Hot Keys and Soul
Accordion virtuoso Minna Weurlander was born in Finland 1973. She started playing at age four and first toured Europe at the age of 15. Now living in Malmö Sweden, she plays all kinds of music, from Bach and contemporary classical music, to Argentinean tango nuevo inspired by accordion master Astor Piazzolla. She has released albums both as a solo artist and with her tango trio Tango Fatale.
"She plays music that lives, bubbles and continuously moves. "She plays so tight and varied her accordion sounds like a full orchestra.The listeners never stop being surprised that a small wind pipe keyboard instrument is capable of so much music. But only when it is played by the right set of hands, like accordionist Minna Weurlanders.
Weurlander was born 1973 in Finland, the country up north where, strangely, tango is a very passionate dance music genre. Finland is also a country where women frequently play the accordion. Minna started playing when she was only four and later discovered Astor Piazzolla, the Argentinean who brought tango to the concert halls.
Piazzolla influenced Minna immensely. She visited Piazzolla`s legendary concert in Stockholm when she was 13. The following year she entered the youth education at Sibelius` Academy in Helsinki and subsequently received her soloist education. In 1997, Weurlander received her Diploma Concerto.
Public interest in Weurlanders talents started early. During her education she toured frequently, winning competitions in Finland and abroad. At 15 she won the accordion World championships.
Now, as a trained musician living in Malmö Sweden, Minna Weurlander is still playing tango. But not the Finnish dance hall tango she was fed as a child. She prefers tango nuevo, the tango introduced by master Piazzolla.
In 1998 she formed a tango trio, Tango Fatale, together with Danish cellist Berit Hessing and pianist Berit Johansen Tange. The trio wished to experiment with tango music inside of the chamber music format. In collaboration with composer Erik Uddunge they are experimenting with quality, contrasts and temperament of the tango. Harmony and beauty, rhythm and melancholy, innovation and passion; all at the same time.
In 2000 Tango Fatale won the Astor Piazzolla Award in Italy and in 2001 the trio released their first album.
As a solo artist Minna Weurlanders repertoire is as varied as it is delicate. She plays all kinds of music: from classics like Bach and Scarlatti to contemporary accordion music and - of course - Piazzolla. She released her first solo album "Usva" in 1999. On the album she presented the accordion as an instrument, in its full potentials.
Weurlander plays Finnish gypsy music, Russian folk songs and art music - and Piazzolla. The album received an award for best album in Swedish newspaper Sydsvenska dagbladet.
Alongside her touring, Minna has been teaching accordion at the Malmö School of Music, conducted further studies in accordion and music as well as worked on the project "Tango for children".
Though tango in many ways is similar to jazz music, Minna claims herself to be too dependant on sheet music. Her goal is to develop more opportunities to improvise. In a performance with choreographer and dancer Anders Christensen in 1999, "A great white dog", she had to improvise on the accordion for 45 minutes - a new improvisation every night.
A tough job, even for a virtuoso.
Author: Annika Salomonsson