Accordion Wrestling

Accordion Wrestling is a sport, theatre, dance, music performance art piece conceived by Kimmo Pohjonen.  The performance, featuring Pohjonen and ten Finnish wrestlers, is a revival of Finnish wrestling tradition from early to mid-1900s where accordion was included as musical accompaniment for wrestling matches. Accordion Wrestling expands the original event into a larger performance piece that also incorporates surround sound, a custom made wrestling mat with microphones imbedded, special lighting, archive video and fotos and narration by wrestlers. Direction and choreography by Ari Numminen, light design by Mikki Kunttu and sound design by Heikki Iso-Ahola. Finnish wrestling group:  Helsinki Nelson. The performance Premiered in Turku in 2010, continued to Helsinki and Tampere and then to Hamburg in February 2011.

… this one might be his finest work, as it achieves a breathtaking combination of (live) music, theater, dance, sports contest, history and multimedia show – and still being so much fun to watch.

…As introduction to the event a tale, just like a story from the Kalevala, is linking the mythical origins of wrestling and the creation of the accordion; and even if you don´t speak Finnish you can follow the narration, as an English translation of the spoken text is projected onto a circular screen. This multimedia aspect remains an integral part of the show, revealing historical facts (through interviews with wrestlers and musicians) – for example that having accordion players at Finnish wrestling events has a long tradition, mainly for the simple reason to mask the sound of the wrestlers´ flatulences…

April 22-25, 2010: Turku, Finland – Konepaja
May 13-16, 2010: Helsinki, Finland – Kaapelitehdas
Aug 19-22, 2010: Tampere, Finland – Teatteri Monttu
Dec 14, 2010: St Petersburg, Russia – Music Hall
Feb 18, 2011:  Hamburg, Germany – Kampnagel, Rantakala Festival
June 6, 2012: Manchester, UK. Royal Northern College of Music
June 8, 2012: London, York Hall
June 18, 2012: Amsterdam, Holland Festival – Stadsschouwburg
June 19, 2012: Amsterdam, Holland Festival – Stadsschouwburg
Aug 3, 2012: NYC, NY- Lincoln Center Out of Doors – Damrosch Park Stage
Aug 4, 2012: NYC, NY- Lincoln Center Out of Doors – Damrosch Park Stage