Songs Of The Midnight Sun

by Mika Pohjola

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Fifteen sparkling renditions inspired by the Midnight Sun, arranged by Mika Pohjola and performed by his varied New York based ensemble, including Alan Ferber, Laura Arpiainen, Dan Weiss, Felipe Salles, Eeppi Ursin, Fernando Huergo and others. Settings from string quartet to big band make this album as varied as the colors of the rainbow, while the legendary songwriter Toivo Kärki stands for the traditional melodies.

Toivo Kärki (1915-92) is regarded as one of the most prolific Non-Argentinian tango composers of the 20th century. After World War II, the Finnish native Kärki had to hide his interest in big band swing music, but he never abandoned it. He was a realist though, and preferred to place his musical talent in the service of the general public, so eager for uplifting entertainment after the demanding war years. Nevertheless, Kärki used very sophisticated melodic and harmonic ideas in all his compositions and arrangements. This is why his compositions are a challenge for modern authors working on new versions of these old songs. This album, A Lark in a Snowstorm, combines the versatility of his compositions, his musical preferences and his aspirations, adapted into a modern expression of music. The title piece is the second earliest of Kärki's existing compositions, a true reflection of the many turns in his life. Only those who were more familiar with him knew that basically he was a sensitive artist - like a lark. On the other hand they knew that he was a persevering fighter, who had to struggle against the odds throughout most of his professional career. He never gave up, not even in an icy snowstorm. The compositions of Toivo Kärki (1915-1992), at least the best of them, can be characterized with the exacting word 'quality'. The basis for his musical thought was his keen interest in jazz, which started as early as 1928 when he heard Louis Armstrong on record. After winning an international contest for new compositions, arranged by the Rhythm magazine in 1939, Kärki planned to move to the United States. History, however, decided otherwise: the Finnish Winter War (against the Soviet Union) broke out and Kärki was sent to the front like thousands of others.


released December 3, 2005

Mika Pohjola - piano & arrangements
Toivo Kärki - songs
Sanni Orasmaa - voice
Eeppi Ursin - voice
David Ambrosio - bass
Laura Arpiainen - violin
Anna Basis - violin
Bill Campbell - drums
Alan Ferber - trombone
Mark Ferber - drums
Janne Halonen - guitar
Fernando Huergo - bass
Henrik Lamberg - voice
Robin Miller - cello
Indra Ozola - flute
Franco Pinna - percussion
Felipe Salles - saxophone
Julio Santillán - guitar
Ayumi Takeshima - violin
Kari Toivonen - narration
Dan Weiss - drums



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