Kimmo Pohjonen


Finnish accordion adventurist Kimmo Pohjonen is internationally known for revolutionizing accordion music, sound and performance. His custom-made, electrified and MIDI-fied instrument plus voice, effects, samples, surround sound and light show combine to make a unique and captivating performance experience.
A visionary of boundless energy, Pohjonen’s roots go back forty years in all forms of accordion music including folk, dance, classical, rock, experimental, theatre music and more. His studies in the progressive and innovative Sibelius Academy Folk Music Department were a critical factor in Pohjonen’s transition to the boldly creative and versatile, internationally successful musician/performer he is today. Pohjonen activities:

-Pohjonen celebrated his fiftieth year on Earth in 2014 with anniversary concerts at Helsinki Festival with Kronos Quartet and in Tamperetalo, Tampere, Finland with a two hour extravaganza of various projects from his entire career.
-Pohjonen and Finland’s top ballet dancer Minna Tervamäki present the project Bright Shadow. Tervamäki (previously with the Finnish National Ballet) has performed in all of the important classical ballets’ main roles and has worked with the most interesting contemporary choreographers, such as Ohad Naharin and Mats Ek. She also works actively as a choreographer. The artists’ co-operation began on the stage of the Finnish National Opera in 2011 and has evolved to the present day. Bright Shadow has been performed in Finland and Germany.
-A full length documentary film about Pohjonen, entitled Soundbreaker premiered in early 2012 in New Zealand, Australia and Finland and has been shown in over thirty countries. Directed by Kimmo Koskela, the film is a portrait of Pohjonen from early years to the present including archive and current material, interviews, concert video and more. Soundbreaker won the “Prix de la Création / Award for Creativity” at the 30th International Festival of Films on Art, Montreal, 2012. It was shown throughout Germany 2013-2015 in almost fifty cities and broadcast on 3sat TV in Germany, Austria, Switzerland. It is now available on DVD and as iTunes app
-Kimmo Pohjonen and sampling master Samuli Kosminen meet Kronos Quartet in the Uniko project featuring music composed by Pohjonen and Kosminen. Uniko with Kroos has been performed in Helsinki, Moscow, Molde Jazz Festival Norway, BAM NEXT WAVE festival in New York, Colours of Ostrava in Czech Republic, Palace of the Arts in Budapest, Barbican Centre in London and Katowice, Poland. The Uniko album with Pohjonen, Kosminen and Kronos was recorded in New York and Helsinki from 2007-2010, produced by Iceland’s
-Pohjonen composed music for the Finnish dance performance Hardcore Humppa by choreographer Harri Kuorelahti and the Helsinki Dance Company. The premiere was September 2009 at Helsinki City Theatre and the performance ran through November 2009. Pohjonen also composed music for the Swedish dance performance premiered in October 2006 by choreographer Lisa Torun. Pohjonen collaborated in Paris in June 2006 with dancers /choreographers Tero Saarinen and Carolyn Carlson. Finnish choreographer Jorma Uotinen directed the Finnish National Opera Ballet performing Pohjonen’s Kielo music at Helsinki‘s National Opera House and again in Netherlands and Australia with local dance companies.
-Pohjonen has composed and performed music for three films: the British short film Flickerman and the Ivory-Skinned Woman, the Russian full length feature film, Majak and, with Samuli Kosminen, the full length Finnish feature film Jade Warrior where they won the Finnish Jussi Award for Best Film-Score. They have also composed music for a Finnish ”new circus theatre” performance, Keskusteluja.
-Pohjonen enjoys a high profile in the UK with performances over the years at WOMAD, The Proms at Royal Albert Hall London, Jazz Festival at the Barbican, Queen Elizabeth Hall and Royal Festival Hall. Pohjonen has performed at two Meltdown Festivals in London: Pohjonen / Kosminen Kluster at David Bowie’s Meltdown performed one set of Bowie music followed by their own show. At Patti Smith’s Meltdown at Royal Festival Hall 2005, Pohjonen and drummer Sami Kuoppamäki participated in the Songs of Experience concert performing music of Jimi Hendrix. Pohjonen also toured his projects Earth Machine Music and Accordion Wrestling in UK. Pohjonen was nominated for BBC Radio 3 World Music Awards in 2002 and 2005 for the BBC Radio 3 Planet Award.
-Kimmo Pohjonen has received two consecutive five year artist grants from the Finnish state. He was Named “Accordionist of the Year” for 2000 and 2001 in Finnish Jazz magazine Jazz Rytmit and received the Nordic Council Music Award. In December 2012 Pohjonen was awarded two prizes: the Aesthetic Act of 2012 Prize for his work with Romanian street musicians and the Order of the Lion of Finland, Pro Finlandia award, a prestigious medal awarded by the Finnish president annually to Finns who have distinguished themselves in the field of arts and science, and is one of Finland’s highest honors.


Sensitive Skin

Label: Octopus
Distribution in France: Outhere
Release date: September 25, 2015

Award-winning Finnish accordionist, composer and musical adventurer Kimmo Pohjonen releases his new album Sensitive Skin on Ondine’s Octopus label. The release follows the successful Uniko album (ODE 1185-2) featuring the Kronos Quartet and Samuli Kosminen. Sensitive Skin features new Pohjonen compositions exploring dynamic, new sonic territory with special guests Kronos Quartet, Tuomas Norvio (electronics), Samuli Kosminen (drums, percussion), Timo Kämäräinen (guitar, bouzouki), Sami Kuoppamäki (drums), Arto Järvelä (nyckelharpa), Ismo Alanko (vocals), Lauri Porra (bass) and Inka and Saana Pohjonen (vocals). The international world music media are already expressing their admiration for the project and the album has now reached the top three of the European world music charts.
"Pohjonen has been stretching boundaries and defying expectations for more than a decade, with mind-blowing concepts and visual performances. As a fearless adventurer in music, he remains doggedly unaffiliated to any scene, trend or ethos” (All About Jazz).

Kimmo Pohjonen - Sensitive Skin