuosity of the band and pure joy of playing can be heard in the tricky ornaments and improvised solos. Teija Niku's original compositions include typical Balkan folk music tradition ingredients, but you can hear flavours of Nordic tradition in her music as well. Folk tunes from Serbia, Romania, Macedonia and Bulgaria turn into feminine yet powerful versions in Teija's hands.

– When people listen to Balkan folk music, most notice first the unusual rhythms, but personally I have always been especially inspired by the rich harmonies and skilful decorations, Teija continues.

Teija Niku also plays in bands Polka Chicks and Karuna. Grupa Balkan are Tommi Asplund, violin (e.g. Tsuumi Sound System), Tuomas Logrén, guitar, mandolin, dobro (e.g. Frigg) and Ilkka Heinonen, double bass (e.g. Jouhiorkesteri, Ruuti, Freilach mit Kneidlach).

Publihed in 2011 Teija Niku's debut solo album "Finsko Pajdusko" was one of the four nominees competing for the Emma prize "Ethno Album of the Year" and also made it to the respected "Albums of the Year" list by Helsingin Sanomat newspaper. The list included for example Michael Monroe, 22-Pistepirkko and PJ Harvey, altogether 35 popular music albums and 15 classical albums.