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Aallotar - in Concert

Tuesday, February 10, 2015 - 7:00pm

Aallotar is a freshly-minted transatlantic collaboration between violinist Sara Pajunen (Minnesota) and accordionist Teija Niku (Finland). The ensemble is founded on the common musical ground the women share, but also revels in the cultural differences born when an ocean and the passage of time separate a lineage. Aallotar’s music has been described as “exquisite, sophisticated chamber folk music.” 

The name Aallotar comes from a character from Finland's national epic, The Kalevala. A daughter of the waves, her name has graced the hulls of Finnish ships for centuries – ships that separated the ancestors of Aallotar’s members: Teija Niku and Sara Pajunen. One hundred years ago, their families lived within hours of each other in the western regions of Finland, speaking the same language, playing the same music. Now, in the 21st century, they revisit earlier days of Finnish folk music – but with an ocean and a century of musical influence between them. 

Both Teija Niku and Sara Pajunen began performing Finnish folk music at an early age. Niku, from Haapavesi, Finland, plays the same 2-row accordion on which she explored Finnish polka repertoire as a child – an instrument that twice won her the Finnish Folk Championship. As an adult, Niku has earned a master’s degree in folk music from the Sibelius Academy and won the respected Konsta Jylhä competition with her band Grupa Balkan. Pajunen, one "of the most ambitious and notable practitioners of Finnish folk music outside of Finland", traveled to Finland from her native Hibbing, Minnesota every four years as a child to perform on violin. After receiving classical music degrees both in Minneapolis and Helsinki, she returned to explore the folk music that is both her personal and ancestral past. She has founded two touring ensembles based on her Finnish roots: Kaivama and Tango Pohjan Tähden.

Concert tickets available at the door, $10 adults, $6 students and seniors