Chris Schulz

Chris Schulz is an entertainment feature writer for the New Zealand Herald.

Arts Festival: Kimmo rocks the accordian (+video)

Kimmo Pohjonen is performing as part of the New Zealand International Arts Festival. Photo / Supplied
Kimmo Pohjonen is performing as part of the New Zealand International Arts Festival. Photo / Supplied

With his mowhawk and beard, Kimmo Pohjonen looks like a rock star - but the Finnish artist doesn't play guitar, bass or drums.

He's a master of the accordian.

Pohjonen, due in Wellington soon for two performances as part of the New Zealand International Arts Festival, says he's trying to change attitudes towards his "wimpy" instrument.

"The accordian is a very interesting instrument. It's very narrow-minded how it's used," he told

"I was one of those well-behaved kids who wanted to please his father and play folk music for old people, but after 20 years of playing I really started thinking that I had to find my own personality from the instrument.

"It's been really fun to work with it and fun to surprise people."

The 47-year-old's most ambitious project was Earth Machine Music, which sampled farmyard noises through an accordian and at some shows included a tractor being revved at full volume.

At his first New Zealand appearance, Kimmo will be performing solo - but he promises to create a musical "storm".

"I'm on stage alone but with this project I am working with electronics, sampling and looping myself.

"Sometimes instead of one Kimmo there is 10 of me on stage so sometimes the sound is pretty huge."

And he's hoping to find some inspiration while he's here.

"I always bring my handy recorder and wherever I go I sample sounds and if I find something interesting I use it later or sometimes at the actual concert.

"You'll never know what kind of sounds you'll find."

What: Kimmo
Where: TelstraClear Festival Club, Odlin's Plaza, Wellington
When: March 3 & 4

For more information and to buy tickets, click here.

Watch Kimmo perform live in 2011:

- Herald online

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