Juhola has previously released four solo albums, Miette (Texicalli 2006), Fantasiatango (Texicalli 2010), Fantasiatango 2 (Johanna Juhola Music 2012) and Diivan jäljet (Westpark Music 2018).
On the last three albums Juhola has been joined by her ensembles Johanna Juhola Reaktori and Johanna Juhola Trio. This is also the case now. Although the bands usually perform separately, on this album the musicians from both bands play on all tracks.
Sara Puljula, bassist and original member of Reaktori, is a much-loved theatre and ensemble musician who has played in Finland’s biggest theatres and in the ensembles of Jaakko Laitinen, Ulla Tapaninen and Pekka Kuusisto, among others. Percussionist Juuso Hannukainen is known for his performances on Rinneradio and with Kimmo Pohjonen. Harmonium player and pianist Oona Sinkko is a younger generation folk musician from Kaustinen and has made a breakthrough on the Finnish folk music scene with her duo Nooli.
Johanna Juhola Trio’s long-time guitarist Roope Aarnio is also known from Finnish pop artist Erin’s band and as the leader of the SibA Folk Big Band at Sibelius Academy. Trio’s sound designer Teemu Korpipää is known among musicians for his creative sound solutions and problem-solving skills. He also worked as a recording engineer and mixer on the album.
Juhola has previously developed what she calls a fantasy tango, an accordion-driven style of music, and there is a touch of it on this album as well. However, instrumental storytelling through the medium of accordion folk-pop now takes on a greater role. On the other hand, the composer is happy and interested to leave the definitions of musical style to the listeners and journalists. In Juhola’s characteristic way, the songs are a kind of musical short stories, a kind of landscape-painting conveyor of moods.
Training Montage Quadrille makes you want to jump and work out, get energised and feel triumphant.
Pachinko Sensei evolved around the soundscapes of Juholas trips to Japan, inspired by the hectic pulse of arcades, talking elevators, subway doors and vending machines. At times it leans towards the fun naïve style of singer, multi-instrumentalist Shuko Tokumaru and also draws inspiration from Hayao Miyazaki’s animation film, Totoro.
In the Electronics Club, imaginary club members connect wires, which create buzzing sounds, and this gradually develops into music, which eventually turns into a dance party.
The suburban summer is long and warm, but seems sleepy and quiet as many have gone for holidays or to their summer cottages as Finnish people do in summer.
Alarm. It’s calm now, but soon it may thunder. The first version of the song was made back in 2014 for the dance production Chess Piece, in which Marjo Kiukaanniemi and Timo Hakkarainen marched and danced tango as pawns in a chess game. In the album version, the composition took on a darker tone.
Micro Wave + House Band is a composition for a musical short film released in 2020. In the story of the video, an accordionist is at home and imagine the beeping appliances being her bandmates and suddenly even more singing and noisy imaginary friends appear from somewhere. Check out the video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_E-yOI-BbLs
The album’s title track, A Brighter Future, heralds a brighter turnaround from the dark beginnings. Suitable for many situations in life.
Nordic Notes 2023
Johanna Juhola: accordion, claviola, recorder, synthesizer
Oona Sinkko: harmonium, piano
Juuso Hannukainen: percussions
Sara Puljula: double bass
Roope Aarnio: acoustic guitar, electric guitar, mandolin
Teemu Korpipää: samples, programming
Venla Ilona Blom: vocals on track 7
Recording and mixing by Teemu Korpipää in Helsinki 2022.
Producer: Johanna Juhola
Mastering: Jaakko Viitalähde, Virtalähde Mastering
Photos by Sami Perttilä | Graphic design by Paula Susitaival
Johanna Juhola has been hailed as an undisciplined innovator of tango, a world music prodigy, an important innovator of accordion playing and even a musical superhero. Juhola has released five solo albums and performs her fantasy tango compositions with her ensembles Johanna Juhola Reaktori and Trio. Juhola has also developed a visual concert, Imaginary Friends, in which star guests, animated characters and various sound sources perform on two video screens alongside the solo accordion. As a musician, Juhola crosses genre boundaries and has collaborated with top names in classical, jazz, pop and electronic music. In 2022, Juhola was awarded the NPU Prize of the Nordic Music Authors’ Union for her compositions.
Year of Release: 2023