Serving the San Francisco Bay Area New Music Community

Artist Rent Romus, Heikki Koskinen, Life's Blood Ensemble
Title Manala
Label Edgetone Records - EDT4212 -
Released On 4/28/2020
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Manala is the metaphysical realm of the Finnish underworld referenced throughout Dr. Elias Lönnrot’s collection of traditional oral songs(runot) published as poetry in the Kalevala. It is both a metaphor and reflection of a world view and cosmic order that inspires an inherent feeling of mystery throughout the texts of this tradition. It is a place where knowledge and song successfully emerge from dark waters to aid in the world of the living.

This is the second iteration in a series which began in 2014 with the Otherworld Cycle (Edgetone Records EDT4161) as a cultural research project into Romus’ Finnish heritage. Manala is a joint musical project built upon a thematic framework featuring compositions by Rent Romus and Heikki Koskinen using elements of Finnish pentameter rhythmic folk music intertwined with melodic themes as well as graphic and improvisational components expressed in American Jazz. In addition to Finnish mythology Romus expanded his research related to lore connected through the Uralic cultural language chain from the Baltic shores of the Livonian Coast the to the Northeast Arctic of Siberia and the Northern Sápmi (Sami).

Rent Romus - alto & soprano saxophones, flutes, kantele, bells
Heikki "Mike" Koskinen - e-trumpet, tenor recorder, kantele
Joshua Marshall - tenor & soprano saxophones, flute
Gabby Fluke-Mogul - violin
Tom Weeks - baritone & alto saxophones
David Samas - voice, han, prepared frame drum, song stones, cocoa pod, bells, waterphone, animal calls, Aztec death whistle, water
Cheryl E. Leonard - Spiny, Baby Driftwood Pipe Organ
Limpet Shell Spine, bowl of sand, stone slabs, clam shells mussel shells, mobiles: (driftwood, obsidian needles, petrified wood, crab claws, shells) feathers, fish vertebrae, Japanese bowl gongs
Mark Clifford - vibraphone
Safa Shokrai - double bass
Max Judelson - double bass
Timothy Orr - drums, percussion