27 years ago, when most people had never even heard about world music, much less heard it or played it, Sakari Kukku (saxophones, flutes, keybords, percussion, vocals) started to do it with his band Piirpauke. Springing from the solid bottom of jazzy improvisation, rock’n’rolling attitude and the ancient echoes of Finnish folk melodies the band dived into the ocean that is the sum total of whole mankind’s music. In a quarter of a century – time flies, doesn’t it? – the personnel and the musical main ingredients of Piirpauke, have changed many times, but the spirit of exploration had stayed the same.
When asked what it actually is that keeps him interested in this world music thing even after such a long time, Sakari doesn’t have to think for long. “It’s the very same thing that I realized 25 years ago, when I started to research the world’s different musics. It dawned on me in a big way that I was digging at a treasure chest that really has no bottom. I mean, I’ve been digging ever since and there is not the slightest feeling of having exhausted this thing. It’s simply impossible to exhaust it”.
“Working the different traditions and styles from different parts of the world you get there realizations how seemingly disparate things go together. Things just click into place. It really makes you think about oneness of mankind. Often I can’t help feeling that I’ve arrived at sounds, melodies or rhythms that speak to man’s deepest core. Way past all boundaries.”
Roughly ten years ago Piirpauke trimmed down, for practical reasons, to the basic trio of the Finnish Kukko, Andalusian singer/guitarist Cinta Hermo and Senegalese percussionist/singer Ismaila Sane from a sextet of two years, which included jazz drummer Markku Ounaskari, electric bass player Tauno Railo and the legendary guitar virtuoso Jukka Tolonen, whose solo albums made him an international star already tn the 70′s. The latter three are all Finnish musicians.
Piirpauke’s road manager J-P Laatikainen is an excellent drummer – so don’t be surprised if you see him sometimes behind the drum kit or on percussion. Piirpauke, you see, is an animal, whose evolution is still far from finished. “We had a meeting with all the players recently, and the vibes were really good. People could hardly wait to get to play. They kept insisting we have plenty of long rehearsals”, Sakari laughs. “We’re really gonna get down on stage”, he promises. With the caliber of these musicians, it will be something to hear.
“The material that we’re going to do, is divided into three basic categories. Maybe 35% will be history, another 35% will be stuff from the trio and the sextet periods, while the rest will be new material especially written for this personnel, plus Cinta is going to do a couple of solo numbers.”
So get ready for the real world music. There will definitely be no soft-shoe-shuffling around the edges with two-penny machines beats, like you hear on every other commercial there days.
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