Global Hit: Svang

The World
The World

Today sounds from a far different place. The music of the harmonica evoke some quintessentially American landscapes. Think Mississippi Delta, for example. But the group we’re listening to right now comes from Finland. Svang is a four man group from Finland.

Each of them is a virtuoso on the harmonica. In fact, group leader Jouko Kyhala wrote his doctoral thesis on the harmonica. He says he founded Svang as a way to take the instrument in new directions.

“The idea of harmonica is so dominated by blues music and maybe 1960s folk with Bob Dylan. But, there are many possibilities to do many kinds of music.”

“The music is fun and we like to play together and we said this is going to be a real band.”

And they take their work seriously. Svang’s music includes elements of Balkan dance, Argentine tango, and American ragtime.

Maybe it’s the combination of all these elements that makes Svang popular in many different countries. This weekend the group is playing in Mexico City.

And later this year, Svang heads to Japan for a series of concerts. Svang has no U.S. tour plans yet. But they do have a new CD out. It’s called “Jarruta.”

That means “hit the brakes” in Finnish. And Svang is doing anything but that.

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