Sarah-Jane Summers & Juhani Silvola: The Smoky Smirr o Rain

Traditional and contemporary sounds rub shoulders on the third album from this renowned Scottish/Finnish duo based in Norway. They display a mature sound honed by 10 years of active touring, and cover a wide range of styles.

The album opens with the ancient ballad Dàn Fhraoich accompanied by spacious chords inspired by 1960s modal-jazz and Ethiopian music. It is also Juhani’s debut as a pianist.

The ‘Baroque techno’ feel of Number 81, a 5-bar reel from the 1600s, contrasts with the meditative roll of the title track, whilst Polskat (Rinda- Nickola) is a set of Finnish tunes from the 1700s.

The mid-section of Borrowed Days evokes a chorus of birds sitting in the eye of a storm, whilst Taivaankannen Halki has a wide-open cinematic soundscape.

Telepathic interplay, playful improvisation and timbral explorations are a hallmark of their music, which dances across the whole spectrum of emotions from radiant joy to quiet despair, engaging both the body and the mind of the listener.

A tradition-bearer of the old Highland fiddle style, Sarah-Jane has a master’s degree in Norwegian folk music & improvisation. She has played with many of the top names in folk, pop and experimental music, including Susanna Wallumrød, Highasakite, Quatuor Bozzini and GRIT Orchestra.

Juhani is a sought-after guitarist, a highly respected composer of electro-acoustic contemporary music and a record producer. He plays with, amongst others, Frode Haltli’s Avant Folk, and has released three critically acclaimed solo albums.

The album was recorded and mixed by the renowned jazz pianist Morten Qvenild (Jaga Jazzist, In The Country), and mastered by the equally renowned sound artist Helge Sten. 

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Juhani Silvola