Johanna Juhola: Conversations with Everyday Ensemble

Moving image, Music and Sound Art


Through her video series, Johanna Juhola demonstrates her way of observing music or potential musical elements in her everyday surroundings. These sounds have served as an inspiration to the compositions, and soloists in the videos include trams, dancers along with their rustles and thumps, and beeping domestic appliances.

The titles of the videos are Tramsposition, White Noises & Micro Wave + House Band. The video series is part of Juhola’s doctoral degree that she is completing at the Sibelius Academy’s MuTri Doctoral School. Critics have dubbed Johanna Juhola a virtuoso reformer of accordion music, an untamed innovator of tango music as we know it, and even a musical superhero. Johanna shakes up the traditions of the tango and folk music scenes wherever she goes.

Johanna Juhola, music and concept design Teemu Korpipää, sound design Antti Kujanpää, filming and editing Elina Lajunen, directing Valo Virtanen, lighting design (White noises) Alvilda Striim and Eero Vesterinen, dance and choreography (White noises) Kati Hyyppä, animated characters (Micro Wave + House Band) Jyrki Kanto, animation (Tramsposition and Micro Wave + House Band)


“When a tram turns from Porthaninkatu to Viides Linja in the neighbourhood of Kallio, it makes a howling sound that is an established part of the soundscape of downtown Helsinki. This howling often enters through the windows that I keep open in my home and joins me in my practice. This one time, the pitch of the tram matched the harmony of the song that I was practising so perfectly that it almost became a part of the music. After this, it has been almost impossible to listen to the trams without imagining them inside some sort of a musical context. In this Tramsposition video, I try to recreate that atmosphere.”

Micro Wave + House Band

“I got myself a new laundry machine. When I first started using the machine, it took me by a nice surprise with the happy little melody it played when the laundry was done. This music-making laundry machine immediately developed into a living character and a composing buddy in my imagination. When I started creating a composition inspired by this melody, the orchestra included not only the laundry machine and the instrument I play, which is accordion, but also other beeping machines found in my home. Then all the song needed was a choir, and I got that by inviting along the wonderful characters of Creature Party drawn by Kati Hyyppä. This completed the house band. Even before, I’ve enjoyed spending time at home, but the ensemble feels even more topical now at the time of the release of the video than it did when I created it because of coronavirus."

White Noises

“I love watching dance, I admire dancers’ skills, and I’ve been fortunate enough to be able to make music for many dance performances. It’s lovely when movement looks so light and almost contradictory to the laws of physics and when the sounds that would possibly reveal the toughness of dancing are replaced with music. In dance rehearsals, I’ve had the chance to hear the thumps, rustles and grunts close up, and I think they highlight the creation of movement in a beautiful way. It’s as if dancers become their own percussion instrument though the sounds they produce.”