Serving the San Francisco Bay Area New Music Community

Sat, May 27 2023 8:00 PM

Berkeley Finnsh Hall
1970 Chestnut St. Berkeley
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The Finnish Heritage Society & Outsound co-present Rent Romus' Life's Blood Ensemble performing the complete Itkuja Suite, invocations on lament, a deep and rich exploration of the healing music of Finnish Nordic lament and life affirming elements of jazz.

Crafted by Finnish-American Rent Romus award winning Finnish composer Heikki Koskinen, this full suite will be performed by the Life’s Blood Ensemble as part of the FHS monthly Cultural Performance series at the Berkeley Finnish Hall on Chestnut Street. This weekend of performances celebrate the release of the completed album from Bay area label Edgetone Records.

Performing Artists:
Rent Romus - composition, alto & soprano saxophones, flutes, kantele, bells; Heikki "Mike" Koskinen - composition, tenor recorder, E-trumpet, flutes, kantele; Joshua Marshall - tenor saxophone tenor & soprano saxophones, flute; Erika Oba - flute, piccolo Ann McChesney-Young – accordion; Mark Clifford – vibraphone; ; Safa Shokrai - double bass; Cory Combs - double bass; Max Judelson - cello; Eli Knowles - drums, percussion

About Itkuja Suite: The tradition of song through lament has served as a form of community expression spanning millennia, invoking processes of healing in profound ways. The Finnish word itkuja (eet-koo-yaw) literally means crying, but hidden within this translation embodies deeper undercurrents of meaning. Itkuja surpasses the biopic Western acceptance of polar opposites (i.e. happy/sad, good/bad), drawing a more all-encompassing world view of the definition of existence, loss, and change.

Storytelling has a profound effect on Romus’ musical endeavors. The first of many experimental musical theatrical presentations began in the late 1990s, creating a series of works inspired by Edgar Allen Poe, Philip K Dick, and Frank Herbert. After reading multiple versions of the Finnish National Epic, the Kalevala, he discovered that music based on interpretations of his cultural heritage could serve as a path towards a deeper understanding. While on tour with fellow composer.musician Heikki Kosinen in 2019, he visited the Cultural Center in Joensuu Finland to see the lament exhibit. This experience sparked discussions and further research blossoming new musical ideas based on this oral-tradition.

This project completes the Otherworld Trilogy which includes the 2015 release of the Otheworld Cycle and the 2020 release of Manala on Edgetone Records.

Cover Art: "Something Out of Nothing aka The Magician" by Helena Tiainen

Doors at 7:30 pm Performance at 8:00 pm
Tickets at the door and in advance at Eventbrite:
$20 General, $15 Student/Senior (use FHS10 for a 10% discount)

Cost: $20/15