Founded in 2003, SVÄNG have clearly set new standards when it comes to concerted music on the harmonica - both in terms of repertoire as well as technique. With a sophisticated yet entertaining program of own compositions these harmonica visionaries convince both audience and professional circles around the globe of the unlimited capabilities of this often undervalued tiny instrument.
In general Sväng stretch their repertoire undogmatically wide and invite their audience to an extraordinary journey of sounds: a free-spirited, sensual and vital mix of music, which has been honored with the attribute of the „harmonica equivalent of the Kronos-Quartet.“ Contemporary harmonica music, which is certainly unprecedented in terms of compactness and virtuosity.
Three of the group’s members are graduates of the renowned Sibelius Academy, while representing the very opposite of any form of academicism. And with Pasi Leino Sväng have a representative of the famous finnish harmonica orchestra tradition in their circle.
Jouko Kyhälä describes the brilliant quartet's music as follows: “Our background comes from our country’s history. Finland lies between the east and the west. Both the melancholic Russians as well as the cheerful Swedish used to dominate the country. Hence both aspects are present in finnish mentality and music alike. We have a deep passion for minor tonality with all its wistfulness. At the same time we also have a lot of joie de vivre”.
Apart from numerous concerts in Finland, Sväng intensively toured countries such as Germany, Japan, UK, Austria and Italy among others. Moreover, the band excited an audience of millions in front of their TV screens as part of Jools Holland’s legendary New Years Show on BBC2 on 31st of December 2008, watch at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EwEkbFHpLTc
Perhaps their strong appeal can be attributed to the novelty of the ensemble sound coupled with their unique program of virtuoso Balkan rhythms, passionate tango, world music from the North and wild improvisations. A spectacle that must be witnessed live!
Dr. Jouko Kyhälä, who was teaching harmonica at the Sibelius Academy, teamed up with two of his students, Eero Turkka and Eero Grundström, to re-vitalize this bizarre, yet strangely appealing, form of ensemble. The concept was fulfilled when they were joined by veteran bass harp player Pasi Leino. The grounding element in this unique mixture of styles is the groove created by the rare chord harmonica Harmonetta and the incredibly low bass harmonica. The swinging groove and virtuoso soloists may appear somewhat nostalgic but inspired improvisations and a frantic stage manner bring this musical style bang up to date.
After 14 years of touring and having released 6 CDs it is time to look back for a short moment! SVÄNG do so with their new album „HAUPTBAHNHOF“ (main station) and present some new recordings from their extensive repertoire of nordic dance grooves, tangos and balkan rhythms. But only favourite tunes of audience and band were considered worthy to be re-performed in the studio!
„HAUPTBAHNHOF“ contains 13 all time favourites - from the very first composition „Jampparaleele“ to „Liikkuva Linna“, the arrangement of the moving waltz from Japanese anime movie „Howl´s moving castle“. Of course the album also offers a special surprise: „I´m gonna meet my mother in glory“ breaks the band rule to publish only music played on the harmonica. With this blues classics, sung by Eero Turkka, this very much beloved encore can be found on an album finally!
It would not be SVÄNG if there couldn´t be found also musical look into the future. „HAUPTBANHOF“ also presents three new – future – all time favourites. Eero Turkka composed a kopanitsa (a bulgarina traditional dance in 11/16 rhythm), Jouko Kyhälä contributed a finnish polska. And Eero Grundström decided to arrange John Williams beautiful „Hedwig´s theme“ from Harry Potter.