Suomineito is a four-mallet vibraphone solo written by Nebojša Jovan Živković. Suomineito in Finnish, in the language of the “Suomi” people (as the Finns calls themselves) means “Finnish girl”. This quiet and melancholic composition was inspired by an original folk song from Finland, called “Heili Karjalasta”. In Suomi, this means “a friend from Karelia”, a region that used to be a part of Finland.
This is a heart wrenching piece and I loved playing it because of the music and the challenge. I got some great tips on the piece from my friend Zac Robinson, who had played it before and had some suggestions on the interpretation and the playing of some sections. It was interesting to play the same ideas again in the piece but in different ways and overall it was a pleasant experience playing it.
I found that playing vibraphone engages me in a different way than other instruments. There is much more to play around with musically, because it has a way to sustain notes and layer chords together. Having all of these options also meant that I had to choose when to use the pedal wisely. It’s also a challenge moving between instruments to end up on vibraphone after playing a completely different piece both in terms of instrument and musicality.
Still, it is a beautiful composition and I would recommend looking up the music of Nebojša Jovan Živković. He is such an extremely versatile composer and performer of percussion music that listening to just one of his pieces is missing out on some wonderful stuff!
Suomineito is my personal reflection on Finland and on one ‘Suomineito’ I met there during one of my concert tours. It should be performed with lot of expression and emotions
Nebojša Jovan Živković