Album Reviews

Music You Don't Know You Like Yet

VARTTINA

Miero

2006-01-31

Varttina, Finland’s most successful folk group, started out in 1983 when sisters Mari and Sari Kaasin and their mother Pirkko began to revive traditional Karelian songs and present them in new ways. They were soon joined by 18 other singers and musicians. Over the years the group has experienced many transitions and today only two members of the original group of 21 musicians and singers remain.

The roots-based vocal and instrumental style on Miero (Outcast) is unusual, with alluring and haunting female harmonies. Although most of the songs have an airy, lullaby quality to them, the English translation of the lyrics reveals the terrible circumstances and negative emotions of ‘outcasts’ including despair, poverty, misery, loneliness, rejection, hopelessness, anger and a desire for revenge. For example, "Mataleena" tells of a woman who kills her three babies by fire, water and earth. "The Sin" sounds light and danceable, yet the words include "May death eat them, eat them, death eat up the males." This new CD is released on Peter Gabriel’s Real World label and it’s debut coincides with the North American premiere of Lord of the Rings Musical (in Toronto) featuring music co-composed by Varttina.

Victoria Aka Vudu

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