Hearing guitarist J-P Piirainen at the Sibelius Academy last year I was struck by the directness of his sound as well as the way he captured the essence of traditional music alongside his own compositional voice. His sensitivity and sense of intimacy is ever present in his recent release Twined, his natural melodic ability coupled with a carefully thought out approach to dynamics creating an excellent introduction to his work for anyone new to Piirainen’s music.
Piirainen’s studies at the Sibelius Academy have provided him with opportunities to define both his own and the guitar’s place in the Finnish folk traditions. The kantele sound is never far from his ideas and his choice of wire strings give that sense of heritage and directness. This works well in ‘Wastavirta’ where he’s joined by kantele player Maija Kauhanen.
Originally classically trained, Piirainen takes his influences not just from Finnish folk, but from American fingerpicking styles too and flamenco. It’s an album for guitar lovers as well as folk fans. And just for that extra Finnish touch, there’s some Finnish wood built into his custom-made Anders Liljeström instrument.
Thoughtful production by Joonas Widenius.
J-P PIIRAINEN: Twined
Bafe’s Factory/Nordic Notes