Teija Niku (Finnland) — Subtle grooves from the woods of Finland
Finn Teija Niku has been onstage since she was seven.
Today, she’s a professional musician with a master degree from the renowned Sibelius Academy. Teija plays diatonic and chromatic accordion. She has specialized in Nordic and Balkan folk music, but she also plays tango and musette and composes her own music.
Beside her several released albums (e.g. with the “Polka Chicks” and “Karuna”), she is featured with her accordion in the computer game “Angry Birds”.
She has been all across Europe and the US, at home in Finland you can often hear and see her on radio and TV. Teija loves the accordion’s diversity and the combination of different sounds with other instruments, although she relishes the freedom of solo play.
David Yengibarian (Armenien) — Tango avant-garde from the Caucasus
David Yengibarian comes from an Armenian family of musicians and instrument makers. His childhood was filled with music, beginning with the accordion accompanied folk songs and lullabies his mother used to sing.
David studied accordion in Yerevan/Armenia and Hungary. His passion for jazz and Argentinian tango can be heard in his own compositions, though remaining faithful to his roots – the Armenian folk music.
He tours Europe-wide as soloist and together with his David Yengibarian-Trio. David also writes music for theatre and film.
Niamh Ní Charra (Irland) — Exquisite virtuosity with heart and charm
Niamh Ní Charra comes from the South-West of Ireland. She began to make music as a four-year-old, influenced by the rich tradition of her region Kerry. She plays concertina and violin and the awards she has won are innumerable (e.g. “Top Solo Performer 2011” and “Female Musician of the Year 2012 and 2014”).
Niamh has been Riverdance’s first fiddle-player for many years, and toured with The Chieftains and Carlos Nuñez. She gives master classes for violin and concertina and is worldwide on tour with her own Niamh Ní Charra-Band when she’s not playing for some presidents or the Royal family.
Thilo Plaesser (Germany) — Bajan not true to type
Thilo Plaesser is a very multi-faceted musician. He has devoted himself especially to improvisation. His versatility ranges from experimental improvisation to modern forms right up to Gregorian music. Thilo studied piano, organ and orchestra conducting in Düsseldorf and Vienna.
On his search for new musical challenges, he discovered the chromatic free-bass accordion for himself, the Bajan. It is to this expressive instrument that he dedicates all his attention now.
His music originates in his devotion, curiosity and improvisation and is in a constant state of flux. Fado, tango, blues, Oriental and Celtic music intrigue him as well as Jonny Cash and contemporary classical music.
Servais Haanen (D/NL) — The Master of Fine Sounds
Servais Haanen, that musical maverick mastermind! Not just the organizer of the Akkordeonale, he composes and arranges the festival’s ensemble pieces and guides the audience through the programme. Servais’ introductions to each composition and each musician have already acquired cult status, famous for their wit and wisdom.
For a long time now, he has been working on pushing the boundaries of what his accordion do, integrating elements of New Music, minimalistic structures and other unusual and exceptional sounds. Thanks to his versatile work with bands (i.a. Appellation Contrôlée, Quatro Ventos, KlangWeltenFestival) and his activity as a composer for various productions at music theatres and for film documentaries, Servais brings into play most diverse musical material.
In addition to being a docent for accordion, one of his dearest activities is his ensemble work with exceptional or impossible instrumentation.
“It’s always huge fun for me to invent a new programme every year with musicians from the most diverse countries, to be on tour with such a great gang and to put on such a great concert!”
Sigrún Kristbjörg Jónsdottir (Iceland, trombone and violin)
Icelander Sigrún Kristbjörg Jónsdóttir studied violin and piano at the FÍH/Reykjavík in the department for jazz and rock music. During her studies, she replaced the piano with her great love the trombone. She finished her studies in the World Music Department of Codarts in Rotterdam.
Sigrún played for 18 months in Björk’s Volta world tour and shared stages with famous artists and bands like Gerardo Rosales, Izaline Calister, Zulemax, Messing Brothers, Lilian Vera and many more.
She has already enriched the Akkordeonale once before in 2012.
Elke Rogge (Germany, Hurdy-Gurdy)
Elke Rogge played initially early music and built her first hurdy-gurdy on her own. She took several master classes with Valentin Clastrier in France and played in various ensembles (e.g. “Die Spielleut”).
Together with her band “Hoelderlin Express” she won the German Folk Award in Rudolstadt and toured world-wide with “Dissidenten”, the popes of world music.
Elke is a musician highly in demand for dance, theatre, world music, rock and avant-garde. She weaves a spheric sound tapestry, plays crisp earthy soli and delights with her straightforward groove, which could be heard on the first Akkordeonale in 2009.
Beyond the borders of Germany, Elke Rogge is talked about as an exceptional talent on her instrument.