Sampo Lassila NARINKKA
is a dynamic and innovative trio whose music could be described as ‘Suomi-klezmer’ (‘Suomi’ being the Finnish word for Finland). The trio’s music is a new brand of Finnish and European world music, a sort of acoustic folk-jazz that mixes a wide range of influences from traditional Jewish and Balkan folk music to contemporary chamber music and jazz – blending these with distinctively Finnish melodies and sound worlds and with Finnish mentality, humour and musical narratives.
Sampo Lassila NARINKKA comes from eastern Helsinki, the most multi-culturally vibrant part of the city.
Narinkka seeks to explore ways of bringing the ‘Euro-klezmer’ style into the Finnish context. The feeling is strikingly Slavic, sentimental, rugged, touchingly honest in a way yet also frighteningly strong.
This is not about superimposing ‘Suomi’ (Finland) on klezmer music but instead a subtle, organic melding of influences with a generous helping of Finnish melancholic yet heart-warming humour.
Ultimately, though, the acoustic music of Sampo Lassila NARINKKA is about the special moment when listener and performers come together in a special, human, musical connection.
The historical term ‘narinkka’ refers to what was probably the first flea market in Finland, enduring for more than 100 years – from the late 18th century to 1929. It was a place of colourful individuals where almost anything was possible.
The musicians in Sampo Lassila Narinkka are active and sought-after instrumentalists in Finnish etno, new jazz, chamber music and contemporary music scenes.
The album “Suomiklezmer” is introducing the brilliant trio, “Narinkka”, but it is also a profile-album of the leader, Sampo Lassila.
Sampo Lassila (1964) is one of the top bass players in Finland. His regular work includes performing as a musician and composer in a large variety of groups and styles from etno to chamber music.
Suomiklezmer -album raised up straight to 4th place in World Music Charts Europe Top20 in February 2013.
Sampo Lassila NARINKKA (or unofficially NARINKKA), line-up on “Suomiklezmer”:
Sampo Lassila - double bass, viola da gamba, palmas, human percussions, toys, whistling, voice, choir, boots, bamboo ski poles, doors
Aleksi Santavuori - viola pomposa, choir
Antti Leinonen – accordion (tracks 1,2,4,5,6,7,10), choir
Harri Kuusjärvi - accordion (tracks 8,9)
Stories (short versions) of the compositions on the album ”Suomiklezmer”
This music is instrumental, but inside the music there is a strong idea of musical narratives and stories.
I Nordic-walked to You
The story of Jari, a shy and silent Finn, who goes Nordic-walking in the woods of eastern Helsinki on a cold and beautiful night in February. On his way to his loved, he stops suddenly in the freezing forest. It's silent and cold. There, unexpectedly, he finally finds the courage to love.
Sefardi Impression / Sefardi
This piece is based on the story of Hilario, a Sephardic Jew who fought with the international brigade of the Republicans in the Spanish Civil War, met Finnish volunteers there and ended up in Finland after the war. Here, he lived a simple yet mostly happy life, yearning for his native Catalonia and eventually fulfilling his dream of bringing a touch of Catalonia to Helsinki – just before his untimely death.
A homage to a remarkable Finnish design item, the Tunturi moped known as ‘Pappa’ because of its association with elderly men. The piece is also a cordial nod to the peculiarly Finnish brand of foxtrot known as humppa and the unique atmosphere of a dance pavilion in the Finnish countryside.
Dedicated to the memory of A Mensch, Anna Politkovskaya.
A Nakht in Gayn Eden, a traditional klezmer melody with a glimpse of a Finnish everyday paradise.
Waltz of the First Snowflake
Waltz of the first snowflake of the autumn, a human snowflake named Tero.
Kirje Impression / Letter of Love
This letter was sent from Poland to Finland in 1943. It was written by Esther, a young mother, knowing in her heart that she would never see her husband again. Her husband Jakob was working in Finland at the time, there being no work available in Poland for Jews any more.
Intuitively foreseeing the terror they were about to face, Esther nevertheless only wrote about the beautiful things in life in her letter to Jakob: their children, her thriving vegetable garden and the swallows wheeling in the air.
Four days after writing the letter, Esther and her children were taken away. They disappeared.
When Jakob eventually found out what had happened, he had a breakdown. He remained in Finland but never stopped missing his loved ones. He died in 1974, and this letter was discovered in the old leather case that he always used to carry with him. There was nothing else in the case, just this well-worn letter.
A true Letter of Love.
A hommage to the fine Finnish polska tradition in the best ‘Suomiklezmer’ fashion. We begin with a polska tune that eventually comes unstuck in its mood and melody. And the journey continues.