Recorded in November 2017 in Helsinki and released June 15 2018 on Nordic Notes, AMERIIKAN LAULU is Aallotar's second studio album. The topic of emigration takes up a large space in the work, and Niku and Pajunen play with differences in musical tradition in the US and Finland. The title refers to a song dedicated to Teija’s great-grandmother Amanda Jemina Helenius. Helenius travelled to the new world as a 16 year old. She married Aappo, also born in Finland, and years later they returned to live in Aappo’s home village of Karsikas in Haapavesi, Finland. Almost 80 years later Teija was born in this same village.
The album also features a traditional waltz from Kuortane, where Sara's great-grandfather Henri Saari was born in 1881. Henri worked for a while in Sweden in the timber industry and emigrated to America in 1905. His future wife, Gustava, sailed to Boston from Finland and the two later met and settled in Minnesota. In contrast, the Saari family did not return to their old home. Sara was born just 30 miles from where Gustava and Henri ran a boarding house for iron ore miners in Northern Minnesota.
On ‘Ameriikan laulu’ the two musicians are also influenced by childhood memories. ‘Sininen Uni,’ a children's poem, was set to music by Tapio Rautavaara, a Finnish athlete and singer. Teija's mother regularly read her bedtime poems, including the story of Sininen Uni - which was both frightening and soothing for a little girl. Sara found herself listening to Tapio's music for comfort after returning to the US after living in Finland for many years.
In Finland everyone knows the song of the forest flowers ‘Metsäkukkia,’ common to both musician's childhoods. In the United States the song is not known outside Finnish-American circles, so audiences are often enchanted by the beauty of the melody. Aallotar rearranged the song and also proved a certain creativity in the translation, enabling non-Finnish speaking listeners to partake in the story.
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The music on Aallotar’s debut album “In Transit” includes songs, that both Teija and Sara knew from their past (Väliaikainen, Jos voisin), songs that they wanted to share with each other (Juottomarssi, Hellulaulu) and songs especially written for the duo (Aamupolska, Day & Night). The fact that the duo's members have an ocean between them has determined their way of working together: most of the time sharing music through the internet. But the album itself was recorded with both musicians sharing the studio one cold January week in Kärsämäki, Finland.
Aallotar’s physical and cultural separations allow a unique probing of both traditional and personal music. Singing in both English and Finnish, Teija and Sara pay tribute to their respective cultures, which - although they pulsate with many of the same values and energy of 100 years ago - have grown apart. The music of Aallotar is an exploration of those differences, with the intent to create new harmonies that bridge the expanses which water has filled.
1. Syämestäni rakastan
2. Lonely Sparrow
3. Lauluni laulan
5. Hiljainen suru
7. Jos voisin
11.Day & Night