The second album of Karuna, a trio of accordion, piano and nyckelharpa, is even more stylish and secure than their debut. The musicians are all superb: Teija Niku (acc), Juha Kujanpää (pf) and Esko Järvelä (nyckelharpa), with Järvelä occasionally changing to fiddle and even guitar, which gives a refreshing percussive feeling.
The ensemble clearly start to find their personal way of playing together, without any conventional-sounding solutions and with a big dose of liberty. The instrumentation sounds like one entity, intertwining and dialoguing with each other without any strict roles (melody/bass/harmony or such). The tunes (all are own compositions) cover a wide range, including lyrical ballads, soft, dreamy waltzes, even some more experimental tunes with light Balkan-attitude – and then heating up the machine and letting the groove loose every now and then in some more traditional-sounding Nordic folk stuff.
The phrasing is always strong, a few times maybe a little too polished, but there is really a true chamber music attitude with a lots of nuances, also taking it all down too soft and whispering. One of the strongest instrumental albums this year.
Kuu Records KUUREC007