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Album Review

Twenty years after Värttinä began, there's still plenty of energy in the band, although they've come a long, long way. More mature, they've learned to use finesse over speed, and the themes they tackle here are certainly more adult — romantic betrayal recurs in both "Syyllinen Syli" and "Nahkarouska," although in both instances the woman sends the faithless man packing. The keening voices, once a band trademark, have all but vanished, replaced by more delicate harmonies that suit the material, and the six instrumentalists give them plenty of room — although they're quite capable of making a storm of noise, too. There's a real beauty to songs like "Tuulen Tunto" and "Maahinen Naito," while "Tauti" is edged with the black clouds of foreboding. After their live disc, they seem to be embarking on a new musical chapter, in search of new pastures, and the journey here proves very satisfying indeed. The frantic edge that characterized them for so long has vanished, although their joy in music-making very obviously remains.


Formed: 1983 in Raakkyla, Kaarelia, Finland

Genre: World

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s

One of the most internationally successful acts to emerge from the contemporary Finland music scene, Värttinä revitalized the nation's folk traditions with an aggressive and ultra-modern style that eschewed not only the costumes of their ancestors but also the long-accepted cultural notion that women should sing unaccompanied. A product of the folk music department at Helsinki's Sibelius Academy, Värttinä formed in the early '80s, its 21 original members all previously associated with an area youth...
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Iki, Värttinä
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