P1170447Nea-Maria Korpelainen, 1991


Words Words Words

As Kalevala, the Finnish epic, states words are mighty. When talking about oneself one might want to choose the words carefully. This is why when calling myself a musician I feel the temptation to call myself by other names as well. 


Studies in mirror

I was introduced to music by two older sisters. Their Cat’s polones and Father Jakob sounded so truly groovy that I also wanted to taste that fruit and applied to the local music school nowadays called Soisalo-opisto at the age of 5 and started studying violin with Eija Kallasaari. 


How ever I remember the mirror in the classroom better than the actual violin lessons. The mirror was definitely there for me to make faces, or so I thought. Twice a week trying to make as an ugly face as I could was my own mission for the first three years or so. Or at least until I became an adult in my mind at the age of eight and was not anymore to lower myself to that level. Besides the face making I was having very inspirational studies in classical music with both individual lessons as well as playing in the youth orchestra Lento. 


All That Jazz

Besides violin I had a great passion towards theatre. Eventually the mirror was just not enough of an audience and I actually did perform as a child actor in some shows in my home town. Boy I had fun! Definitely it was all the glamour, romance, and tears as one could imagine. Just to give you an impression, I was for example playing the sexy role of a tea pot! Needless to say though, my violin teacher was not that enthusiastic of time spent living this exciting, glam theatre life and all that merriment. She was asking me to make some space for some violin practising as well. Obviously she was not a tea drinker, I thought.

After my wild years of youth it was time to be boring and I decided to do only responsible things, such as moving out in the age of 16. With music as my main bread and butter I started studying in Savonlinna senior secondary school. This magical place was taking me to an adventurous trip down to deep mysteries of aesthetics, asking what is art, what is music, what is life? In the night of this picturesque little town I stared its medieval castle in its nightly lighting, fell in love, and composed my first compositions. 


Following my fly

I got bitten by the folk/traditional music fly (Finnish proverb meaning to get an absurd interest towards something absurd) in Savonlinna while continuing my now serious classical music studies and playing in several ensembles and orchestras. Following this star, or fly, I made a pitstop of two years in Joensuu conservatory before entering the folk music department at Sibelius Academy of University of Art, Helsinki. 

Now I was on the top of the world! Surely Helsinki is the center of the whole universe, I thought as coming from the periphery. I was playing in my favourite band Perpetuum Lokomobile making steam punk inspired folk music with traditional roots. I was a member of Folk Big Band and Unissakävelijät. I got to study with people that at the time where feeling like celebreties to me such as Pekko Käppi, Emilia Lajunen, Tero Hyväluoma, and Esko Järvelä. The world is my oyster!

...until it was no more. After graduating as a bachelor from the department of folk music in 2015 I realised that there might be more to this world than Helsinki. Erasmus exchange program was taking care of this sort of brain wash.

Looking for the next navel of the world I got stuck with the idea of moving to Rotterdam. Now there was a hip school of World Music in there - and they had tango! Tango life seemed to be close to all that jazz I got familiar with in the theatre. Tango surely would equal more romance, romance equals tears eventually and all that would make it serious business. Maybe I get to be a tea pot again! 


Tango, that passion

Without a backward glance I travelled to Rotterdam and started studying at the World music department of Codarts as an Erasmus exchange. While tasting the sap of tango music I sniffed the sweaty air of circus department in the student production Life!. They even did heave me up to the ceiling to play some violin - though it didn't end up in the actual show.

Besides being fiddler in the roof I was familiarising myself with tango dancing, dutch language, cheese, and race biking. Probably due to all these activities I decided to extend my stay for a whole masters degree for the years 2016–2018. With the program of This Foolish Heart I graduated from Codarts tango department in 2018 with a master’s degree. Thereafter this show was granted by North Savo Regional Fund with a tour fund and so in September 2018 This Foolish Heart travelled in Finland with six shows.


Two halves 

Since I had left a part of my heart beating in Sibelius Academy and more generally in Finland I decided to return for a short periode to finish my master’s degree at The Sibelius Academy. During 2019 I composed and created my second master’s concert called Ticket to NowHere a show about dreams, confusion, and cats.

I was, and still am, teared in to two since I also have a chunk of my body and soul in the Netherlands. This has thought me the art of living in both countries, hanging in airports, hating the air of an aeroplane, getting relaxed with short notice leaves, and working while commuting.


Currently I am living, writing music, playing violin, and creating some noodle cooking ideas in Rotterdam. I give violin lessons at De Vak in Delft and I have also been working with the Leerorkest Dordrecht. So far I have not been performing as a tea pot again. Besides music and crazy performances I enjoy knitting and crocheting, playing mandolin, baking cakes, and race biking. 


All of me

To conclude, I feel like I would like to say some of those mighty words that would define me and make me easy to be boxed in to categories. Violinist, musician, teacher, artist, composer, performer, human, woman. These are all words which go nicely with what I am and what I do. But take one alone and it does not conceal the truth of me.