It’s that time of year again: School is almost out, Minnesotans have gone from wearing wool sweaters to shorts in what feels like just a few days, and my family is packing to head north to the 15th annual Nisswa-stämman Scandinavian Folk Music Festival.
Set in the iconic Northern Minnesota town of Nisswa, the festival was conceived by Scandinavian-American folk musician Paul Wilson and his wife/musical partner, Mary Abendroth. After attending gatherings of folk musicians in Norway and Sweden, the couple wanted to create a similar experience for their fellow folk musicians on this side of the pond. (more…)
I’ve been keeping an eye on Aallotar, a new duo formed by Finnish-American fiddler Sara Pajunen and Finnish accordionist Teija Niku. The two are currently touring the western United States in support of their debut album, “In Transit,” released today.
A century ago, Pajunen and Niku’s ancestors lived within miles of each other in western Finland. Aallotar is founded on the common musical heritage the two share, but it also celebrates how geography and time have shaped their cultural differences. I recently caught up with Sara and got the scoop on this newest musical collaboration and the album.
L–R: Sara Pajunen and Teija Niku
How did you originally connect with accordionist Teija Niku?
Sara Pajunen: Teija and I met when Kaivama and her group, Polka Chicks, played Finnfest 2011 in San Diego. The two groups then toured together in the summer of 2013.