Helsinki – exploring a new duo

My primary purpose in spending a few days in Helsinki was to pursue the opportunity to explore some musical ideas with my friend Juha. We first met in Sweden in 2007, and although we’ve managed to engineer only a handful of meet-ups since then, we’ve been making some very fine music together. We share an interest in Swedish traditions; he’s bringing in some Finnish ideas and I’m contributing some American/English ones. And of course we each have put some of our original compositions into the mix.

On this trip we lucked into a chance to play a little concert. His friend Marja has recently acquired the old station building at our nearest train station, and is building it up as an art gallery space. It developed that I was visiting during the week of her first-ever solo show of her own work, in celebration of her birthday, so she was inviting musician friends to play each evening. It’s always informative to try things out on a receptive audience, and the gallery space has pleasing acoustics, so we enjoyed the experience very much. Marja sat and drew each of us multiple times as we played; she gave us the sketches as mementos, and they are fun to have.

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