The internationally celebrated accordionist Maria Kalaniemi teams up with folk singer and songwriter Désirée Saarela on a stunning and hauntingly beautiful album of small musical stories. MoD is their first collaboration and it is a memorable one indeed.
The Saarela & Kalaniemi album MoD is released on November 9th in Finland through Eclipse Music and internationally on December 14th through the German label Galileo Music.
The album is an acoustic album of songs that resonate with influences from both sides of the Atlantic. There is a definite Finnish and Nordic flare in the melodies but, then again, some of the songs (if sung in English instead of Swedish) woudn't be out of place on a Joan Baez record. Saarela certainly identifies herself as a singer-songwriter rather than a pure traditional folk musician, if such distinctions are even applicable, though it has to be mentioned that she does have a master's degree from the folk music department of the famed Sibelius Academy in Helsinki. On the other hand, in addition to her solo work, she has recorded an album with a folk-rock band called Jane Raven. Also composing music for children and various other projects it should be clear the Désirée Saarela is a versatile talent to take note of.
Saarela's duo partner is none other than one of Finland's most celebrated accordionists and an ambassador of Finnish folk music. Maria Kalaniemi has released a plethora of albums with various groups, received the Finnish equivalent of the Grammy Award, the Emma, for Folk Album of the Year and was recently appointed as an honorary member of the Swedish Royal Music Academy - an honor previously received only by classical composers such as Esa-Pekka Salonen, Kaija Saariaho and Magnus Lindberg. Kalaniemi's previous album "Svalan", with Eero Grundström, was one of the best selling world music albums of 2017 in Europe according to World Music Charts Europe.