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Archipelago-concert tour 2019 –
the project description and the videos

Tapahtumakuva jpeg edited

Listen to the music here:


The Archipelago concert tour brought together Finnish and Japanese musicians and composers. Three Finnish musicians performed new contemporary music composed by Japanese and Finnish composers and inspired by the sea and archipelago. The members of the trio – Rody van Gemert (guitar), Eija Kankaanranta (kantele) and Assi Karttunen (harpsichord) – aimed at inventing new timbres and combinations challenging the conventional ideas on the sound and playing techniques of plucked instruments. The tour was supported by The Finnish Institute in Japan and The embassy of Finland in Japan and it takes part in the 100-years' jubileum of Japan's and Finland's cultural collaboration.

Archipelago – New Japanese and Finnish Music 2019

Prof. composer Akira Kobayashi's lecture in the Aikamme musiikkia-lecture series at the Sibelius Academy on November 14th at 1 pm at the Music Centre.
November 15th at 7 pm Temppeliaukio Church
Finnish Soloists' Foundation concert series.
November 18th Kantele concert in Sapporo, organized by Hiromi Hokkanen / Japan Kantele Society
November 22nd Trio's concert in Hiroshima Elisabeth University, Xavier-concert hall, contact prof. Chieko Mibu
November 23rd courses, lectures, workshops in Hiroshima, at the Elisabeth University.
November 24th Event Finnish/Japanese culture at the Japan Broadcasting Cooperation Culture Center in Nagoya (contact person prof. Akira Kobayashi)
November 25th Concert at Aichi Chamber Music Hall / Aichi University of the Arts (contact person prof. Akira Kobayashi)
November 26th Lecture concert together with composer Kazumi Tsukamoto / Shizuoka Tokoha University
30.11.Kantele concert in Tokyo / Concert lab venue. Organized by Japan Kantele Association.
30.11. Harpsichord concert at Space-concert venue, in Tokyo. Contact Kakumi Tomoko.

Kantele Eija Kankaanranta
Guitar Rody van Gemert
Harpsichord Assi Karttunen


Yuna Kurachi: Kello   

Yukio Mukai: A Sea of Words

Esa Pietilä: Fata morgana

Pekka Jalkanen: Äärettömän syli

Toshiki Kamiya: If I become an Ant


Rica Narimoto: Lines II

Olli Virtaperko: Skärgården

Ayane Furaki: Incense game

Ton That Tiet: Nordic Horizons

Johanna Pitkänen: Villeldar: Intro: Hämärät saaret,  1. Väärät tulet, 2. Kultainen mastonnuppi, 3. Kallio, hiekka, 4. Outro: Jumala anna meille hylky

Akira Kobayashi: September

Kantele Eija Kankaanranta
Guitar Rody van Gemert
Harpsichord Assi Karttunen

We are thankful to:

Finnish Soloists’ Association

The Finnish Institute in Japan

Finnish Embassy in Japan


Majaoja Foundation

Madetoja Foundation


Prof. Akira Kobayashi

Prof. Rica Narimoto

The compositions of Archipelago-tour:

Composer Ayane Furuki has composed a trio The Game of Incense, which explores harmonic colour like fragrants. She tells us: “In Japan, there is an accomplishment called ‘Kodo’ that is the incense smelling. There are two ways to enjoy ‘Kodo’, ‘Kumiko’ is one of them and is a game of distinguishing different types of incense by burning ‘Koboku’ (fragrant woods). From the chapters of the ‘Tale of Genji’ the Genji crests or Genji-mon were created to use in the Kodo game ‘Kumiko’ called ‘Genjiko’. My piece is inspired by ‘Genjiko’. At first, I composed five melodies and corresponded to five kinds of perfume. Next, I expressed the situation that people hesitate over which package to choose from fifty-two by using extended techniques and mixing the five melodies. At last, I expressed the situation that the same or different perfume are burned by using five melodies with variation.”

Composer Toshiki Kamiya’s new work If I became an ant studies high-strung motility and mind-games. He tells us: “When I saw the ground, an ant was walking. I fancy “I became an ant”. I got lost in immediately, because the surrounding object are large. The human footsteps worried me. I think about the feelings of ants, Iʼm so scared.
In this work, I expressed the various fear that I would feel if I became an ant.”

Composer Natsuki Niwa’s new composition Dislocated Resolutions is based on a brilliant idea of non-committal relationships in music. This work will be heard in summer 2020. Composer tells us: “不即不離 ーFUSOKU FURIー” is a Japanese concept that means non-committal relationships. I translated it into the relation of the ensemble by musical way. Each instrument has different own material and only the nuances are same. I tried to compose structures of time that don't coincide finally.”

Composer Yuna Kurachi’s new work, Kello (a clock in English) takes its inspiration of bell sounds and clock hands ticking away. She tells us: “I found out that the recording of the church bell plays back in Temppeliaukio church because there is no bell there. Therefore, I came up with the idea of ring my original bell sounds. This piece was composed according to spectrum analyses of Japanese temple bells. I hope that new sounds like a bridge between Japan and Finland will be created by three instruments. In addition, congratulations on the 50th anniversary of the church.”

Composer Yuiko Mukai’s new work for kantele, guitar and harpsichord is inspired by poetry. She tells about her composition, The Sea of Words: “When I read books, I always feel like swimming in large sea waves. I think that many meaningless rows of words in books seem to wind up. This piece is inspired by that and in this piece pentatonic scales such as Japanese-like are employed. The intermediate part is based on rhythm of ‘Haiku’ (5-7-5); ‘Haiku’ is a shortest Japanese poem and one of the most interesting enumerations of words.”

Composer, professor Rica Narimoto tells about her composing process: ‘Lines II’ is inspired by the huge painting, ‘Rhapsody’ drawn by Jennifer Bartlett who is an American visual artist. ‘Rhapsody’ consists of 987 square plates. One side of one square is about 30 cm. 987 plates are divided into seven sections. ‘Lines’ is one of them and I compose with the structure of this section. In this section, various lines are drawn. At first, I transcribed that section to my notebook and analyzed the structure of it. Next, I made some groups all plates under several classifications by the painted lines. After that, I correspondence to each classifications and musical figures. For instance, the straight line corresponds to one tone, the curved line corresponds to arpeggio, the bold line corresponds to harmony etc... After correspondence, each musical figure was placed along the original art work's arrangement. I composed this music while arranging the elements in a cool way and was thinking that it would be a fun music”.

Composer, professor Akira Kobayashi has composed a kaleidoscopic composition for the trio. The rhythmical playfulness is combined with expressive musical gestures in the middle part of the work. He tells about his new work September: “It was the first time I composed for kantele, guitar and harpsichord; every instrument was new for me. I tried to create expressive music using characteristics of those three instruments. The deadline for this piece was September 2019. I always kept that in mind. That’s why I named this piece September.“

The series of movements Villeldar by composer Johanna Pitkänen leads us to the history of the Archipelago. “The sea embeds a world of legends, of which the name Villeldar refers to false fires, which were imitating the famous Utö lighthouse guiding the ships to a wrong direction and eventually causing them to wreck. Another legend tells about a golden glimmering mast knob in the bottom of the sea. In Fårö Island people prayed for a ship to wreck on their shore”, Pitkänen tells. According to Pitkänen: “These pirate legends created strong images in my mind. I wanted to transform those images into music. I was interested in exploring the timbres of each instrument in the trio and particularly their sound combination. The piece has a strong melodic quality and you can hear influences in example from folk music. The piece includes improvisation and leaves room for (rhythmic) interpretation.” Villeldar: Intro: Gloomy Islands, Part One: False Fires, Part Two: Golden Mast Knob, Part Three: Rock, Sand, Outro: God, Give Us a Shipwreck.

The title of Esa Pietilä’s solo harpsichord work Fata morgana refers to a special weather condition, which creates illusatory fairy castle-like monuments in the horizon of the sea. The piece brings forth the frightening bass sonority on double manual, full size harpsichord and the brightness on the treble and makes a dialogue out of them: “I got fascinated by the sonority, character and power of the low register sound on the instrument, especially when used in non-traditional way and found some kind of especially funny and outlandish cluster-mud and glimmering things which play together”, Pietilä describes. The challenges lie also in rhythmical ideas, which are multi-faceted and surprising and in the short improvised section.

Olli Virtaperko’s Skärgården is a virtuosic, smooth, energetic and entertaining piece of music, which reveals under its secuctive and easy-to-approach surface lies a serious and devilishly difficult study of polyrhythmics, polymetrics and rhythmic modulations. “Having focused predominantly on sound color, studied multiphonics and harmonics and experimented with different temperaments in recent years, it was great fun to write a shameless straight-forward virtuoso piece for a change”, Virtaperko says.

Pekka Jalkanen’s work The Fathom of Infinity follows the traditional journey from katabasis and krisis to anabasis. We descend to the bottom of the world and nearly suffocate to Ereshkigal’s, Mesopotamian death goddess, hair, but we are liberated with the help of Inanna and rise to the heights. The music is bare and archaic, the diatonic first and third movements are built on top of the series of tones, c-h-a-f-e, which is familiar from Mediterranean to Asia. As a contrast the middle movement is seductively chromatic and frightening, based on the notes e–re(d)–e flat–b–g– g sharp–a, which can be found in the name of Ereshkigal. The work is based on thematic material of the title piece of the cycle of songs, Flute player (Hermann Hesse) composed in 1980.

Link to Olli Virtaperko's new trio Skärgården.


Link to Thón Thát-Tiét's new trio Horizon Nordique (2018) for Harpsichord and Guitar.


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