Great Northern Radio Show: Aallotar


This week I’m busy preparing the Great Northern Radio Show, which makes its Season 3 debut this Saturday, Oct. 19 at Crosby-Ironton High School in Crosby, Minnesota. Please, consider joining us for the live show in Crosby (seating before 4:30 p.m., free!) or tuning in on the radio or live online feed (5-7 p.m.).

Throughout the week I’ll tell you a little about the talent we have lined up for this show, starting today with our headline act Aallotar.

If you’ve never heard of Aallotar, there’s a reason for that. It’s a brand new Finnish folk duo that formed just this year. But its members have a tremendous musical pedigree that augurs an exciting night of music. Sara Pajunen is an Iron Range native who sings and plays violin. She’s probably best known from the duo Kaivama, which has toured the Great Lakes states quite a bit. Niku has an esteemed career in Finland with several groups, among them one that has appeared often in the United States, the Polka Chicks. She plays accordion and sings.

Pajunen and Niku explain the name, Aallotar, and the band’s mission this way:

AALLOTAR is a character from Finland’s national epic “Kalevala.” A daughter of the waves, her name has graced the hulls of Finnish ships for centuries – ships that separated the ancestors of Aallotar’s members: Teija Niku and Sara Pajunen. One hundred years ago, their families lived within hours of each other in the western regions of Finland, speaking the same language, playing the same music, eating and drinking the same culture. Then the immigration of hundreds of thousands of Finns from 1870-1930 found Pajunen’s ancestors relocating to Northern Minnesota, while Niku’s family remained in Finland. Now, in the 21st century, they revisit earlier days of Finnish folk music – but with an ocean and a century of musical influence between them.

Aallotar will be playing a concert at the Kaleva Hall (the old Finnish Temperance Hall) in Pajunen’s hometown of Virginia, Minnesota Friday night, for those unable to make the trip to Crosby. I’m excited to have them in the show on Saturday and believe that whether you’re Finnish or not, you’ll find something to love in the remarkable musical abilities of Pajunen and Niku in Aallotar.

Stay tuned this week for more news about the Great Northern Radio Show, broadcasting 5-7 p.m. on Northern Community Radio on Saturday, Oct. 19 from Crosby-Ironton High School.

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