Small Hall

Contemporary music sessions MA I Tatu Rönkkö I vaccinated, recovered

On 25 September, after a long break, another concert within the contemporary music cycle “Ma” will take place in Ventspils, in the Concert Hall “Latvija”. This time, the Finnish percussion virtuoso and sound artist Tatu Rönkkö will take the stage.

Tatu Rönkkö is considered by many to be one of the most intriguing and unusual percussionists – sound masters – at least among those who are in their thirties and come from the Scandinavian countries. Other listeners recognize him as the main reason why the participants of the Danish band Efterklang, several years ago, took a step in the direction of the dreamy 80’s pop music of the last century, jointly forming a band Liima. Others recall Tatu Rönkkö due to the events ten years ago, as the Finn, born somewhere in Kuopio, appeared out of nowhere, performing improvised concerts in home-kitchens around Berlin and elsewhere. In the project I play your kitchen, the musician used everything and anything at hand in his intense performances. This impromptu idea evolved over time, and in 2018, Tatu Rönkkö released his debut album Spheres which included six standalone pieces of music, produced in incredible detail, using mostly self-made percussion instruments and random everyday objects. The sound hovers between 90’s jungle ambient textures and electro-acoustic endeavors of the artist. “He reminds of a more focused Aphex Twin performing with Konono No. 1 in the Finnish woods,” as characterized by witty listener when talking about Rönkkö.

It is no surprise that the personality of Tatu Rönkkö, his peculiar approach to composition, and the use of percussions in music have intrigued many musicians. Over the years, he has developed artistic collaborations with the pianist Nils Frahm, the aforementioned Danish band Efterklang, the American vocalist David Moss, the Finnish musicians Islaja and Jimi Tenor, Verneri Pohjola, and many others.

Recently, only a few days ago, the second album Dream by Tatu Rönkkö was released. It is a complete opposite of the record Spheres, except for the fact that the musician still, and this time completely, stays true to the use of random objects instead of percussion instruments. Many will be surprised to learn that the records created during several creative tours and in the artist’s residences in Finland and Norway feature sounds produced by a vacuum cleaner tube, metal bowls, bottles, and plastic trash cans, which sometimes resemble a lullaby, but at other moments take the listeners to cinematic and meditative journeys.

Semyon Khanin, the poet, artist, and co-founder of the band Orbīta, will warm up the concert as a guest artist. For his new performance, he has created a special instrument called khaphone. This instrument has been created as an extension of the body when playing percussion instruments, which sounds in the rhythm of the text. The texts find echoes in the disharmonic, yet rhythmic sound of khaphone. The idea of an instrument serving as an extension of the body when playing percussion instruments was born more than ten years ago, contemplating about the plastic nature of poetry. The idea was that the movement in the rhythm of the words expressed directly affects the percussion set by the body. In the “empty” year 2020, the time came to turn this idea into reality. The musician Aleksandrs Aleksandrovs (NIKITO), the stage designer Rūdolfs Bekičs, and the designer Rolands Peterkops (MAREUNROL’S) contributed to the creation of this instrument.

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