JAN 29 2017: I began Laatikko/Box more than 3 years ago, and its release could not be more timely. Laatikko/Box has brought me to a new place inside of myself, a new 'world,' if you will - and we all - especially those of us in the United States - are experiencing a new world. How will we respond? Assimilate? How will we grow into ourselves?

LAATIKKO/BOX is a 30 minute conceptual sound piece that blends electro-acoustic vocal and violin music with words from Minnesota immigrants, taken both from historical Finnish-American archives, and from interviews conducted with recent immigrants to Minnesota from all over the world. A portrait of change, Laatikko/Box asks us to find commonality rather than duality, to slow down and take in the emotion of leaving one place for another. Especially pertinent to events of 2017, Laatikko/Box celebrates 100 years of Finnish independence and challenges the current political climate by suggesting that not only are all immigrant journeys more similar than different, but that we are all immigrants in one way or another. 

Laatikko/Box began as a commission from the Cedar Cultural Center (Minneapolis) in late 2013. In September 2014, the project toured the Arrowhead Library system in northern Minnesota and attendees' reactions to the archival material were collected for inclusion in the piece. In Nov/Dec 2015, Pajunen presented an updated version in 10 locations around Minnesota with support from the MN State Arts Board. An audio recording of Laatikko/Box, which melds field recordings, interviews with recent immigrants to Minnesota, the reading of Finnish-American archival material, and original music and sound design, was released January 7, 2017.

PERSONAL STATEMENT: Laatikko/Box has been and continues to be an internal and artistic journey for me - the assimilation into new sound, new ways of creation, new ways of feeling home - contemplation of the emotions of change: hope, fear, courage, resilience, surrender. It all began with a question: are my feelings similar to those of the immigrants whose stories I read? And if they are, perhaps there are deeper threads of human emotion running through us all, regardless of time and culture. Can we find and acknowledge those threads? Can we look to commonality rather than difference?

'That was an incredibly beautiful show...and the themes, coinciding with my move from Minneapolis to a place I can't even imagine, really resonated. Both in hopes, mysteries, fears, and a sense of beauty. Thanks for encouraging this sort of experience.'
'This musical and poetic experience became an hour long journey.... You transported me, within a few seconds, through the strength of silence.'
'I found my Laatikko CD in the post office box today and listened to it in the car. It is a very moving piece of art, and I could empathize with the feelings of all the people interviewed.'