Playful and imaginative music with kantele, guitar and voices (often flavored with some looper magic).
Aino & Miihkali is a Finnish, Helsinki based duo, with roots in North Karelia. Their progressive folk jazz combines Scandinavian sounds and influences from around the world like West African rhythms.
The rhythmic frames are created with kantele and loop pedal. They are colored with chiming strings, vocal harmonies and improvisation - sometimes with precision and sometimes with broader strokes heedless of the guide lines. The picturesque songs are commenting and making vivid observations of the world - at times from surprising viewpoints.
Aino is Finland’s foremost progressive kantele player known for her work with Uniruukki. She has explored rhythmic kantele playing, and has established her unique voice both as a composer and an artist. On the new album "Aino & Miihkali" she found her voice as a singer as well. On this album she sings in three different languages, Finnish, Swedish and English. She’s already performed in Japan, Ghana, Senegal, Kyrgyzstan and around Europe.
Miihkali’s virtuosic guitar work has echoes from jazz, blues and even bluegrass banjo that are melted into each other elegantly. Some of the excellence in his fingerstyle playing can be credited to his educational background, which include studies in the world famous Berklee College of Music. On the other hand he’s been striving for a sound of his own and on the duos debut album you can hear it more clearly than ever.
“Many great things in life (and music) seem to happen by chance. Any encounter can change the direction of the flow, especially if you are open to it. Once upon a time in May, two strangers happened to meet. They played petanque, danced, and enjoyed the spring of Northern Karelia, when the sun hardly sets. Sometimes years went by before coincidence brought them back together, while they ventured around the world, looking for their own voices.
We travelled different paths, but had similar interests and ambitions; an innovative grip to our instruments, playful & imaginative musicianship, the past, the future, and how to seize the moment. Our voices are built on encounters, uncontrolled collisions and the most subtle impulses. They got shades from all the places and from all the people we’ve been lucky to play music with.
We started playing together in spring 2017, and in autumn 2019 we released ”Aino & Miihkali”, a whole album of music. This is not a mere coincidence. It has required a lot of determined work, frustration, triumphs, quarrels, commitment, liberation, reinventing ourselves as musicians, finding common ground, single releases of ”Siri’s Runaway” and "Fireworks", 28 dates of ”Outside the Box” -tour, and consequently the crystallization of the vision. And we keep on growing – open to advancing coincidences.”