When Timo Alakotila recommends another musician, we need to sit up and take notice. The American fiddler Ruthie Dornfeld caught Timo’s attention a few years ago when she was playing with the American Café Orchestra in Helsinki; ever since then they’ve been trying to find time to record together. At last it’s here!
A finely crafted exploration of each other’s music and style bringing out the richness, the elegance and the wit of their playing and writing. Timo, of course, has been surrounded by fiddlers all his life and particularly his work with the legendary JPP. Ruthie’s fiddle style is different, embracing classical, country, folk, jazz and the medieval sound of the viélle and this seems to bring out the sensitivities that we hear in Timo when he’s working with accordionists, adapting to broad symphonic canvases, or intimate chamber textures.
Their choice of tracks is exciting: there are vigorous American dance tunes, moments of gentle meditation, hovering between worlds, brilliant new arrangements of pieces by Timo from his solo album including Prolapsus (his own journey with pain) given such thoughtful treatment from the two musicians here, and a memorable return to one of Timo’s favourites Napoleon, a beautiful march bringing Finland and America closer together.
TIMO ALAKOTILA & RUTHIE DORNFELD
2019 Timo Alakotila