Collaboration 6 – J-P Piirainen
Here’s our finished song, It Only Takes A Silence, which was written in celebration of all those people who speak out and take action against injustice. Thanks to the creative team who helped bring it to life – J-P Piirainen (guitele, vocals, programming, production), Mikey Owers (brass and backing vocals), Mattie Foulds (production) and Gillian Gamble (artwork).
For those of you who, perhaps, like me, aren’t hugely familiar with traditional Finnish music, it’s worth mentioning that we wrote this piece in the time signature 5/4 which is typical of Finnish runo singing. Also, the chorus melody line and rhythmic patterns have taken inspiration from traditional style, with the beats grouped into 3 and 2, and lots of close intervals between notes.
The lyrics spoken by J-P in the song were gathered from old traditional Finnish texts about silence and being quiet, and are as follows:
Jo mie kaik’ virret unohi
Kaik mie laulut lakkaelin
Hiljaa, hiljaa nuohinainen
Hiljaa, hiljaa hiitelästi
They could be translated as follows:
I’ve forgotten all the hymns
I’ve stopped singing all the songs
Quiet, quiet young woman
Quiet, quiet quietly
Let’s not be bystanders…
#standwithukraine #solidaritywithukraine #refugeeswelcome #peace #notowar #divisioncannotwin
“If we can break the silence
We’ll know that they have seen us
We’ll rise up and do something
When tragedies begin
If we can break the silence
No walls will come between us
United voices gaining traction
Division cannot win”
J-P Piirainen is a talented fingerstyle guitarist and composer from Finland, who I met through Global Music Match. In 2020 he created a hybrid instrument that combines guitar and kantele (a traditional Finnish stringed instrument) into one body – he calls this the GUITELE. In his creative work, as in his instrument, he combines contemporary and traditional material.
I met J-P online to collaborate remotely on Thursday 24th February 2022, the day that Russia began a full scale invasion of Ukraine. The horrors of war and the individual responsibility on all of us to respond to this human tragedy were at the forefront of our minds as we worked together. For each of us, the concept of taking whatever action we can – whether that’s to speak up, personally and politically, when we see injustice, or to help, practically or financially, when we see others in need – became connected to the concept of moving from silence to sound, and we’re working on a song that embodies this concept right now – we will share “It Only Takes A Silence” with you by the end of this month. It’s not much, but it’s what we have to offer – and it’s heartening to see that we are far from alone in articulating our solidarity with Ukraine through sound, art and creativity.
Gillian Gamble, the artist who devised the CONSEQUENCES image, kindly permitted us to use this hopeful image of support for peace in Ukraine for this month’s track.
If you’d like to make a sound or act in solidarity with Ukraine, here are a few links that may be of interest:
@zestinferna teaches MNOHAYA LITA – a well beloved Ukrainian blessing song being taught on Instagram.
If you’re based in the UK, HERE‘s a comprehensive list of ways you can help Ukrainians compiled by the Ukrainian Institute in London: practically, financially and also by emailing your local MP to ask for further sanctions and safe passage for refugees.
If you’re based in Finland, HERE’s the link to Red Cross Finland where you can find ways to help Ukrainians.