Johanna Juhola: accordion, concept, manuscript, compositions
Hannu Oskala: sound design
Valo Virtanen: light design
Jukka Mantere: filming, video editing, manuscript
Elina Lajunen: manuscript, director
Jyrki Kanto: animations
Kati Hyyppä: animation characters
Jyri Suominen: set design
Antti Kuivalainen: video editing
Tauko Design: costume design
The latest concert ensemble presented by accordion virtuoso Johanna Juhola is called Imaginary Friends. In this vividly visualized show, Johanna is the only live performer, with her team of accompanists and fellow performers projected alongside her on two large video screens. Joining Johanna virtually are the man that inspired her begin playing the squeeze box years ago, a star-studded YouTube cavalcade of fellow musicians, an amorous navigator, a chorus of clapping hands and an entire orchestra of cloned Johannas.
Artists lending their voices and talents to the concert include vocalists Emma Salokoski, Tommy Lindgren, Yona and Maija Pokela, circus performer Sampo Kurppa, percussionist Sara Puljula and tango acrobats Timo Hakkarainen and Marjo Kiukaanniemi.
Johanna first came up with this unique concept for a concert four years ago, when her band members proved too busy to join her for a gig. Already back then, she decided to record her first ‘accompanying concert video’, where she herself would assume the different roles of her backup group and play the various instruments.
Imaginary Friends concert carries on Johanna’s trademark ‘fantasy tango’ theme, with each of the elements contributing to a fluid musical story-telling stream. The soundscape borrows from the accordion’s familiar environs, but also ventures into the realms of traditional folk and popular music. The performance will feature fresh arrangements of some of Johanna’s most popular recordings to suit her imaginary friends collaboration, and well as new compositions prepared expressly for this concert.
Johanna Juhola’s work to date has revolutionised our common perception of the accordion as a musical instrument. Her peers have named her an accordion superhero and a daring reinventor of tango music as we know it. Her highly original output and collaborative work with top names from the classical, jazz and even electronic music scene has sealed her reputation as a groundbreaking and genre-transcending visionary.
The compositions of the Imaginary Friends concert can be found on records Johanna Juhola: Fantasiatango 2 (2012), Johanna Juhola: Diivan jäljet - Shadow of a Diva (2017)and Johanna Juhola: Miette (2006).