It was 20 years ago that Ritva Talvitie taught me my first fiddle polskas from the region of Southern Ostrobothnia. Iivari Hautala, Eemeli Nurmela and Erkki Metsäpelto were some of the fiddlers whose tunes gave me opportunity to explore one of the most singular traditions of Finnish folk music. Ever since those early lessons, I have continued to be intrigued by the heritage of the South Osthrobothnian fiddlers and their compositions, a research that still occupies me today. The gorgeous tunes and their interpretations available in different archives are a constant source of admiration, stimulation and inspiration to me.
Seinäjoki, 8th of June, 2014. Piia Kleemola
Recorded and mixed by Samuli Volanto
Produced by Piia Kleemola and Anne-Mari Kivimäki
Mastered by Vesa Norilo
Cover design by Petri Välimäki
Photo by Tuukka Kiviranta
Translations by Kristiina Prauda
Recorded at Törnävä Mansion in Seinäjoki
Piia Kleemola: fiddle, octave fiddle (2, 4, 6-7), 15 string kantele (4).
Anne-Mari Kivimäki: 5 row accordion (3 & 7).
1. The Polska from Björkö
This polska was performed by Gustav Lindbäck from Oravainen to Erkki Ala-Könni in 1958 (Polskan parhaita. Kansanmusiikki-instituutti / The folk music institute). It also includes an excerpt from Devil's polska by S. E. Risku. (Pelimannien parhaat, Karvian kotiseutuyhdistys).
2. The Old Seadog's Polska
Polska nr. 71 in the scorebook of Samuel Rinta-Nikkola of Ilmajoki (1765-1818). I was surprised by how much it resembled an Oldtime tune, and it tickled me to imagine how Rinta-Nikkola, who originally was a tailor but who then went to sea, might have brought home songs he had heard while sailing to distant places.
3. The Master Spinner's Polska
This is one of the polskas taught to me by Ritva Talvitie, and it comes from Iivari Hautala of Evijärvi. (Järviseudun viulumestarit. Kansanmusiikki-instituutti / The folk music institute).
4. A Blessed Day
A spiritual included among the folk songs collected by Toivo Kuula in 1907. (Eteläpohjalaisia kansanlauluja. Suomalaisen Kirjallisuuden Seura / The Finnish Literature Society).
I named this song for the Pakistani Singer Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan after my teacher, Maria Kalaniemi, recommended his songs and style of expression to me for inspiration.
6. The Polska of the Devil and the Parson
Played by Yrjö Ylikorpi of Kannus to Eino Saari. (Pelimannien parhaat, Karvian kotiseutuyhdistys).
7. The Foolish Bear's Grumble
This tune was recorded from Ahto Rautanen, the grandson of Jaakko "Friikooli“ Rautanen of Jalasjärvi. On the recording, Rautanen relates the folk tale it is based on, where the crafty fox lures the bear into leaving his paw stuck in the limbs of a tree in his greed for honey. (AK-nauhat, Kansanperinteen arkisto, / The AK tapes of the Folklore Archives.)
8. Shepherd's Polska from Järvenkylä & A Lyrical Polska
The first tune was transcribed by Toivo Haapanen in 1915, from Antti Luuri of Karvia, (Kauhajoen Musiikkiharrastuksen Kannatusyhdistyksen nuottikokoelma). The following one was played by Ahto Rautanen of Jalasjärvi to Erkki Ala-Könni in 1975. (Polskan parhaita. Kansanmusiikki-instituutti / The folk music institute).
All tunes trad., arr Kleemola, except 3 and 7 trad. arr Kleemola and Kivimäki, and 5 comp. Kleemola.