By Stevie Connor.
Presenting Courage in Colour, a brave and delicate album of genre-defying instrumentals, recorded in a cow barn on the edge of Helsinki in the space of two short days. Behind this approach is the duo Värivarjo’s passion, celebrating rawness, responding in the moment and taking risks together. In February 2024 they bring this to audiences embarking on an album release and accompanying tour.
The duo of Finnish guitarist/mandolinist Joni Vierre (Kuiper Trio, Julye Blom) and Cornish accordionist/pianist Tommie Black-Roff (TEYR, Ville & Tommie, Farandi) form the band Värivarjo. With their diverse origins in opposite corners of Europe the duo embrace difference and fusion. Their name, which translates as “Colour-Shadow” comes from the large and colourful rainbow parachutes commonly used in group kid games. That feeling of wonder and sensory saturation is the goal. Värivarjo is a musical laboratory in which we test ideas and creative wits – the outcome isn’t always known from the outset, but the journey is what counts.
The debut album Courage in Colour features 10 tracks recorded live at the Kallio-Kuninkala studios. The material, co-written by Värivarjo, is closely interwoven with personal stories and memories. The first single Havaintoja lasipallosta (lit. Observations from a snowglobe) is a pandemic story, telling of a trapped child separated from human connection. The second single Värivarjo was co-composed by the duo, two contrasting takes on the subject of sensory saturation. Other tracks include Anker inspired by the stories of an old merchant fisherman from the Danish island of Fanø, or Piispanrannan valssi dedicated to the remote lakeside summer cottage where the duo assembled much of the material.
The CD also features Finnish-American trumpetist and vocalist Devina Boughton (Celenka, Shameless Shongololo, Kietoutumo) on two tracks: Sofias air where they enrich this powerful melody, and Sorina (lit. babble) which celebrates social gatherings and the beauty found within shades of silence. Värivarjo’s collaboration with Devina emerged from a mutual love of melodic and timbral exploration and a potent musical mix of structure and freedom. Meanwhile backstage they worked with legendary guitarist Jarmo Saari as producer and soundscape artist Mikko Haapoja as engineer. Welsh guitarist and composer Dylan Fowler mixed the album. ‘Courage in Colour’ is released on Sleight of Hand Records and available on CD and all major streaming platforms from 28th February 2024.