SoundBreaker

Tue Dec 11,2012

When Kimmo Pohjonen started to learn and play the accordion as a 10-year-old, he says he was a “well-behaved kid”. The accordion, hugely popular in France, Russia and Finland, where Pohjonen is from, was at the time considered a terribly “uncool” instrument. “I was so embarrassed I played it that I didn’t even tell my friends,” he said.

For 20 years, Pohjonen followed a method of study set by several before him, until he wanted to break free from the norm and compose his own music and sound. “I was 30 and keen on finding my own way, my own path with the accordion,” he said.

This led to a journey of experimentation on the instrument and subsequently self-discovery. “One of the things I hope the audience will take away from SOUNDBREAKER is not to waste 20 years like I did in pleasing society.” As he customised his instrument, to suit his musical requirements, Pohjonen increasingly grew fascinated by its ability to sound powerful and even “ugly” – a stark contrast to its popular association with Paris and love.

In SOUNDBREAKER, which is also a documentary of his own personal voyage, Pohjonen plays alone and is also accompanied by other musicians, bellows, farmyard animals and machines. Throughout he enthralls listeners with his strongly Scandinavian take on multiple musical genres. His approach to music, his instrument and life provide an extraordinary document of a singular man.

HOW KIMMO AND HIS ACCORDION BECAME COOL

- His favourite hobby is ice-swimming in Finland. So he jumps into freezing water and can then hop into a hot sauna. “I love the extremes and that’s what I look for in music,” he said.
- He plays the electronic accordion.
- It weighs about 18 kilos; that’s about five kilos above the average weight of the instrument.
- He can make engine sounds with his accordion.
- He can play vocal sounds with his accordion.
- He can turn his instrument into drums.

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