Weird things go on in the world. People become obsessed with dancing traffic reporters, rotating snake illusions or band names mashed with Star Wars characters.
Given that, the notion of Finnish accordion wrestling seems downright ordinary.
But in its current incarnation, (drop)kick-started by Kimmo Pohjonen (who has collaborated with the Kronos Quartet, among others), Finnish accordion wrestling is actually pretty extraordinary.
On Oct. 18 at WOMEX, the annual world music exposition taking place in Thessaloniki, Greece, from Oct. 17–21, there's a documentary airing about Pohjonen, called Soundbreaker. Watch the trailer, it'll thrill (and possibly scare) you.
But watch on, because the trailer doesn't fully reveal what a startling combination of sport, dance and theatre Finnish accordion wrestling actually is.
As you can see, the accordionist doesn’t actually wrestle. (You’d have to own a lot of accordions for that to work out.)
And according to Pohjonen’s website, accordion wrestling isn’t some idea he dreamed up out of the blue. It’s actually based on a Finnish tradition dating back a century, where wrestling was accompanied by accordion music.
A review from the website Stalker says, “such a brilliant, moving and entertaining performance is equally difficult to describe and to define.”
True. So watch some more:
Will Finnish accordion wrestling spread beyond the Finns? Looks like it. This summer, it took the U.K., Netherlands, and New York City.
Hypnotic folk dance: mystery music and dance propaganda
Donné Roberts sizzles through Santana, the Eagles
Propermusic feature: Wrestling Kimmo
CBC As It Happens interview with Kimmo Pohjonen
on May 09, 2012