Founded in 2003, SVÄNG have clearly set new standards when it comes to concerted music on the harmonica - both in terms of repertoire as well as technique. With a sophisticated yet entertaining program of own compositions these harmonica visionaries convince both audience and professional circles around the globe of the unlimited capabilities of this often undervalued tiny instrument.
In spring 2014 the group is releasing their latest album “KARJA-LA”. The master piece doesn’t only include tunes derived from traditional finnish folk music and balkan rhythms, but also features elements making reference to Sibelius, Merikanto and other national romantic composers.
In general Sväng stretch their repertoire undogmatically wide and invite their audience to an extraordinary journey of sounds: a free-spirited, sensual and vital mix of music, which has been honored with the attribute of the „harmonica equivalent of the Kronos-Quartet.“ Contemporary harmonica music, which is certainly unprecedented in terms of compactness and virtuosity.
The core of their new album is formed by the four pieces „Eksyneen Tango“, „Eeron Ja Nedan Häämarssi“, „Niilon Polska“ and „Naskon Rakija“, that were written during a trip to Bulgaria on the occasion of Eero Turkkas wedding ceremony in Tschhernomorez at the coast of the Black Sea. Each of the pieces narrates little stories that are interpreted with great virtuosity and show the wide stylistic scope of the band that range from finnish folk musik, balkan rhythms to elements making reference to Sibelius, Merikanto and other national romantic composers. The emotional climax of the album marks the song „Kyytiläinen“, that tells the story of Joukos family after the finnish independancy in 1917. Jouko's father's grandfather was a communist member of the Parliament whereas his mother's grandfather was a white farmer. One of the ugly features of the civil war was the so called ”kyyditykset”: a pack of white men would catch people that were known to be red and transport them behind the border of the Soviet Union against their will. By a twist of fate Jouko's mother's grandfather was giving such a ride to his father's grandfather who ended up in a Soviet kolkhoz and later a prison camp where he met his end in a violent way. Two generations later the youth of these families were married to each other.
Three of the group’s members are graduates of the renowned Sibelius Academy, while representing the very opposite of any form of academicism. And with Pasi Leino Sväng have a representative of the famous finnish harmonica orchestra tradition in their circle.
Jouko Kyhälä describes the brilliant quartet's music as follows: “Our background comes from our country’s history. Finland lies between the east and the west. Both the melancholic Russians as well as the cheerful Swedish used to dominate the country. Hence both aspects are present in finnish mentality and music alike. We have a deep passion for minor tonality with all its wistfulness. At the same time we also have a lot of joie de vivre”.
Apart from numerous concerts in Finland, Sväng intensively toured countries such as Germany, Japan, UK, Austria and Italy among others. Moreover, the band excited an audience of millions in front of their TV screens as part of Jools Holland’s legendary New Years Show on BBC2 on 31st of December 2008.