Improvising on his accordion, he clucks, shouts and screeches, while looping in audio samples: the result is a sound that is orchestral in its power and range, delivered in a style that is inherently theatrical. Four years ago, he put together a project called Earth Machine Music in which he sampled farm sounds – principally tractors – and weaved them into a concert. Then he worked on a project called Iron Lung, in which performance artist Ville Walo made sculptures out of old accordion bellows while Pohjonen played. Now he is bringing a show to the UK that may even top that for eccentricity: accordion wrestling.
In the show, Pohjonen plays his souped-up, electronic accordion while wrestlers from Helsinki grapple with each other. It is extremely Finnish. How did he get the idea? "Around 15 years ago, I was in the north of Finland and an old accordion player told me he used to play for wrestling matches. I thought it was a joke – but I discovered it was true. It started in the 1920s and was common in the 40s and 50s, when wrestling was the most popular sport in Finland. That was also when accordion players were stars."This is as mad as a box of frogs. I demand that you read the whole thing.
Look at http://www.barbican.org.uk/music/event-detail.asp?ID=12898. It's sold out. My faith in human nature is restored.