Yarra Yarra

COMPOSERS: Haarla,Paivinen,Vesala
LABELS: November
ALBUM TITLE: Iro Haarla & Pepa Paivinen
PERFORMER: Iro Haarla (p, harp, zheng), Pepa Paivinen (ss, ts, bs)


Yarra Yarra, another fine new album, has a very different aesthetic, with a title that comes from an Australian aboriginal phrase meaning ‘flowing’. Iro Haarla is the widow of Edward Vesala, the great Finnish drummer and bandleader who died in 1999. Haarla was also his musical collaborator and Paivinen, too, worked with Vesala, who founded this duo, and to whom the album is dedicated.

It was recorded in Finland during the winter of 2000 and the music has an intensely brooding quality and an often compelling eloquence. Five of the pieces are by Vesala, three by Haarla and two by Paivinen, but everything is played rubato, with frequent brief silences and much free improvisation. There is profound passion and melancholy in this music.


The flowing and the pauses give the impression of it being freshly minted and the sonorities of Haarla’s piano and harp, and Paininen’s saxophones assert their humanity.