Kimmo Pohjonen

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Kimmo Pohjonen
Kimmo solo 3867.jpg
Kimmo Pohjonen, photo by Kalle Björklid
Background information
Born (1964-08-16) August 16, 1964 (age 50)
Genres Alternative accordion
Occupation(s) Musician, composer
Instruments Accordion, voice
Associated acts KTU, Kimmo Pohjonen Kluster, K Cube

Kimmo Pohjonen (born August 16, 1964) is a Finnish accordionist who has revolutionized accordion sounds and performance with his custom-made electrified and modified instrument. Since the mid-nineties he has released numerous albums and toured the world with various projects.



Kimmo Pohjonen's solo show continues to tour regularly. In 2012 Pohjonen took the show to New Zealand, Australia and Singapore.


Kimmo Pohjonen and Samuli Kosminen Kluster meet Kronos Quartet in the Uniko project featuring music composed by Pohjonen and Kosminen, commissioned by Kronos. Concerts in Helsinki, Moscow and Molde Jazz Festival followed by the US premiere of Uniko on October 3,5,6, 2007 at Brooklyn Academy of Music. The Uniko album with Kronos was recorded in 2007 and was released in 2011 by Finnish art music record label Ondine.[1] The Uniko DVD, filmed live at the Helsinki Festival World Premiere in 2004, was released in 2011 by CMajor.

Pohjonen and Kosminen (or Pohjonen and Juuso Hannukainen) also perform Uniko with Finland’s Proton String Quartet and have performed in Helsinki and Estonia, Macau International Arts Festival Köln Philharmonie, Lisbon, Strings of Autumn Festival in Prague and more.

Bright Shadow[edit]

Bright Shadow is the collaboration with Minna Tervamäki, dancer étoile with the Finnish National Ballet. She has performed in all of the important classical ballets’ main roles and has worked with the most interesting contemporary choreographers, such as Ohad Naharin and Mats Ek. She has also appeared in gala concerts and guest performances in Finland and abroad. In addition, she works actively as a choreographer. The Pohjonen and Tervamäki co-operation began on the stage of the Finnish National Opera in 2011 and has evolved conceptually throughout 2012. Bright Shadow reflects the merging of artist's two powerful opposing forces: Pohjonen’s intense and powerful energy with Tervamäki’s sensitivity.

Accordion Wrestling[edit]

Kimmo Pohjonen and Helsinki Nelson wrestling group perform Accordion Wrestling which is a music, sport, dance, theatre, performance art revival of wrestling and accordion tradition from the 1920s-1960s. Accordion Wrestling toured Finland in 2010, Hamburg in 2011 and to UK, Amsterdam and NYC in 2012. Choreographer is Ari Numminen.


KTU (pronounced "K2") is the trio featuring Pohjonen with Texans Pat Mastelotto and Trey Gunn from King Crimson.[2] The second KTU album, entitled Quiver, was released in February 2009 in Europe, Japan and America. It features all new music composed and produced by the trio with three pieces mixed by Porcupine Tree’s Steven Wilson. Since 2004, KTU have performed in Finland, Russia, Norway, Denmark, Estonia, Portugal, Spain, Germany, Austria, Slovenia, Slovakia, USA, Canada, Mexico and Japan. In August 2008, KTU performed at the Creation of Peace Festival in Kazan, Tatarstan (Russia) with Patti Smith, Keith Emerson, Zemfira, Adrian Belew and many more. This was followed by a double bill at B1 Club in Moscow with Adrian Belew Power Trio. The first KTU album 8 Armed Monkey (also featuring sampling genius Samuli Kosminen) was released in 2005.

Kimmo Pohjonen Kluster[edit]

Kimmo Pohjonen Kluster features sampling experts Samuli Kosminen (also known from Icelandic band MuM) or Juuso Hannukainen (known for his work with RinneRadio and more). The Kluster album is released in Europe via Rockadillo and Westpark.

Kimmo Pohjonen & Saana Pohjonen[edit]

Kimmo Pohjonen (accordion, vocals) and daughter Saana Pohjonen (drums, vocals) perform original material in a "back to basics" approach yet with extreme energy and intensity.

K Cube: Pohjonen, Kämäräinen, Kuoppamäki[edit]

K Cube is the trio with drummer Sami Kuoppamäki and guitarist Timo Kämäräinen. They toured Finland in 2010 and will tour Belgium and Netherlands in 2011.

Rautakeuhko / Iron Lung[edit]

Kimmo Pohjonen and performance artist Ville Walo present a music / conceptual performance art piece called Iron Lung consisting of over 100 accordion bellows used in a specially designed stage set. Iron Lung was premiered in Finland in 2009 and continues to Poland in 2011 and again in Finland in May 2011.

Pohjonen / Echampard[edit]

Pohjonen works in the improvisation duo with French drummer, Eric Echampard. Their album Uumen was released by Rockadillo and Westpark and they have performed in Finland, France, Estonia, Norway and Netherlands.

Earth Machine Music[edit]

Pohjonen’s Earth Machine Music project is a live concert program featuring Pohjonen in collaboration on farms with farmers, featuring accordion with live and sampled sounds of farm machines and noises. Earth Machine Music began in Rämsöö, Finland in 2006, toured UK in May 2008 and returned to Finland in August 2008 in the Motor Symphony festival in Rämsöö. Earth Machine Music tours Queensland, Australia in summer 2009.

Other projects[edit]

-Pohjonen and Juuso Hannukainen perform in collaboration with Ukrainian female vocal group DakhaBrakha. Performances include Helsinki Festival, Gogol Festival in Kiev and Nordwind Festival in Berlin.

-Heikki Laitinen and Kimmo Pohjonen collaborate in the project Murder Ballads.

-Improvisational trio Kelavala: Reijo Kela (dance), Heikki Laitinen (voice), Kimmo Pohjonen (accordion).

-In 2014 the Finnish daily newspaper Helsingin Sanomat commissioned a soundtrack for their coverage of the European Parliament elections. Pohjonen composed and performed a variation on Beethoven's Ode to Joy.[3]

Pohjonen has composed music for a Swedish dance performance premiered in October 2006 by choreographer Lisa Torun. Pohjonen also collaborated in Paris in June 2006 with dancers /choreographers Tero Saarinen and Carolyn Carlson. Finnish choreographer Jorma Uotinen directed the Finnish National Opera Ballet performing Pohjonen’s Kielo music at Helsinki‘s National Opera House and again in Netherlands and Australia with local dance companies.

Pohjonen enjoys a high profile UK with performances at The Proms at Royal Albert Hall London, Jazz Festival at the Barbican, Kalmuk and Kluster at Queen Elizabeth Hall and solo in the Purcell Room. Pohjonen has performed at two Meltdown Festivals in London. Pohjonen / Kosminen Kluster at David Bowie’s Meltdown performed one set of Bowie music followed by their own show. At Patti Smith’s Meltdown at Royal Festival Hall 2005, Pohjonen and drummer Sami Kuoppamäki participated in the Songs of Experience concert performing music of Jimi Hendrix. Pohjonen was nominated for BBC Radio 3 World Music Awards in 2002 and again in 2005 for the BBC Radio 3 Planet Award. The Uniko CD was nominated in the Songlines 2012 Music Awards for Best Cross-Cultural Collaboration

Kimmo Pohjonen has received two consecutive five year artist grants from the Finnish state. He was Named “Accordionist of the Year” for 2000 and 2001 in Finnish Jazz magazine Jazz Rytmit and received the Nordic Council Music Award.

Past projects include:

Kalmuk, featuring fifteen piece Tapiola Sinfonietta orchestra plus Samuli Kosminen, a second percussionist, light show and surround sound. Kalmuk premiered in Helsinki 2000 then toured UK in 2002 with a simultaneous DVD release featuring extra video effects and archive film footage.

Animator featured Pohjonen with live computer designs by multi-media artist/designer Marita Liulia and live video mix by Antti Kuivalainen. Successful concerts took place in Helsinki, Vienna, Düsseldorf and in the late 2005 tour of Portugal.

The Manipulator project, 2002, featured Marita Liulia and buto dancer /choreographer Aki Suzuki and was performed in Helsinki, Sweden, Belgium. In Helsinki, the show was six hours of improvised performance on each of three days, total eighteen hours. Folk music groups included the side project Pinnin Pojat with JPP fiddler Arto Järvelä and Sibelius Academy Folk Music Department group Ottopasuuna.

Film music[edit]

Pohjonen has composed and performed music for three films: the British short film ”Flickerman and the Ivory-Skinned Woman”, the Russian full length feature film, ”Majak” and, with Samuli Kosminen, the full length Finnish feature film ”Jade Warrior”. They have also composed music for a Finnish ”new circus theatre” performance, Keskusteluja.


  • 1999 Kielo (Finland: Rockadillo, Japan: P Vine)
  • 2002 Kluster (Finland: Rockadillo, Germany: Westpark)
  • 2002 Kalmuk (Westpark)
  • 2002 Kalmuk DVD Symphony (Lilith)
  • 2004 Iron Lung (Russia: Soyuz) (compilation from Kielo and Kluster)
  • 2005 Kimmo Pohjonen and Eric EchampardUumen (Finland: Rockadillo, Germany: Westpark)
  • 2005 KTU8 Armed Monkey (Finland: Rockadillo, Germany: Westpark, North America: Thirsty Ear, Japan: Besection)
  • 2009 KTUQuiver (Finland and Europe: Rockadillo and Westpark Music, Japan: Disk Union, America: 7dMedia)
  • 2011 Kimmo Pohjonen, Samuli Kosminen and Kronos Quartet - Uniko (Ondine Records)
  • 2011 Kimmo Pohjonen, Samuli Kosminen and Kronos Quartet - Uniko DVD (CMajor)
  • 2012 Heikki Laitinen, Kimmo Pohjonen - Murhaballadeja / Murder Ballads CD (SiBa)

Also appears on[edit]


  1. ^ "CD Reviews: Kronos Quartet, Sara Evans, Sierra Hull, Jersey Demic". New Jersey On-Line. 18 March 2011. Retrieved 8 April 2011. 
  2. ^ Wif Stenger (July 2009). "Bad boy of accordion grows up but keeps attitude intact". thisisFINLAND. Finland Promotion Board. Retrieved 8 April 2011. 
  3. ^ Sirén, Vesa. "Kimmo Pohjosen hämmentävä Beethoven-sovitus soi HS:n vaaliseurantavideoissa", Helsingin Sanomat, Helsinki, 25 April 2014. Retrieved on 10 May 1014.

External links[edit]