Serving the San Francisco Bay Area New Music Community

Sun, May 26 2019 8:00 PM

Berkeley Finnsh Hall
1970 Chestnut St. Berkeley
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A musical adventure inspired by the mythic prose of cultural liberation and identity found in Finnish and Finno-Ugric folklore and shamanic traditions:
Mark Clifford - vibraphone, gabby fluke-mogul - violin, Max Judelson - double bass, Heikki "Mike" Kosikinen - e-trumpet, tenor recorder, kantele, Cheryl E. Leonard - natural inventions, percussion, cello, Joshua Marshall - tenor & soprano saxophones, Timothy Orr- drums, percussion , Rent Romus - alto & soprano saxophone, flutes, kantele, bells, Safa Shokrai - double bass
Advance Tickets available at Eventbrite

The Finnish Heritage Society presents the East Bay debut of composers Rent Romus and Heikki Koskinen’s “Manala” (netherworld), a representation of cultural rediscovery through the lens of music weaving the elements of jazz, traditional folk, and free improvisation inspired by the mythic prose of cultural liberation and identity found in the Finnish and Finno-Ugric folklore and shamanic traditions. This epic presentation will take place at the newly restored historic Berkeley Finnish Hall presented as part of the Finnish Heritage Society’s spring cultural events programming featuring Romus’ Life’s Blood Ensemble.

Growing up as a third generation Finnish American, Rent Romus’ heritage could be defined by a few family stories and childhood songs. Like most ethnic Finnish immigrants who came to the United States at the turn of the century during occupation at the fall of the Russian Empire, his family was strongly encouraged to shed their identity through name (Ilomäki), language and/or cultural practices upon entering. Research, mentoring, and music has given him the tools needed to reclaim a larger portion of his lost cultural identity culminating within a thirty year span. Working with mentor and fellow composer/musician Heikki Koskinen, the debut of “Manala” (netherworld) is a representation of that deep cultural rediscovery through the lens of music. An original musical project, Manala is built upon a thematic framework featuring works by Rent Romus and composer musician Heikki “Mike” Koskinen. Their combined compositional approach explores music inspired by the ancient stories of the Arctic diaspora of their collective Finnish culture and ancestry. Using elements of pentameter rhythmic layers intertwined with melodic themes and complex angular improvisational components, Manala works to create a story representing the interpretation of a deep spiritual sense inspired by Finnish runo poems from one of the most translated books in human history known as the Kalevala as well as the folklore and music of the Finno-Ugric cultural chain.

Manala or Tuonela is the metaphysical netherworld in the Finnish Kalevala or Jabmeaivo in Sami traditions. It is a place opposite of the land of the living, a destination for the soul after this life, a place of reflection that contains answers to mysteries of the universe for the Noaidde or Noita (shaman) in Fino-Ugric cultures. It can be very dangerous for a living person to journey there, and only the most experienced shaman may successfully emerge from its dark waters richer in knowledge and song for the experience.

Support Organizations:
Venue sponsorship is provided by The Finnish Heritage Society a mutual benefit corporation presenting programs supporting Finnish and Finnish American community events for the San Francisco Bay Area community.

The appearance of the Rent Romus' Life's Blood Ensemble is made possible through the Grants for Cultural Projects Program, which is administered by Finlandia Foundation National.

Manala is made possible in part by Suomi-Seura-ry Grants for Foreign Societies awarded by the Ministry of Education and Culture

Cost: $10 stu/$15 sen/$20 gen
Audio samples in which musicians at this event play:
Videos featuring musicians playing at this event
The Otherworld Cycle is the culmination of over fourteen years of research of the Finno-Ugric traditions and music. The Cycle consists of a series of new compositions and improvisations inspired by the poems of the Finnish National Epic known as the Kalavela, as well as Karelian regional folk songs, and Sami Joik song elements of the native peoples of the north. The Other World thematic abstractly reference the Uralic “Body of Memory” embedded in Romus’ musical psyche refracted through the multi-faceted lens of improvisation and postmodern jazz. Ron Heglin•Voice Heikki Koskinen•Recorder, E-trumpet, Kantele, poetry reading Bob Marsh•Voice Suki O'Kane•Percussion Joshua Marshall•Tenor Saxophone Bill Noertker•Bass Timothy Orr•Drums Mark Pino•Percussion Mika Pontecorvo•Flutes Rent Romus•Alto Saxophone, Kantele, Flutes, Bells Shanna Sordahl•Cello Film by Charles Smith, Recorded live at Gold Lion Arts January 18th 2015 Sacramento, California All compositions
From left, Heikki "Mike" Koskinen digital trumpet, Tane Kannisto saxophone, Teppo Hauta-aho double bass, Ville Rauhala double bass, Rent Romus saxophone and Simo Laihonen drums at Telakka, Tampere, Finland 31.5.2017.