Vilma Timonen Quartet
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Vilma Timonen Quartet

Helsinki, Central Finland, Finland | INDIE

Helsinki, Central Finland, Finland | INDIE
Band Folk Jazz

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This band hasn't logged any future gigs

Apr
29
Vilma Timonen Quartet @ Private Show

None, None, Finland

None, None, Finland

Jun
17
Vilma Timonen Quartet @ Kieler Woche

Kiel, None, Germany

Kiel, None, Germany

Sep
14
Vilma Timonen Quartet @ The New Music Centre

Helsinki, None, Finland

Helsinki, None, Finland

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Finland's Finest!
Forward
Vilma Timonen
Aania

Vilma Timonen is a graduate of Finland’s Sibelius Academy and tackles traditional folk tunes with the kind of verve and imagination that renders generic descriptions redundant. The point here isn’t so much the origin of the material as its execution.

A virtuoso of the Finnish kantele - a multi-stringed cousin of the dulcimer or auto harp - Timonen also adds crystal clear vocals that soar through the complex textures and interlocking structures created by a tight-knit quartet that knows what it wants to do and how it’s going to get there.

Melodies tumble and turn in space as they are plucked and pulled from the kantele in rhapsodic flurries underpinned by a precision team. Though it’s ostensibly a lead instrument, she creates room for fellow musicians to move and groove. Jazzy flourishes come from guitarist Topo Korhonnen’s occasional sorties on the trumpet but these are always carefully drawn rather than free-form sketches.

The cyclical melody of Ripatska hovers on the wind; kantele notes drift and billow until they are swept aside in the rush and rumble of Mikko Hanssinen’s brushed drum solo.

Make A Wish explores territories that alternate between the melodic sweetness you might on a Pat Metheny record and the folksy poignancy which Bill Frissell has made his own. Ape Anttila’s acoustic bass work here brings the album to a gorgeous close. Great melodies played with real spark and vitality. Easily an early contender for album of the year!

Link to this blog:
file:///Users/vilmatimonen/Desktop/VtQ/Vtq-arvio.webarchive - Sid Smith's postcards from the Yellow room


NEW WORLD FINNAPRIL - MAY - JUNE • 2010 WINTER 21
I
don’t think it was the Chinese professor, or the wood walled sounding board of a
room that smote me. It might have been the combination of being in Kaustinen, the
heart of the Finnish Folk beast, and the wash of overtones and harmony ringing
out, that pulled me into another consciousness. Whatever it was, I was convinced at that
moment that the kantele truly was an instrument of magic. The legend was true. The
Finnish national instrument, that humble stringed jawbone of a pike, did have powers that
transcended natural forces. It was no wonder that the kantele concert I was experiencing
in a rustic Kaustinen cabin was interrupted spontaneously by a visiting Chinese tourist.
Here was someone from across the world who had been researching and writing about
this humble instrument for her thesis. She was so enraptured by the experience that she
had to share it with the assembled listeners. It was clear at that moment that in the right
hands, this modest instrument has a mind-altering effect.
In Finland, the general public doesn’t pay much heed to their designated national
instrument. It is something from the past that sits on a forgotten shelf. Fortunately for
those of us yearning for roots to hug, there are pockets of passionate devotees that keep
the traditions alive. Beyond the traditionalists in Finland, there are also those on these
shores who study and love the kantele. In Finland there is also a forward thinking group
who have a vision for the future of the kantele. While the general populace invests their
time engaged in who the next tango king and queen will be in the annual nationally
televised idol-esque competition, people like Vilma Timonen are advancing the music
of the kantele for the millennial generation.

V
ilma Timonen is a composer, musician, educator, and leader of an award-
winning quartet that bears her name. The Vilma Timonen Quartet have just been
recognized with a Finnish Grammy, (known as an EMMA), for their debut CD. VTQ is
an amalgam of open-minded folk musicians with roots out of the Sibelius music academy
in Helsinki. The band plays original music that sources Finnish folk traditions as well
as elements of the jazz and celtic genres. There is a strong improvisational component
to the music, and a modern sensibility that makes the quartet very accessible, even to
listeners who might not be familiar with the nuances of the kantele’s musical canon.
Joining Vilma Timonen in the band is guitarist and horn player, Topi Korhonen. Topi
is a peer of Timonen’s from the Sibelius Academy. Once a haven of classical studies, the
Academy now produces top quality jazz and folk musicians. The school is so in tune with
“roots music” that they have a folk music recording division and even teach a required
course on the ancient Finnish instrument, the jouhikko.
Topi Korhonen is also a very active member of the folk music scene in Finland, he has
previously played in the well-respected folk groups, Ruuti, Kiperä, and Kouon Frouva. He
continues to also make music in the Tanzanian-Finnish duo PolePole. Topi’s playing is
the perfect foil to Timonen’s Kantele in the quartet. Often the instruments blend together
so seamlessly that it sounds like one entity. Even more impressively, the musical ideas
sound like the expressions of one heart. Korhonen adds depth and expanded harmony
to the lead kantele sound with his guitar work, and contributes an additional colour to
the sound with his trumpet playing. The horn work helps expand the band sound outside
of the “stringed instrument” sound.
The rhythm section of the band consists of Ari-Pekka (Ape) Anttila on the upright
bass, and Mikko Hassinen on percussion. Both of these players demonstrate a keen
improvisational ability and a creative edge that compliments Timonen and Korhonen.
Anttila’s solid bass work, and occasional upright solos provide extensions to the tracks
appeal. Ape is also a capable project producer.
Mikko Hassinen is no stranger to the jazz side of things, having worked with the
amazing Finnish saxophone giant, Eero Koivistoinen on several of his projects. He has
an understanding of his musical personality that is as solid and sure as it is rare. His
creative and lyrical percussion work offer a signature to the VTQ that completes the
picture like a piccasso.

W
hile the emergence of a new type of contemporary Finnish folk music that fuses
different influences is not a recent development, (bands such as Varttina, World
Mankeri Orchestra, and Gjallarhorn have laid notable footprints on that shore), VTQ
has a special quality within that genre. Even given their wide range of influences, their
blend of influences does not come across as scattered or undefined, quite the contrary.
In each of the tracks on their debut project there is a confident sense of what the sound
- New world Finn (spring edition 2010)


NEW WORLD FINNAPRIL - MAY - JUNE • 2010 WINTER 21
I
don’t think it was the Chinese professor, or the wood walled sounding board of a
room that smote me. It might have been the combination of being in Kaustinen, the
heart of the Finnish Folk beast, and the wash of overtones and harmony ringing
out, that pulled me into another consciousness. Whatever it was, I was convinced at that
moment that the kantele truly was an instrument of magic. The legend was true. The
Finnish national instrument, that humble stringed jawbone of a pike, did have powers that
transcended natural forces. It was no wonder that the kantele concert I was experiencing
in a rustic Kaustinen cabin was interrupted spontaneously by a visiting Chinese tourist.
Here was someone from across the world who had been researching and writing about
this humble instrument for her thesis. She was so enraptured by the experience that she
had to share it with the assembled listeners. It was clear at that moment that in the right
hands, this modest instrument has a mind-altering effect.
In Finland, the general public doesn’t pay much heed to their designated national
instrument. It is something from the past that sits on a forgotten shelf. Fortunately for
those of us yearning for roots to hug, there are pockets of passionate devotees that keep
the traditions alive. Beyond the traditionalists in Finland, there are also those on these
shores who study and love the kantele. In Finland there is also a forward thinking group
who have a vision for the future of the kantele. While the general populace invests their
time engaged in who the next tango king and queen will be in the annual nationally
televised idol-esque competition, people like Vilma Timonen are advancing the music
of the kantele for the millennial generation.

V
ilma Timonen is a composer, musician, educator, and leader of an award-
winning quartet that bears her name. The Vilma Timonen Quartet have just been
recognized with a Finnish Grammy, (known as an EMMA), for their debut CD. VTQ is
an amalgam of open-minded folk musicians with roots out of the Sibelius music academy
in Helsinki. The band plays original music that sources Finnish folk traditions as well
as elements of the jazz and celtic genres. There is a strong improvisational component
to the music, and a modern sensibility that makes the quartet very accessible, even to
listeners who might not be familiar with the nuances of the kantele’s musical canon.
Joining Vilma Timonen in the band is guitarist and horn player, Topi Korhonen. Topi
is a peer of Timonen’s from the Sibelius Academy. Once a haven of classical studies, the
Academy now produces top quality jazz and folk musicians. The school is so in tune with
“roots music” that they have a folk music recording division and even teach a required
course on the ancient Finnish instrument, the jouhikko.
Topi Korhonen is also a very active member of the folk music scene in Finland, he has
previously played in the well-respected folk groups, Ruuti, Kiperä, and Kouon Frouva. He
continues to also make music in the Tanzanian-Finnish duo PolePole. Topi’s playing is
the perfect foil to Timonen’s Kantele in the quartet. Often the instruments blend together
so seamlessly that it sounds like one entity. Even more impressively, the musical ideas
sound like the expressions of one heart. Korhonen adds depth and expanded harmony
to the lead kantele sound with his guitar work, and contributes an additional colour to
the sound with his trumpet playing. The horn work helps expand the band sound outside
of the “stringed instrument” sound.
The rhythm section of the band consists of Ari-Pekka (Ape) Anttila on the upright
bass, and Mikko Hassinen on percussion. Both of these players demonstrate a keen
improvisational ability and a creative edge that compliments Timonen and Korhonen.
Anttila’s solid bass work, and occasional upright solos provide extensions to the tracks
appeal. Ape is also a capable project producer.
Mikko Hassinen is no stranger to the jazz side of things, having worked with the
amazing Finnish saxophone giant, Eero Koivistoinen on several of his projects. He has
an understanding of his musical personality that is as solid and sure as it is rare. His
creative and lyrical percussion work offer a signature to the VTQ that completes the
picture like a piccasso.

W
hile the emergence of a new type of contemporary Finnish folk music that fuses
different influences is not a recent development, (bands such as Varttina, World
Mankeri Orchestra, and Gjallarhorn have laid notable footprints on that shore), VTQ
has a special quality within that genre. Even given their wide range of influences, their
blend of influences does not come across as scattered or undefined, quite the contrary.
In each of the tracks on their debut project there is a confident sense of what the sound
- New world Finn (spring edition 2010)


Discography

FORWARD (Ääniä Records 2009) - awarded with Emma -price as the best ethno album in Finland 2009

VtQ (Texicalli 2007)

Also appearing at collections:
Arctic Paradise 2010 (Finnish music information center)
Come hear Finland 2010 (Musex Oy)
Arctic Paradise 2008 (Finninsh music information center)

Photos

Bio

Vilma Timonen Quartet has made Vilmas lifelong dream come true to bringing kantele tradition into the new level. She has formed a band that has Kantele as a lead instrument and plays her music as well as traditional tunes with 3 amazingly skillful professional musicians that each bring their own musical background to the combination. Together this quartet has pulled off a remarkable combination indeed; unique sound that you have never heard before! Some jazz and folk music, blended together with the ancient sound of the kantele.
Imagine on the other hand a small cottage in the finnish countryside filled with the bright sound of kantele and on the other hand clubs at a modern city. VtQ leaps into the ancient world of music to paint an arc between those two worlds.
The pioneer band has been an idol to many young kantele musicians and recieved plenty of positive feedback of their work in public. The album FORWARD recieved the Emma price at a glimmering television gala on february 2010 as it was awarded as the best ethno album in Finland 2009.

Vilma Timonen (b. 1977) is a pioneer. One of the first to use the kantele in an assortment of ways, she is shifting an instrument that has been played by Finns over centuries to the cutting edge of the music industry. Vilma Timonen is the name responsible for introducing the electric kantele as a band instrument and is dedicated to its development specifically in this capacity. An instructor of folk music at the prestigious Sibelius Academy, Vilma Timonen has performed in concerts worldwide: Spain, Venezuela, Columbia, the United States of America, Japan, Portugal, Zambia and Tanzania. The list of her international credits is extensive. In both the world of dance as well as theatre, Vilma Timonens influence as a musician is noteworthy; she continues to work as a collaborative artist on a number of dramatic productions and various musical surroundings.

Ape Anttila (b. 1966) is an extraordinarily versatile bass player. He has worked in a diverse number of musical capacities throughout his career, both as a professional of longstanding reputation on the Finnish jazz scene, as well as an instructor of music at the Sibelius Academy Department of Jazz. His persistence in exploring different styles of music without preconceptions is inexhaustible. Ape Anttila has held concerts regularly in Europe and the USA: The Umo Jazz Orchestra, Lenni-Kalle Taipale Trio, and Zarkus Poussa Unplugged Orchestra are included amongst the sundry ensembles.

Mikko Hassinen (b.1971) has influenced Finnish jazz scene in many ways.He is a productive composer, conducter, as well as he has playd an important role of producing many cd:s. He is one of the most valuated drummers in the scene and has played with Umo Jazz Orchestra,Eero Koivistoinen, Raoul Bjrkenheim, Tomasz Stanko and Viktoria Tolstoi just to mention few.

Topi Korhonen (b. 1973) is without much doubt the most talented guitarists playing folk music in Finland. A post-graduate from the Sibelius Academy, this master can be heard in several top folk bands: Frigg, Anna-Kaisa Liedes and Utua, Kouon Frouva and Pole Pole have all enjoyed the advantage of his creative input. Topi Korhonen has performed as a musician in several theatre and dance productions.

Band Members