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From SibaRecords, with murder in mind

Murders have always been both frightening and fascinating. For centuries there have been songs about murders, based on fact or fiction. There are songs about murdered servants and emperors, babes in arms and valiant soldiers, lovers and enemies. Sometimes the terror of death is expressed in verses of lamentation, sometimes in adroit rhymes. The songs may have been printed and sold by the thousand, or else been highly personal and committed to memory. There have been songs expressing admiration, but also songs expressing deep hatred. The horrible fascination of murder may lie in its finality. By singing about something the fear may recede a little. I sing, therefore I'm alive.

Heikki Laitinen and Kimmo Pohjonen mull over these eternal questions in Murder Ballads, to be issued by SibaRecords 20th of August. The album was recorded in the Helsinki Music Centre in February 2012, at a Sibafest winter festival concert. Laitinen's songs let you enter the mind of the murderer, or weep at the fate of the victim. Pohjonen's accordion gives an instrumental interpretation of the tales. The Tsar Alexander is murdered, the bad boys of Southern Ostrobothnia run riot with their knives. Holy Katriina is stuffed into a barrel full of spikes, the treacherous Kaarlo drives the innocent Kerttu to suicide, only to meet an even more horrible fate. The  recording has all the immediacy of a live performance: one murder ‘happens' right in the middle of the concert in the Sonore Hall of the Helsinki Music Centre. The singer evokes a special Finnish characteristic: murderers are actually heroes, and even schoolchildren sing in praise of their deeds.

HEIKKI LAITINEN is a Professor of Folk Music, now in his retirement. He first performed murder ballads in public exactly forty years ago. He has been singing these ballads along with Pohjonen for over twenty years.

The accordionist, KIMMO POHJONEN, is one of Finland's best-known musicians. Each of his performances is a unique event. He takes part in solo concerts, projects involving a variety of art-forms, and tours in different parts of the globe. He is noted for his imaginative performances and for new ways of using the accordion, combining multi-channel and electronic sound effects with innovative staging.

Murder Ballads is released by SibaRecords at August 2012.