Tango Pohjan Tähden is proud to release their self-titled debut CD with special guest artist and Finnish piano legend Timo Alakotila.
Tango Pojan Tähden ("Tango North Star", pronounced "PO-han TAH-den") is a Finnish tango band from Minneapolis comprised of Finnish, American and Finnish-American musicians. It was founded in 2011 by violinist Sara Pajunen and singer Elina Ruppert to look at forgotten mid-century tangos in a new light. Accordionist Bob Barnes and Bassist Peter Susag round out the group. TPT aims to re-interpret Finnish tango in a similar way that "Tango Nuevo" in Argentina or other folk music revivals modernize their own musical heritage. TPT wants to introduce Finnish tango to new audiences all over the world.
Pianist Timo Alakotila is well known in Finland as a performer, composer and arranger. He is famous in the tango world as the leader of "Tango Orkesteri Unto", one of the best known tango groups in Finland. He also plays all over the world with JPP, a traditional folk music band and in various groups with accordionist Maria Kalaniemi.
Tango Pohjan Tähden and Timo Alakotlia have mixed traditional Finnish Tangos with Argentine Tango Nuevo and American Jazz to create a new sound. The soul of Finnish Tango is never far under the surface of these new arrangements. The album features 8 traditional tangos and waltzes by Unto Mononen, Olavi Virta, Toivo Karki and others in new setting, as well as 4 original ones. These tunes are perfect for dancing or for staying warm on a cold winter's night.
Finnish Tango is not well known outside of Finland. Most people have never heard of it or think it is some kind of joke genre. Outsiders have a hard time reconciling the stereotypes of the stoic Finn and the hot Latin. Finnish Tango shares it's roots with the more familiar Argentine tango, but has evolved independently for almost a century. Tango was born in Argentina around the turn of the last century. After World War I, it became hugely popular all over the world, including Finland. Tango spoke to the Finnish soul with its themes of loss and heartbreak. Native composers such as Olavi Virta, Unto Mononen and Toivo Karki mixed Finnish folk fiddle and accordion styles with the Argentine rhythms to create a new and distinct style. By the 1930s, Finnish tango had become the national dance of Finland. Finnish tango developed more or less independently from Argentina. Many Argentine tangos were translated into Finnish, but none went the other way. After Elvis and the Beatles, Finnish tango declined in popularity in the cities and became a mostly rural dance. It retreated to rustic dancehalls deep in the northern woods. Since 1985, a tango festival has been held in Seinajoki, 3 hours north of Helsinki and just south of the Arctic circle. It has become the largest tango festival in the world, with over 150,000 tango-crazed Finns in attendance every year.
Finnish tangos are faster than Argentine Tangos and the waltzes are slower. It is more like the ballroom tango seen on celebrity dance shows. Common themes are love, loss, betrayal and homesickness. If you could speak Spanish and Finnish, you would notice right away that Finnish tangos sadder, bleaker and more melancholy. Tango Pojhan Tähden has taken these songs, stripped them to their essence and produced a sound that is Finnish, American and Tango all at once. We hope you enjoy it!