Teal Sound Goes To Finland For Music Of Rajaton
Rajaton, a Finnish Contemporary A-Cappella Group based in Helsinki, Finland is the inspiration of this year’s production entitled, Voices of the Sun. The Finnish word Rajaton translates as "boundless" – and that’s precisely the right word to describe the way this vocal ensemble approaches music.
The six-piece a cappella group has performed around the world at concert halls, churches, and jazz festivals, singing everything from spiritual music to pop hits. In fact, it’s hard to imagine an audience that Rajaton could not reach with its music, or a type of music Rajaton could not make its own. Founded in Helsinki in 1997, Rajaton consists of Essi Wuorela (soprano), Virpi Moskari (soprano), Soila Sariola (alto), Jussi Chydenius (bass), Hannu Lepola (tenor), and Ahti Paunu (baritone). All members have vastly different musical backgrounds, ranging from classical to folk, pop, and rock, with a sound reminiscent of another a cappella group that may be very familiar to drum corps audiences, The Singers Unlimited.
"We choose our songs very carefully, whether it’s a question of traditional choral music or contemporary pop. We want to entertain, but there also has to be substance to entertainment. The songs we sing always have to mean something to ourselves", Jussi Chydenius explains.
Just this past week, brass arranger and caption head Ron Ellis along with Director, Randy Blackburn left the DCI Winter meetings in Atlanta, GA early to fly to Helsinki, Finland to meet with this amazing group and discuss this year’s program with them. “The intent of our program is to bring Rajaton’s music to a different idiom beside the choral world,” stated Blackburn. “They have such fantastic melodies and harmony that are perfectly structured for drum corps that we want to introduce them and their unique style of music to our audiences this year.” Rajaton members Jussi and Virpi, along with Managing Director of Plastinka Records, Mr. Kim Kussi and Rajaton’s General Manager, Mrs. Tiina Vihtkari met on Monday to discuss the show and listen to the arrangements done by Ellis. After hearing the music played by a drum corps for the first time, they were totally amazed at the sheer power and energy their music provided in a different format. Drum corps is an unknown activity in Finland, and while they are familiar with brass bands and military bands, the members of Rajaton have not seen a drum corps show and are still learning how the music, marching, and choreography will blend together as Teal Sound presents “Voices of the Sun.”
Ellis and Blackburn met with the rest of the group on Tuesday at the recording studio and shared with them the story of how their music was selected. Shirts and beanies were traded and a new friendship was begun between the two groups. A listening session followed so that the whole group could hear their music a la “drum corps style.” Rajaton then shared a song called, Pakkanen (Frost) off their new upcoming CD. Ellis said, “There are at least 10 shows in their collection of music! We could utilize this group’s music over the next several years and establish a true identity for this corps as well as capture a whole new audience through the use of Rajaton’s music. The possibilities, sharing of ideas and workings between us are just as their name implies…..Boundless!”
Look for Rajaton’s CD’s to be available at the Teal Sound Souvie booth this summer. For more about the group, log on to www.tealsound.org and follow the link to Repertoire.