Sunday, January 20, 2008

Ulla & Gerry

For your entertainment on a cold, cold Sunday (well, it is here), pal Gerry Henkel sends me the following video (that's one of his beautiful kanteles below):

A poetic collaboration by a Finnish poet, a Finnish expatriate performer, a Canadian Finnish videographer, and an American Finnish kantele player

Ulla Suokko, an expatriate Finnish citizen living in New York City, performs "Lapin Laulu," a poem written by Finnish native Tuovi Koivunen, with kantele accompaniment from North American Finn Gerry Henkel. This performance is excerpted from a video produced by Finnish Canadian Teuvo Hirvela taped at the Finnish Canadian festival “FinnFling” held in Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada, July 14-16, 2006.

One morning of the festival, Gerry Henkel wandered into the art gallery area and met Rita Apuli who was featuring her original paintings from the book Louhen Kartanolla - a joint effort with poet Tuovi Koivunen who was also present in the gallery. Gerry then met Ulla Suokko and insisted that she meet Tuovi and Rita because he knew of her love of Finnish poems. Later in the day during one of Gerry's kantele performance, he asked Ulla to read one of the poems on stage while he played kantele. The video is the result. It illustrates how wonderful things can happen spontaneously in settings such as a Finnish summer festival.

The poem which Ulla performs is from Rita Apuli and Tuovi Koivunen's book, Louhen kartanolla [ISBN: 9529185081].

More information about Rita (and paintings from the book) can be found on her website. Tuovi Koivunen's website is here.

Ulla Suokko will be performing with her flamenco partner Carlos Revollar at Carnegie Hall in New York on February 10th. In July, Ulla will be participating in another Finnish North American festival: FinnFest in Duluth, Minnesota.


Anonymous said...

Wow, I enjoyed Ulla's performance, including a fantastic one following on YouTube at the Mythic Imagination conference!

C. Margery Kempe said...

Ulla is absolutely magnetic! I first met her at Mythic Journeys and was enraptured immediately. I was able to bring her to Houston while I was there and she wowed every one there. Her CD, Bridge of Light, has some of the most beautiful melodies you could imagine, weaving beautifully together. The sound of that bass flute is so striking -- and the look of it, too. What a beautiful instrument in both sound and construction. Ulla combines the skills of storytelling, music and healing abilities in a way that energizes anyone in her presence.