At the moment I am working on new material for the second and third concert of my doctoral thesis. That means a kind of emergency, but in the middle of rush it is nice to know that I have two CD’s just waiting for publishing. With Suvi Oskala we recorded works that we have comissioned from our favourite composers, and with Eero Grundström (Juuri & Juuri) we finally had time to explore some new territories between runo songs and fiddle music.

In just a moment I can feel the exciting smell of fresh CD…

Ritva Nero is almost a heavy metal band. It is difficult to amplify nyckelharpa without major feedback issues.

So tonight I have been testing my new toy, ToneDexter. Google it and you will find that it promises quite a lot. Well, I borrowed some quality mics (DPA and Schoeps) and used them to teach ToneDexter how I would like a basic piezo mic to sound with nyckelharpa.

So far so good, ToneDexter learns quite fast and makes my nyckelharpa sound pretty good even with the piezo mic. After the next rehearsal and gig I will know more.

Maybe ToneDexter will be helpful also in my solo projects when I use looper.

_DSC2679_DxOFor years I have wanted to play in a good rock band, the heavier the better. And finally, last spring, Sanna Salonen founded Ritva Nero for her studies, and asked me to join.

And what a band it is: saxophone, Finnish bagpipes, nyckelharpa, bass and drums. Groovy partyfolkmetal? Headbangingfolk? Whatever, it seems to work.

Music festivals and organizers have been very interested, and we have quite a lot of good gigs coming up. The first proper gig at Pakkahuone in Tampere as a warm-up for Timo Rautiainen was already a success.

We have a lot to do. I have to find a good solution for amplifying the nyckelharpa on high-feedback stage. But the momentum is great. This might be a big band in few years.

Royal Festival Hall in London, UK. Philharmonia Orchestra with Esa-Pekka Salonen conducting Sibelius. A huge concert in the honor of Finland celebrating its hundred years of independence.

And then me and Eero Grundström (Juuri & Juuri) playing Finnish folk music immediately after the concert.

Sounds just about right, eh? It was one of those gigs that you just want to take, even if it means hauling a harmonium and a nyckelharpa in flight cases with too busy schedule.

Yeah, now they know that there is more to Finnish music than Sibelius.