Collaboration with musicians

I had two great opportunities to collaborate with two distinguished musicians in July and August.

In July, I worked with accordionist Timo Kinnunen and saxophonist and flutist Biggi Vinkeloe. They invited me to join in their opening concert for their tour titled Ave, Mare Boreale! as a guest performer.

It happened in a beautiful wooden house in Pikisaari, Oulu in the warm evening of July 8.  Timo and Biggie played composed and improvised numbers. I recited Japanese and English poems about the sea and moved along with Timo and Biggi’s playing most of the time. I even had a few solos where I sang a traditional Japanese song and a tongue twister text, while Timo and Biggie supported me musically in the background.

Nerve-wracking it was because I didn’t know their music well and what I would do with it exactly before the concert. But improvising with musicians who knew what they were doing was liberating and fun. They listened to me and my movement so well that they could go with whatever I did or said. In return I got inspired by their playing on the spot and started to do something totally unplanned, but still suited the flow of the music.

Also, I need to mention the beautiful bottle installation by visual artists Helena Kaikkonen, Leena Kangas & Päivi Pussila at the concert place. I performed with it in many moments during the concert. With powerful music, it felt natural for me to include the installation as part of the whole show. Yet another delightful inspiration!

Thank you, Timo, Biggie, Helena, Leena and Päivi for an unforgettable evening!

Here are some pictures from the concert:

Timo Kinnunen, Biggi Vinkeloe and me. Photo: Marcos Katz
Photo: Marcos Katz
Timo Kinnunen and me. Photo: Marcos Katz
Keltainen talo, Pikisaari, Oulu. Photo by Päivi Pussila

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And my collaboration with musicians continued. In the beginning of August, I traveled to Kalajoki, Finland to perform with four musicians: accordionist Timo Kinnunen, harpist Anne-Marie O’Farrell, cellist Adrian Mantu, conductor, recorder and Baroque flute player Janos Bali. Timo organized a 3-day monimusic festival titled Camus Calla 2018 where different genres and forms of art and music are mixed to create new music. I participated in two performances: one concert at the Kalajoki church and an experimental concert at Santa’s Resort & Spa Hotel Sani.

The first concert was mostly about classical music with some improvisational, experimental twists. The concert at the hotel incorporated films into musical improvisation. For both concerts, I had to jump in as an actor without any substantial rehearsal time with the musicians beforehand. So, what I did was almost completely improvised on the spot. But somehow it worked, thanks to the skilled musicians. And I had a lot of fun performing with them.

Here are a few photos from the concerts:

Kalajoki Church.
From left, Timo Kinnunen, Anne-Marie O’Farrell, me, Adrian Mantu, Janos Bali.
At Santa’s Resort & Spa Hotel Sani. From left: Timo Kinnunen, Anne-Marie O’Farrell, Janos Bali, me, Arto Nauha (light & sound) and Adrian Mantu.

I learned tremendously from how the musicians worked together and improvised with others. I was used to working in theatre projects, where we take a lot of time to build and create a story together. But my collaboration with musicians was very different from that. They trust each other’s ability to improvise as a given and play their instruments based in feeling, backed by solid skills. They often bypass logic and work instinctively, so the speed of working is quite fast.  So, I also had to trust my ability to improvise with them and tried my best to feel “the flow” they were feeling.

What an experience I had. Thank you!

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