The concert week of the Janakkalan Musiikkipäivät ended with two large concerts. On Friday evening, Guardia Nueva, the tango and popular music orchestra from Kokkola, filled the Turenki sports hall to the brim. And not for nothing, as demonstrated by the fact that Hannu-Ilari Lampila, the music critic for the Helsingin Sanomat newspaper, has named Guardia Nueva the best tango orchestra in Finland.
When Mari Palo’s interpretation of Piazzolla’s wordless Ave Maria prayer drifted through the air, the audience hardly breathed. The next moment it turned into the wild heat of Buenos Aires streets with Libertango from the same composer. The second half really released the unbelievable skills of the soloists and the whole orchestra. The orchestra’s own star soloist, the bandoneón-playing Jonna Pirttijoki, also has a beautiful, dark voice. The orchestra played both Finnish and Argentinian tangos.
Raimo Vertainen hosted the show and conducted the musicians with great skill. He has built Guardia Nueva from fantastically talented professionals.
Guardia Nueva Weaves a New Kind of Tango Spell
Hannu-Ilari Lampila, HELSINGIN SANOMAT
Finland’s best tango orchestra, Guardia Nueva, comes from Kokkola. Founded and lead by Raimo Vertainen, this 11-year-old modern orchestra, with its 16 members, renders the jazzy, surging rhythms and colourful blaze of timbres of the Tango Nuevo created by Astor Piazzolla, and of the tide of tango following it.
The four accordions are a mesmerising beat motor. Two of them are bandoneóns, which the musicians play extremely skilfully, interpreting the original soul of tango music and giving it an authentic Argentine rhythmic fire and emotional charge.
The spectacular arrangements with their imaginative rhythms and chords bring a freshness to the magic of tango, and this enlivens the old-world longing for tango and the image of Finnish emotions described by it.