Mielo (Mind) is a walk through the woods, across the water, under the dancing sky, as the honking of geese fades away into the distance. Along each path, around every turn lie strong feelings and stories which can be imagined differently by each listener. Mielo is a musical tale about growing inner wings. Two musicians travel together on the many roads of their collective imagination where the most delicate feelings transform into the thunder of the boldest soundscapes. Welcome to the journey!
It is from these elements that Mielo, the new album by accordionist Maria Kalaniemi and harmonium wizard Eero Grundström, is born. Mielo is released on 24 April, 2020. On the album, Kalaniemi returns to the meditative soundscapes which we first heard on her Bellow Poetry album of 2005. Alongside these now emerges rhythmical and pulsating music inspired by wafting sounds that ring across the wilderness from the tops of the fells.
”Mielo is for me the powerful, empowering and multifaceted musical story of growing my own inner wings. Mielo is a combination of original compositions which together make up something like a musical migration. This music has come into existence over the last couple of years, which has been a very intense stage in my life. The music pretty much screamed and demanded release to be played, sung and shared,” Maria Kalaniemi explains.
Kalaniemi, who is known for her lyrical and emotive playing style, once described as “accordion fados”, creates on Mielo powerful soundscapes together with harmonium artist Eero Grundström. Maria plunges into emotionally charged performances of accordion and voice. Together with the passionate rhythm of Eero’s harmonium, they take the listener on a musical journey infused with deep feeling.
”Eero’s contribution to the Mielo landscape was invaluable. Originally I had the strong sense that the melodies, phrases and rhythms should repeat hypnotically because they exuded such a powerful charge and cleansing power. Eero provided new perspectives, ideas and energy and the music was subsequently elevated to a new and more inspirational level. Music brings comfort and provides hope at this time when all around us is rapidly changing”.
Kalaniemi’s musical migration springs from her own experiences of nature and from life events which are referenced in both the titles and the musical language, such as the Erämorsian (Wildwood Bride) waltz, which is dedicated to the wilderness, to nature in all its diversity and to those who pass through it. Suden tuutu (Wolf’s Lullaby) is a composition about saying farewell, sharing thanks and moving forward. Lohtulaulu (Song of Solace) is a sound picture about the frailty and fragility of life, the right of everyone to be sensitive and vulnerable and the longing to be heard and appreciated just as one is. Tulten Poiga (Flame Boy) depicts freedom, like “Lemminkäinen in Los Angeles”, with his coat open and gold chains around his neck, a brief moment of glitter, with no care for tomorrow.
Kalaniemi and Grundström’s previous album, Svalan (Åkerö Records 2017), which drew on the musical tradition of Finnish-Swedes, rose to the top of the World Music Charts Europe and remained in the top ten for no less than five months. The album was also in contention for the 2017 Etno-Emma album.
Maria Kalaniemi is an internationally renowned accordion artist whose music has gained a loyal following around the world. Kalaniemi has done significant work in Finland and abroad in renewing ideas about the accordion and the music that it produces. Her most recent awards are the national musical award in 2018 and membership of the Swedish Royal Academy of Music.
Eero Grundström is a versatile and talented musician, composer, harmonium player and harmonica player. Grundström performs in many groups, such as the much acclaimed Sväng harmonica band and the “ethno techno” group Suistamon Sähkö.
The Mielo album project has been supported by the Swedish Cultural Foundation, the Finnish Culture Fund and the Arts Promotion Centre Finland. Mielo is the first part of an entire album series to be published over time.