How Many Sisters

Photo: Fleur Wilson

Having attained the distinguished age of 20 years, the vocal trio How Many Sisters (Pirjo Aittomäki, Mervi Hiltunen-Multamäki and Anna-Mari Kähärä) are celebrating with a concert programme entitled Laulan koska laulattaa (I sing because I feel like singing). The core of the programme consists of songs by Anna-Mari Kähärä, one of the Sisters, to lyrics by Finnish and Anglo-American poets. There is material from the Ikävä omia maita (I miss my homeland) production created by Kähärä and pianist/composer Kirmo Lintinen and from the jazz album Thank you for the kiss marking a previous collaboration with the Kirmo Lintinen Trio, and naturally a cappella arrangements too. In all, the programme is a representative cross-section of the broad repertoire of How Many Sisters.

Laulan koska laulattaa is a programme appropriate for any kind of venue, from church or concert hall to art gallery or cowshed, as long as there is a grand piano available. The programme can also be tailored according to the preferences of the concert organizers and/or audiences.

How Many Sisters made their breakthrough as the ‘house band’ of the TV programme Pellit auki (translating roughly as ‘Full steam ahead’) which aired in 1992-1993. Resisting musical pigeon-holing from the first, the trio have sung schlagers and ethnic music and worked with ensembles as varied as big bands and symphony orchestras. Their collaboration with Kirmo Lintinen, beginning in 1994, has proved particularly important. The concert programme Ikävä omia maita, created by Kähärä and Lintinen on a grant from the Georg Malmstén Foundation, was completed in 2004, and How Many Sisters and Lintinen have performed it with symphony orchestras in Oulu, Pori and Joensuu, among other places. At the other end of the scale, the trio also often perform by themselves, a cappella.

How Many Sisters are self-sufficient in terms of repertoire these days, focusing on music written by Kähärä and Lintinen. Their compellingly original and identifiable musical material, couched in rich and stylistically varied arrangements, draws on influences as diverse as folk music, jazz and classical music. The songs are usually settings of poems by classic and contemporary poets in Finnish or English.

Further marking the anniversary, the Ikävä omia maita album recorded with Tapiola Sinfonietta will be released in April 2009.

Listen to How Many Sisters' Thank you for the Kiss