finnish and japanese have a lot of same words and sounds. even the rhythm is similar. both languages share a love for wowels and soft sounds and the prononciation has a certain simplicity and a non-articulative quality. finnish and japanese rhyme good together. when mixed, they create a very peculiar sound world which we could from now on call the “finippongo”. making, listening and learning finippongo asks some imagination because it doesn't always make very much common sense. rather, the language is based on rhythmical play and imitation, repetition and a child-like curiosity. however, most of the songs actually do make sense in some level. some songs have even subjects and clearly understandable sentences either in japanese or in finnish and it very much depends on the listener what will be understood. but on the other hand, one can receive the songs simply on a melodical and rhytmical level. my inspirations for the songs are various. animals like tanuki and the dog. fishes and the sea. feelings of happiness, melancholy and everything between. age and time. and a numerous funny words either in japanese or finnish.

 

in finnish tradition there is a special way to rhyme songs. it consists of repetition and a collection of melodies in which you can fit various rhythmic texts. often the idea is to tell the same thing over and over again but with slightly different words. the meaning of the words is secondary -main thing is that it rhymes! i have the feeling that the same method fits to japanese as well, at least when playing with the onomatopetic expressions. there is also some purely finnish or japanese songs because i feel that atmospherically they fit well together and give some clarity to the mix-language programme.

 

one may also recognize some elements of no and kyogen-theatre in the movement. i have a great respect for the japanese theatre tradition and let's say that it has given me a kind of supporting discipline in the process of putting together the various songs and their characteristics.
it is as if the sound enters the body and continues its way there by creating forms and rhythms. in this performance i have used the movement to create the visual environement and a kind of "bridge" between the diffrent songs.


niko niko maa maa is produced by AIAV (akiyoshidai international art village). i would like to express my thanks to iki iki ladies, mariko-san, rieko-san and the whole staff of the art village, specially machiko-san, sachiko-san, nozomi-san and hiro-san.



in the moomin books the moomin troll once asks the snufkin: "where do the songs come from?" the snufkin answers that the songs and melodies are already in the air. one has only to wait for them to come to you, patiently. sometimes they come quickly, sometimes you have to wait a long time.
i would add to snufkin that almost always the songs come unexpected!



 

maiasa tokidoki
shoo shoo tanuki
atsui! kajui!
kirei na sekai
genki desu
rippa na retki
kantan michi
uchuu, uchuu, kosmo inu
itikka siku siku
iki hippu tippuu
ai ai suru
neru nuku nuku
umi to uki
hara ii heso
umeboshi o ai
kokoro doko desu ka
orora no voimaa antaa