Electronic meets folk at the Small World Music Centre

12 May 2023 / by Owen Thompson

Electronic and folk mix tomorrow night at the Small World Music Centre as Iranian Canadian/American composer and sound artist Kimia Koochakzadeh-Yazdi debuts with Toronto based Finnish accordionist Matti Pulkki.

The idea for the show started when Koochakzadeh-Yazdi told Mahmood Schricker, founder of Link Music Lab a Toronto based art collective, that they really wanted to work with an accordionist. Schricker later found Pulkki who agreed to do a collaboration.

Despite being on opposite sides of the continent, this duo partnered up; tey have been collaborating and preparing their blend of folk and electronic music completely online for the last few months. Koochakzadeh-Yazdi and Pulkki will be meeting for the first time in person the week of the show.

“In music it’s really hard to work remotely and collaborate,” says Pulkki. “Of course, there is a lot of technology to assist in collaboration over distance but the most efficient way to work is in person.”

While distance has always been a constant for the two, they both grew up with a love of music.

Koochakzahed-Yazdi started playing classical piano when they were six years old while living in Tehran. When they moved to Vancouver, they transitioned in composing music. Koochkazahed-Yazdi says that being in the music industry is the only thing they ever saw themselves in.

“I have this adage that when I start something I want to go to the end. I think when I was a kid I was still like that,” says Koochakzadeh-Yazdi. “I started music and I wanted to be a musician and I couldn’t see myself doing anything else.”

Much like Koochakzadeh-Yazdi, Pulkki started music at six years old and never stopped. Instead of a piano, Pulkki opted for the traditional Finnish folk instrument: the accordion. He has performed for years and made his solo debut in 2018 at the Helsinki Music Centre. Despite having played for years, he only has a suspicion as to why he picked the accordion.

“In Finland, the accordion is very prominent and is offered everywhere…everyone in Finland has an uncle who can play the accordion,” says Pulkki. “I was so young when I started, I have a small suspicion that I picked it so I could annoy [my] whole family.”

Koochakzadeh-Yazdi and Pulkki perform on May 13 at the Small World Music Centre.

Listen below to hear Koochakzadeh-Yazdi and Pulkki talk about their musical history: