Finnish folk duo Kaivama with the Polka Chicks at Mendelssohn Hall June 11

Staff Report

The Charlotte’s Web Division of Mendelssohn Performing Arts Center will present Finnish-American musicians Sara Pajunen and Jonathan Rundman with the “Polka Chicks,” an energetic folk music duo from Finland, at 7:30 p.m., Tuesday, June 11, in Mendelssohn Hall, 406 N. Main St., Rockford. Tickets are $20 for adults and $10 for students.

Sara Pajunen and Jonathan Rundman of the folk duo Kaivama grew up in northwoods cultures of long winters, lakeside saunas, rugged terrain and solitude. The band is founded on Pajunen and Rundman’s common ancestry and performs original compositions and inventive, energetic arrangements of traditional folk tunes from the Nordic countries. The name Kaivama stems from the Finnish word kaivaa: “to delve or dig.” Pajunen’s unique prowess on the fiddle and Rundman’s versatility on guitar, harmonium and piano allow Kaivama to explore a surprising variety of textures. Audiences from performance halls to folk festivals to rock clubs are captivated by this youthful duo’s instrumental skill and fresh approach in creating music that is alternately joyous, primitive, experimental, haunting and time-honored.

The Polka Chick’s fiddler, Kukka Lehto, and accordionist, Teija Niku, revel in picking through the dusty shelves of folk tune archives to find hidden musical gems and then polishing them anew in a uniquely Polka Chick way. They also compose their own music. Kukka and Teija enjoy the extremes in music — they share a love for dynamic, almost impossibly fast, polkas, but they do have a tender side as well, which they’re not afraid to show in songs filled with emotion and experiences from everyday life.

Previously known as a trio, the Polka Chicks was chosen “Band of the Year” at the Kaustinen Folk Music Festival in 2009. Since 2010, Kukka and Teija have continued their work as the Polka Chicks duo, playing succesful concerts in Finland, Germany, Croatia, Sweden and the USA.Their new CD, Viulu ja viinantilkka (“A fiddle and a drop of liquor”), was released in August 2011.

From the June 5-11, 2013, issue

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