Saturday 16 December 2017

Stunning violinist sings the praises of Irish music

Ken Sweeney

STUNNING Finnish violinist Linda Lampenius has a big love of all things Irish, she revealed yesterday.

The classical music star is in Dublin tonight for a concert with choral group Anuna and the RTE National Symphony Orchestra.

Three years ago Anuna, who shot to fame with their contribution to Riverdance, and Lampenius hit No 1 in the US World Music Charts with the collaboration 'Celtic Origins'.

This year the classical star, now a judge on the Finnish 'X Factor', drafted in Anuna's founder Michael McGlynn to help mentor her groups on the show.

"He taught (the groups) to sing bigger and better just by repositioning their mouths and correcting their posture. Amazing," Linda said yesterday.

On the subject of her love of Irish music Lampenius said: "Irish music sounds so sad and so deep to me. There is a sincerity about it. In ways it is very similar to the music we play in Finland."

The impetus for Lampenius to perform in Ireland came from a tour she undertook around the US in 2007 with Anuna.

"Their music was so beautiful and evocative and so unlike the schmaltzy Irish music I'd heard in bars in America," she said.

But the child prodigy, who became a soloist for the prestigious Helsinki Strings Orchestra at the age of seven, said her love of Ireland hadn't influenced her playing style.

"I don't try to play in an Irish way. Instead I add my classical touch to the Irish music."

Alongside her music career, the musician has modelled for former tennis player Bjorn Borg's underwear line and made cameo appearances on the US TV series 'Baywatch'.

"I played a Swedish violinist called Ariane. It was worth it to raise the profile of the music. I got so much feedback and emails after that from all around the world," she said of the episode which featured three of her tracks.

A 1998 shoot for 'Playboy' magazine was done for similar reasons.

"The thing that people in Europe don't understand, is that there are different deals you can do with 'Playboy'," she said. "One is that you are a centrefold or Playmate and the other is a celebrity cover, pictorial and editorial. If Hugh Hefner had just asked me to do a spread, I would absolutely have said no."

  • Linda Lampenius performs with the full RTE National Symphony Orchestra and Anuna tonight at the National Concert Hall, Dublin.

Irish Independent

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