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Meeting in the Middle: Kaivama, March 10 at the Redstone Room
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Music

Category: Feature Stories

2012-02-29 12:27:22

The Minnesota-based Finnish-American instrumental folk duo Kaivama – performing at the River Music Experience on March 10 – has been around for less than two years, and multi-instrumentalist Jonathan Rundman acknowledges that “the whole band has kind of happened in reverse. We got a gig before we existed as a group. So we had to form the band in order to play the gig.”

And its self-titled debut album came out less than a year after the group’s genesis – before it had even toured.

Rundman attributes this to demand. The Finnish-American population, he said in a phone interview last month, is small but active, and that audience frankly doesn’t have many options when it comes to traditional music from its ancestral home.“It’s a niche,” he said. “We’re some of the only choices they have as far as that goes.

“But apart from the demographics, I think it’s because Nordic music is really beautiful. I don’t say that because we’re such a great band; I say that because ... it’s just beautiful music. ... It’s just undeniably gorgeous music. ... The raw material is wonderful.”

He’s right, but also too modest. With roughly the same number of traditional tunes and originals, Kaivama is expertly poised between the old and new – aged melodies adorned by modern flourishes. A warm, jaunty keyboard, for example, matches Sara Pajunen’s coolly nimble fiddle on opening track “Schottische 150.”


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