Tractor boy makes sweet music

THE deafening roar of a vintage tractor engine and the incessant buzz of an electrical saw are not necessarily two sounds that you would associate with making beautiful music.

Craig Robinson

THE deafening roar of a vintage tractor engine and the incessant buzz of an electrical saw are not necessarily two sounds that you would associate with making beautiful music.

But the innovative Kimmo Pohjonen has come up with a unique way to unite these unlikeliest of bedfellows.

The 43-year-old, who hails from Finland, records sounds from various agricultural machines, mixes them together and then plays along with them on his accordion.

He now hopes his individual style, which uses surround sound, live-loops and effects, will go down a treat with the people of Suffolk when he performs at this year's Bury St Edmunds Festival.

In preparation for the show he has been touring farms throughout the country in a bid to discover new and interesting sounds that he will then take back to his native Scandinavia, transfer to his home computer and turn into a tuneful symphony.

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As well as these recorded melodies he also hopes to be able to play along live with various farmers and their machines at the festival.

Mr Pohjonen said: “It first started in 2005 when I went to a festival near my neighbourhood which was based on machines and engines.

“One of the guys said to me 'Kimmo you should come and play here' and I thought it was a good idea. At first I didn't think to do it with the machines but the more I thought about it the better it seemed. The next year I was able to create a symphony with the machines that were there.

“My agent asked if I'd like to take it to England and here we are. We've been touring around all week recording various sounds at different farms - vintage tractors or a saw, whatever really. I'll now take them back home and sample them and start to build the music around them.”

The Bury Festival runs from Friday May 9 to Sunday May 25 and features more than 60 events including orchestral concerts, new music, open-air party nights, brass bands, lunchtime jazz and folk, classical ensembles, opera, dance, theatre, films, workshops and walks.

Mr Pohjonen, who will perform on Sunday May 11 at Hall Farm, Nowton, said he hoped audiences would come with an open mind.

“They should come and see before they doubt,” he said. “There are many great sounds. It's going to be very interesting because people think they have heard these machines before but it will be different.”

Nick Wells, director of the Bury Festival, said: “I had a call out of the blue from Kimmo's agent and she told me what he did and I just knew that we had to be part of it. It sounded so extraordinary and unusual that I got back to her straight away and said 'how can we make this work'. There are different speeds and different rhythms and it really is quite interesting.”

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