The Worship Team received an invitation from Vellamo’s leader, Pia Leinonen last fall asking if we might like to have this singing duo participate in a morning assembly. On their eighth visit to US their 9 week “Winter Trails 2019 – Tour” will take them all across the country from Florida to California through 8 states and over 20 concerts, including four Unitarian Universalist churches, beginning with Red River.
Save Sunday, Feb 10th and plan on being delighted by Pia’s voice and Joni’s guitar. As is our custom when having visiting performers, we suspend much of our morning liturgy in order to provide ample time for our guests to share their music. They sent their press release by way of introducing themselves to us:
Vellamo is led by the performing and songwriting team of Pia Leinonen and Joni Tiala. Their music is characterized by haunting melodies, Pia’s ethereal lead vocals and Joni’s virtuosic guitar stylings. In Finnish mythology, Vellamo is the goddess of the sea. Based in Kokkola, on the western coast of Finland, Vellamo combines the rich tradition of Finnish folksong with an appealing “retro” sensibility, creating a modern folk music experience.
Pia Leinonen, originally from the arctic region of Lapland, is Vellamo’s lead singer. Her exquisite voice combines her love and vast knowledge of Finnish folk music with the western singer–songwriter tradition in a unique and beautiful way. Her moving and evocative expression has been compared to other story-centric performer such as Joan Baez and Marlene Dietrich.
Joni Tiala, originally from the Finnish port of Kokkola, began playing guitar at the age of 11. His eclectic musical background includes writing and performing for theater, progressive and alternative rock and Finnish and western folk. In addition to his work in Vellamo, Joni is an accomplished theater and session musician, and is founding member of the renowned Finnish progressive rock band, Moonwagon.
In addition to shows in their homeland, Vellamo spends half of each year touring abroad; their adventures have led them throughout the United States, Europe and New Zeal