Markku Lepistö & Mikko Helenius
Bellows and Pipes
Songlines 5/2019 review


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MARKKU LEPISTÖ (originally born in Kuortane) is one of the best-known proponents of new Finnish and Nordic folk accordion music. In January 2019 he ́s releasing the debut album 'Bellows and Pipes* with the finnish concert organist MIKKO HELENIUS. The album consists of both traditional and contemporary folk music arranged for the diatonic accordion and organ.

As a premier recording on this album you can hear the six part composition 'Suite for Accordion and Organ' by Lepistö. "The composition is so far my biggest work and I composed it basically during the years 2015-2016. In addition to finnish folk music you can also hear some flavours of classical and jazz music," says Lepistö and continues: "I was really enthusiastic for the sound of organ already as a teenager and one of my dreams as a musician was to work as a cantor-organist. Accordion became my main instrument but deep inside I haven ́t lost my passion to organ as colorfull and sonorous instrument."

The album was recorded at Käpylä church in Helsinki by Mika Koivusalo who has a long recording career with the top Finnish concert organists. "The church has a great acoustics and the size and sounds of the organ was perfect for this compination," says Koivusalo. The organ is made by Finnish Kangasala Organ Factory in year 1977. The graphic design of the album is made by Teemu Raudaskoski from Tampere.

Markku Lepistö (b. 1963) completed his D.Mus. degree at the Sibelius Academy of the University of the Arts Helsinki in 2016. His current activities in addition to solo and duo projects include playing in the European accordion quintet Samurai Accordion with Riccardo Tesi (IT), Kepa Junkera (Basque), David Munnelly (IRL) and Simone Bottasso (IT ).

Mikko Helenius (b. 1977) has studied at the Sibelius Academy Church Music Department and afterward worked in different parishes of Helsinki as a professional organist. Helenius is also renowned with the skills of bandoneon playing and he studied it in Paris with Juan José Mosalini between 2001–2004. He also studied composing with Gustavo Beytelmann at the same years.
Helenius has composed and arranged numerous titles for organ and also music for the documentary films. In addition to church music Helenius is writing music for the theatre and ensembles and been performing with several tango orchestras in Europe, South America and Asia.