Finnish-American multi-instrumentalists Sara Pajunen and Jonathan Rundman explore a shared Nordic heritage in their new folk duo called KAIVAMA. Each were born and raised in Finnish-immigrant epicenters not far from the shores of Lake Superior. Pajunen’s hometown of Hibbing, MN and Rundman’s own Ishpeming, MI are famous for vast open-pit iron ore mines, and the band’s name reflects this spirit of excavation. “Kaivama” is a Finnish word stemming from "kaivaa:" to delve or dig.
Sara Pajunen’s skills as a violinist have earned her music degrees from the University of Minnesota and the Helsinki Conservatory in Finland. Jonathan Rundman has toured the US and Europe as a troubadour songwriter, collecting raves from publications such as Paste, Billboard, and the New York Times. These typically unrelated musical pathways intersected when both artists began experiment with the native folk music traditions of their ancestral homeland.
Performing for the first time in Summer 2010, the duo was immediately invited to appear at venues and events including Minneapolis' Sister Cities Celebration and the Walker Art Center. Kaivama were the headlining band for South Dakota's FinnFest, they won the audience favorite award at St. Paul's History Theater "Sample Night Live" show, and they played a series of auditorium concerts in Minnesota's Iron Range. Kaivama violinist Sara Pajunen received a grant from the Finlandia Foundation and traveled to Finland to study and play with master fiddlers across the country. The exciting pace of Kaivama’s first summer in existence is a sign of interest in the unique and rare sound of new Nordic-American folk music.
Kaivama’s music is drawn from the traditional “pelimanni” fiddle-tune repertoire of Western Finland, Nordic hymnody, and the aggressive prog-folk attitude of contemporary Scandinavian roots music. Pajunen’s violin virtuosity and Rundman’s rock solid foundation on guitar, harmonium, or banjo create sound and energy sure to find a home in performance halls, rock clubs, church sanctuaries, and folk festivals from Minneapolis to Helsinki and beyond.
Sara and Jonathan look forward to further national touring as Kaivama in 2011, with dates in California and Michigan already on the calendar. The duo has completed initial tracks for their forthcoming debut album which will be released in Spring 2011.
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