Emilia Lajunen (violin, nyckelharpa aka keyed fiddle, vocals) and Eero Grundström (pump organ, harmonica, vocals) are familiar from numerous different bands as well as firm experts and creators of folk music. In the Juuri & Juuri duo they make intimate music by investigating traditions and roots (juuri means root in Finnish).
On the duo’s courageous debut, Juuri & Juuri offers an introductory course in Finnish folk music. On the Pelimannit side of the double album, there is plenty of authentic pelimanni music with ‘no pop music added’. There are brisk marches, swift polskas and three-chord material.
On the other half of the album, Hiljainen haltioituminen (Quiet rapture), the music is made of archaic aesthetics, wide-reaching arcs that almost stop time, as well as trancelike entreaties based on just a few riffs. A minimal topic can expand into a 10-minute atmospheric piece. The genius is that Lajunen and Grundstrom interpret all this daringly and originally as a duo with their pelimanni instruments instead of the traditional way as solo with a kantele or jouhikko (aka bowed lyre).
Grundström is a well-known master of the harmonica from e.g. Sväng, but quite the virtuoso on the pump organ too.
Translation: Jonathan Mander
JUURI & JUURI: Pelimannit / Hiljainen haltioituminen
Ääniä Records AANIA 23 A/B
Juuri & Juuri at Southbank Centre, London, on 7 December 2017.