March-April, recording a solo album with poems by Helvi Juvonen (1919-1959), which will be released later this year, the year of Juvonen’s 100 Anniversary!

Arrangements of beautiful old spirituals will be performed again by Spirituals Revisited Ensemble in an Easter concert, Vantaa.

Below you’ll find my previous writing as a stipendiate of Villa Karo in January-February. I’m now blessed with the memory of the special state of mind, which was created by the exceptional-to-me environment and circumstances: relaxed and productive mind – …or is it body instead, ..after all, ..first, or only…? At least now I just have a sense of my yearning there – no words.


A week and a half left of my five weeks residential time as a scholar at Villa Karo, Grand-Popo, Benin. Have experienced and sensed a little of this special environment; Gulf of Guinea climate, and culture so different from my own. Here I am a foreigner, yovo, no matter how long I’ll stay… Seen the rough waves and tough fishermen in their work producing the most organic and enchanting music. Felt the softest wind, humid air – no coughing, the days too hot for doing anything (and still been able for something). Met the most beautiful, strong and fit women and men, and playful children who can dance and jump like a leopard.

People may be poor, but they are not miserable! They carry themselves with an outstanding energy and long neck. Making me just dream about it… oh yes, here I actually am just a dreamer. My skin truly is for minus degrees and my mind for silent woods. But music here, different as it is, keeps me intensely asking myself: what is it (that I could’t realize earlier in my life, but intuitively knew) also here associates with and is part of me (?). Before leaving I was naive and thought maybe I would not find much in common… How narrow-minded. What about the history of my own culture(!), my ”own” folk music..(!), not to mention the music I so sincerely studied – jazz(!) In the end all of this leads me ”dreaming” about the archaic essentials and meanings of music, life and existence overall, …history, music evolution, revolutions.. Overwhelming! Be it dreaming, but it makes a difference.

I’m so grateful to have had the opportunity to do a fairly silent but extremely dynamic conversation between my staying/working here, and the everyday life in Grand-Popo. It’s been wonderful. Merveilleux. Merci. Kiitos.