Saturday, June 11, 2016

Kalle Kalima 13 Questions

Photo Kazimierz Ździebło

Guitarist and composer Kalle Kalima (b. 1973 in Helsinki, Finland) began his journey into sound with piano lessons at the age of six. Five years later he switched over to the guitar and has never looked back.

  He studied at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki and at the Hanns Eisler Conservatory in Berlin under the guidance of Raoul Björkenheim and John Schröder to name a few. After taking up residence in Berlin, Kalima has experienced a revelation in his attitude towards free music.

Kalle has worked with trompeters Tomasz Stanko and Leo Wadada Smith, sax players Juhani Aaltonen, Anthony Braxton, bass players Sirone, Teppo Hauta-Aho and Greg Cohen, guitarist Marc Ducret, composer Simon Stockhausen, pianist Jason Moran, drummers Jim Black and Tony Allen and singer Linda Sharrock. He has also played with Jimi Tenor, Finnish underground pop star and Jazzanova. Kalima has composed music for NDR Big Band, Umo Big Band and Jousia Ensemble.

His trio Klima Kalima counted with Oliver Steidle, drums (Der Rote Bereich) and Oliver Potratz on bass. The band released their 1st album ”Helsinki on my mind” in 2004 by ZYX Music. The album ”Chasing Yellow” came out  in 2007 and the new album ”Finn Noir”  came out in January 2013 at Enja records. The Band won ”Neuer Deutscher Jazzpreis” in 2008. The band Johnny La Marama (with Chris Dahlgren, bs, and Eric Schaefer, drs) is an exciting mix of rock and groove influences and free improvising. The band calls their music ”Avant-Garage Jazz”.

Kalima is also leading Kalle Kalima with K-18, another adventure with Teppo Hauta-Aho, bs, Mikko Innanen, sax and Veli Kujala, 1/4 tone accordion. Kalimas first solo album ”Iris in Trance” came out 2009 at La Lune Records. Here he plays guitar through electronics into 5 amps surrounding the audience. In the group Kuu he shared space with Christian Lillinger, Jelena Kuljic and Frank Möbus. His latest album is High Noon (ACT Music) with Greg Cohen (bs) and Max Andrzejewski (drs). The Group tours under the name Kalle Kalima´s Long Winding Road. He is also member of A Novel of Anomaly with Andreas Schaerer, Lucas Niggli and Luciano Biondini.

How's your musical routine practice?

After breakfast I start with improvising freely for some time. No goal, just flow. After that I go through my routine technique practise. I start with warm up: first right hand, different rhytmic combinations, strumming, single strings. Then left hand finger exercises. From there into several series of exersices with different rhytmic, melodic and harmonic aspects. practising improvising from different points of view. repertoire. extended techniques-alternative tunings. then it is afternoon and the kids come from the school.

What's the relevance of technique in music, in your opinion?

Technique is the ability to realise your musical ideas.

Klima Kalima

Why do you need music? Can we live without music?

I haven´t tried yet living without music although sometimes on a holiday I don´t listen too much. It would be an exiting experiment trying to stop listening and making music. I am sure I would miss it. I heard that in Afganistan during the Taleban regime music  and dance were forbidden. I heard about musicians in Afganistan who had to find another work during this period. Even these days it isn´t always safe for them to perform music there. Maybe I would have really hard time without music. But maybe something else would come up, something that I haven´t experienced yet. I could get into writing. Yes, we can live without music.

Tell me one impossible project do you like to realize?

I am interested in concepts of sound in more than 3 dimensions. Or concepts of sounds outside human range of hearing. I can´t quite imagine how that would be but it must be exciting. Like birds that have receptors for infra red light it would be exciting to hear and play sounds that humans can´t hear yet. Maybe in the far future we will manipulate our hearing organs and expand in some other areas.

Kalle Kalima with K-18

Depict the sound you're still looking for, or the sound you'd like to hear.

That sound is like a little tower of air, so compact that you can almost see it before you.

Which is the main pleasure of the strings? What are their main limitation?

You can bend and scratch strings but the sustain is limited. I want more sustain without loud feedback which keeps on damaging my hearing. Still nothing compares to loud electric guitar feeding back.

Can you describe a sound experience that you believe contributed to your becoming a musician?

Listening to the b-side of the Beatles´ Abbey Road album on cassette given by a friend when I was about 12. I wanted to play lead guitar like George Harrison.

What do you recall about your playing learning process?

I am slow but consistant. I would be frustrated of not learning as fast as some colleagues. But I would never give up trying.

Tell me one musical work which has provoked a change in your music.

Mahavishnu Orchestra: Birds of Fire. First time hearing abstract music which wasn´t the normal clishee of what you would expect.

Where are your roots? What are your secret influences? 

The feeling of steering a sailing boat on a good day with enough of wind is amazing. The boat, the see, the wind and the helmsman become one. That is how I want to make music. The audience is the wind you sail on. You take each wave as it comes.

What quality do you most empatize with in a musician?


Which living or dead artist would you like to collaborate with?

Miles Davis.


What projects are you working on now and what does the future hold?

I am writing an orchestral piece and I am working on my solo program. The future holds concert dates with my trio The Long Winding Road and with a new band with Andreas Schaerer, Lucas Niggli and Luciano Biondini.

Selected Discography



2015 Kronthaler The Living Loving Maid 

Shoebill Music

2006 Bica Klammer Kalima A Chama do Sol
Sunny Moon


2006 Soi Koiperhonen

2004 Momentum Impakto Hyvä Bändi Livenä 

2003  Soi Pehmea

2003 Johnny La Marama 
Meta Records

2000 Momentum Impakto Haw Haw

2000 Kalima Trio with Marc Ducret Hippycone

2000 Nuijamiehet
Fiasko Records