The BandoneonDecacorde Duo, established in 2002 has been performing actively in concerts both in Finland and abroad. The positively acclaimed debut album of the duo, Kirmari (Mayrecords), was released in 2005. The second album Speira (Alba) was selected a classical music Emma Award nominee 2011 (a prize issued by the Finnish recording industry for the most distinguished artists and productions of the year). The third album Le Meneuse de Tortues d’Or (Mayrecords), was released in 2014.
All albums have received enthusiastic reviews in the press. Kuusisto and Mäntylä are collaborating both with Finnish and foreign composers in order to create new repertoire for their unique ensemble. The broad repertoire of the duo ranges from tango to contemporary music. Since 2002, the duo has performed in Finland at several music festivals, including the Kuhmo Chamber Music Festival and the music festivals of Viitasaari (Time of Music), Kemiö, Oulainen, Hauho, Kokkola (Winter Accordion). The duo has also appeared at festivals in other European countries, in Lebanon and in China as well as performed in numerous concerts and concert series in various parts of France. The duo has appeared on the radio and television in Finland, Russia and France. Duo Dryades has also performed with the Ostrobothnian Chamber Orchestra in the concert where Pekka Jalkanen’s double concerto Aeterna, dedicated for this duo, was given its world premiere. In 2014 duo gave the same concerto with Sinfonietta Lentua.
Two delicate and sensitive instruments, the decacorde and the bandonéon, two poetic virtuoso performers of their instruments, Mari Mäntylä and Kristina Kuusisto offer their listeners a strongly experienced and expressed landscape of music. Their basic classical repertoire is seasoned with the passionate Argentinian tango Nuevo, folk dances of Brittany and modern music. In a moment, the Nordic melancholy gives way to vivid South American rhythms. Yet above all else is the landscape of Finnish soul, melancholic, dreamy, even tragic. The wideness of expression of the bandonéon and the decacorde is astonishing.
Matti Rantanen, Head of the Accordion department in Sibelius Academy, Finland
A bandoneón-décacorde duo is an extremely rare, if not a unique, ensemble. In the hands of Kristina Kuusisto and Mari Mäntylä it proves to be a viable combination.
Jukka Isopuro, Helsingin Sanomat
In its first recording, the Duo Dryades comes close to the aesthetics typical of the ECM New Series. The soulful bandoneón of Kristina Kuusisto and the profoundly sonorous décacorde, the ten-string guitar of Mari Mäntylä create an organic sound that draws shades from tango nuevo, art music and jazz.
Kare Eskola, Rondo magazine
Loc Envel, Duo Dryades enchanted the audience of 150 listeners. In as magical atmosphere as ever in Loc Envel, the Duo Dryades truly ravished the massed audience who had come to listen to the pair of virtuosic masters of the bandoneón and the décacorde. These two Finns, Mari Mäntylä and Kristina Kuusisto, played Argentinean tango, Breton folk music and naturally, Finnish polka.
The listeners were swept away by the magic of the music, while the chapel could not even accommodate all those who were willing to come to the concert.