Tag Archives: Finnish music

Solju’s album Odda Áigodat Wins Canadian International Indigenous Release 2019

Solju – Odda Áigodat

Odda Áigodat (Bafe’s Factory, 2018) by Solju is the winner of the The Indigenous Music Awards (IMA) – the Best International Indigenous Release 2019. The award was given by Manito Ahbee Festival May 17th, 2019.

Solju includes Ulla Pirttijärvi and Hildá Länsman, who were the first Sámi artists nominated for the awards.

The Manito Ahbee Festival celebrates Indigenous arts, culture, and music in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. The 14th annual festival will be held May 15-19, 2019 and feature the Indigenous Music Awards, Manito Ahbee Pow Wow, Indigenous Music Conference, Indigenous Marketplace and Trade Show, Getting Jiggy With It, Art Challenge, and Youth Education Day.


Artist Profiles: Solju


Solju is a Finnish group led by Ulla Pirttijärvi-Länsman and her daughter Hilda Länsman. They are Sámi musicians from Utsjoki, Lapland, which is the northernmost municipality in Finland.

Ulla and Hilda bring together their heritage of northern Sámi language and traditional chant, known as yoik, with a desire for new and innovative music, providing a dialogue of traditional and modern Sámi culture.


Solju’s debut album “Odda Áigodat” (New Times) was released in April 2018. In May 2019, Ođđa Áigodat won an award in Canada, The Indigenous Music Awards (IMA) – Best International Indigenous Release 2019.

Hildá Länsman is also a member of Finnish duo VILDÁ, featuring accordionist Viivi Maria Saarenkylä.


Odda Áigodat (Bafe’s Factory, 2018)


Artist Profiles: VILDÁ


VILDÁ is a Finnish duo that performs a unique mix of mystical joiks and sounds of the Sami people together with vibrant accordion. VILDÁ includes Hildá Länsman on vocals, joik, frame drum; and
Viivi Maria Saarenkylä on accordion and backing vocals.

When Hildá and Viivi listened to each other’s music for the first time, they came up with the idea of combining traditional yoik and accordion.

Hildá Länsman is a rising yoik singer from Utsjoki who has performed at the New Music Competition and at the Helsinki Music House’s great concert arena. She won the Risteys (Crossroads) award for her vocals at Finland’s first Ethno Gala in 2017.


Viivi Maria Saarenkylä is an internationally acclaimed accordion player. She was declared accordionist of the Year in Finland in 2018.

Arctic fells, frosty winds, wide waters and deep forests. That is our home – the North. For us it is the birthplace of our attitude as well as many memories, a source of inspiration, stories and tradition, a vast play ground full of endless trails to travel. “


Vildaluodda / Wildprint (Bafe’s Factory, 2019)


Tsuumi Sound System To Release Blinking Light

Tsuumi Sound System

Finnish world music band Tsuumi Sound System is set to release its new album Blinking Light on December 25, 2018.

Blinking Light is the band’s fourth album. Tsuumi Sound System combines Finnish folk traditions with classical music, jazz, Balkan and Celtic influences.

Earlier recordings include Floating Letter, Hotas, and Growing Up.


Sans Tops the September 2018 Transglobal World Music Chart

Kulku, the album by Sans, a collaboration between Finnish and British musicians, is the number 1 album this month on the Transglobal World Music Chart.

2. Vigüela – A Tiempo Real – ARC Music
3. Bixiga 70 – Quebra Cabeça – Glitterbeat
4. Gaye Su Akyol – İstikrarlı Hayal Hakikattir – Glitterbeat
5. Bokanté + Metropole Orkest – What Heat – Real World
6. Minyeshu – Daa Dee – ARC Music
7. Damily – Valimbilo – Les Disques Bongo Joe
8. Baul Meets Saz – Namaz – Seyir Muzik
9. Dur-Dur Band – Dur-Dur of Somalia: Volume 1, Volume 2 & Previously Unreleased Tracks – Analog Africa
10. Doctor Nativo – Guatemaya – Stonetree

11. Afro Celt Sound System – Flight – ECC Records
12. Ammar 808 – Maghreb United – Glitterbeat
13. Cimbalom Brothers – Testvériség / Brotherhood – Fonó Budai Zeneház
14. Grupo Mono Blanco – ¡Fandango! Sones Jarochos de Veracruz – Smithsonian Folkways
15. Lemma – Lemma – Buda Musique
16. Stella Chiweshe – Kasahwa: Early Singles – Glitterbeat
17. Dawda Jobarteh – I Met Her by the River – Sterns Music
18. Tautumeitas – Tautumeitas – CPL-Music
19. Moonlight Benjamin – Siltane – Ma Case
20. Danças Ocultas – Dentro desse Mar – Danças Ocultas

More about the chart: www.transglobalwmc.com


Elegant and Fascinating Kulku

SANS – Kulku (Cloud Valley Music, 2018)

If I had to guess you didn’t wake up this morning thinking about how your life was lacking some lovely Finnish singing. Likewise, you probably didn’t wonder why there wasn’t more kantele, the traditional Finnish and Karelian zither, in your daily routine, or how to incorporate a Scottish Gaelic song or Spanish dulzaina into the mix or how an Armenian duduk would mesh into the whole lot. I’ll bet that none of those things crossed your mind. But that’s where music, that fantastical audio magic carpet ride, wraps up all those needs into a neat, tidy package and in this case the first studio recording from SANS entitled Kulku set for release on September 1st on the Cloud Valley Music label.

First appearing together on the CD The Unbroken Surface of Snow, and later live as a quartet at the 2011 Kaustinen festival in Finland, vocalist and kantele player Sanna Kurki-Suonio, multi-instrumentalist and zither player Andrew Cronshaw, multi-instrumentalist reed player Ian Blake and Armenian duduk master Tigran Aleksanyan released their first live recording in 2014 entitled SANS Live.

For Kulku, the group holed up in a converted oak barn along with Ms. Kurki-Suonio’s vocalist and kantele player daughter Erika Hammarberg and Scottish musician, composer and leader of La Banda Europa Jim Sutherland to serve as the Kulku’s producer, and to provide the occasional handclaps, play the barn floor and provide the needed ting (not making this up, it’s in the liner notes).

Kulku is treasure trove of delights. Interspersing tight, neat vocals of the group into expanses of more crystalline vocals wrapped in zither and clarinet, opening track “Pursi – The Rowing Song” transports listeners to a musical landscape that’s exotically thrilling.

Equally delicious is “Tuudittele Tuuli – Cradle, O Wind,” a duduk and clarinet laced lullaby. “Rauta – Iron” utilizes melody from a Spanish dulzaina with Finnish lyrics to conjure up a masterful track that comes across as fresh while tugging at ancient traditions.

Instrumental “The Edge of Autumn/Hayreniki Karot” is the epitome of elegance with the shimmer of zither and the lazy swirl of duduk. Fans get a dose of quirky with the catchy romp “Kulkija – The Walking Song.”

Additionally there is the vocally extravagant “Astele Oro – Step Careful, Stallion,” the delicate grace of the traditional Scots Gaelic tune of “The Recollection of That Day: O Chiadain An Lo/Lusabatz Ararati Vra” framed by lines of Mr. Aleksanyan’s duduk and the achingly lovely “Kazvatti – Four Sorrows” with traditional Karelian lyrics.

Kulku closes with the lush and fascinating “Kaik Mia Ilot Unohin – I Forgot All Joy, Stopped Singing the Songs” composed by trio Mr. Aleksanyan, Mr. Blake and Mr. Cronshaw with song melody by Ms. Kurki-Suonio.

While you might have gotten up not have known you needed a little Finnish singing in your life or that the kantele has the ability to float you in the air or firmly root you to the music of the earth or that duduk lines could float above a music composition like a soaring bird, there’s Kulku to take to a place you didn’t even know you wanted to go.

The album is available from andrewcronshaw.bandcamp.com


Briliant Accordion Work by Matti Kallio

Matti Kallio – Waltz for Better Times (Matti Kallio, 2018)

Waltz for Better Times is the first solo album from accordionist, composer, arranger and music producer Matti Kallio. It’s a set of delightful contemporary instrumental pieces inspired by Finnish folk music.

Matti Kallio is a superb instrumentalist who extracts a wide-range of expressions from the accordion, from dazzling speed to delicate slow tempo performances. Throughout the album he’s joined by equally talented musicians on various string instruments who contribute finely crafted solos and interplay with the accordion.

The last track on the album features one of the finest accordion players from Finland, Maria Kalaniemi who engages with Matti Kallio in an exciting dual accordion interaction.

The lineup includes Matti Kallio on accordion; Petri Hakala on mandolin, guitar, and mandocello; Hannu Rantanen on double bass. Special guest: Maria Kalaniemi on accordion.


Get Waltz for Better Times from badcamp


Inventive Sami Music from the European Tundra

Solju – Odda Áigodat (Bafe’s Factory, 2018)

Solju is an innovative Sami music project led Ulla Pirttijärvi and her daughter Hildá Länsman. The two women have developed a captivating mix of northern Sámi traditions with contemporary, cutting edge music. Solju uses the Sami traditional chant called yoik.

The arrangements feature delightful contemporary classical strings, delightful synth layers, electronic beats, shamanic drums, a wide-range of acoustic percussion and innovative instruments like the hang drum and throat singing.

The lineup on Odda Áigodat includes Hildá Länsman on vocals, yoik; Ulla Pirttijärvi on vocals, yoik; Teho Majamäki on percussion; Janne Puurtinen on keyboards. Guests featured: Czech National Symphony Orchestra strings, Paavo Lötjönen on cello, Mikko Neuvonen on throat singing and Janne Puurtinen on synth bass and synthesizer.

Odda Áigodat is a mesmerizing, groundbreaking album rooted in Sami traditions.

Buy Odda Áigodat


Artist Profiles: Wimme


Wimme Saari, better known as Wimme, was born in 1959 in Kelottijärvi, Enontekiö. Wimme is a modern interpreter of the Sami yoik, combining colorful grittiness of traditional yoiking elements with original improvisations. In the last few decades yoik in general has undergone some changes; in fact Wimme’s yoiking could be called free yoik. In his yoik, he constructs intense, clear melodic arches and stretches his voice from a sweet falsetto to a grave baritone. But the old yoik is still there: Wimme has recaptured the essence of the ancient yoik, and even the clever voice technique of the animal yoiks.

My yoiking has some elements of the old style yoiking, such as the voice technique and the throat technique. I can also do some traditional yoiks, but accompaniment doesn’t quite suit them. When I yoik and the boys play I have to do something new. Colors and patterns are emerging in my mind I have to let them guide me. In my home area people say that I have created a new style. Young people, of course, like it most, but even people in their 50s have come to me to thank me.”

The art of yoiking has traditionally been transferred through generations of oral tradition, but Wimme learned the tradition in a more modern way. “I started working at the Finnish Broadcasting Company in ’86. There I found some tapes including tapes of my uncle’s yoiking. With the help of those tapes I learned some of the old tradition. Although my mother comes from an old yoiking family, the direct connection from one generation to another had already been broken. Due to religious fundamentalism there was no yoiking at home. In border areas like ours, where there are a lot of people other than Sami folks, yoiking has had a tendency to vanish, but in Sami areas like Kautokeino, naturally it has been able to survive better.”

In addition to his solo work, Wimme has contributed his unique voice to albums by artists like Hector Zazou (Songs from the Cold Seas), Hedningarna (Trä and Hippjokk), Nits, RinneRadio and the BMG-released compilation Finnish-Ambient Techno Chant. Wimme Saari also collaborated in Italian composer Aldo Brizzi’s international project Endless Trails.


Wimme (1995)
Gierran (1997)
Cugu (2000)
Bárru (2003)
Gapmu – Instinct (2003)
Mun (2009)


Artist Profiles: Piirpauke

Piirpauke in the 1980s

Piirpauke, led by Sakari Kukko, has been a pioneer of world music for many years. Sakari Kukko is a visionary, world traveler and multi-instrumentalist from Finland. When he formed the first line-up of Piirpauke he was immediately awarded with a hit. Since that first success with a poignant Karelian folk tune, Sakari has guided his ever-improving line-ups on musical journeys through the Balkans, Turkey, Africa, Latin America and points in between.

Since attaining accolades as one Finland’s top jazz saxophone players in the early seventies, Sakari has steadily added to his array of flutes and woodwinds on his world travels – and he’s also an accomplished keyboardist. The countries he has roamed for exotic musical inspiration are too numerous to mention, but he has resided both in Colombia and Spain.

While taking a temporary leave of absence from Piirpauke and playing with an another international line-up in Spain a few years ago, Sakari was enthralled by the rare beauty of Andalusian vocalist Cinta Hermo. She was spirited to Finland just in time to be featured on some tracks of Piirpauke’s Algazara album and with her soulful voice blending perfectly with the eclectic melodies, it was decided that she should become a permanent addition. With Cinta’s vocals as another focal point, Piirpauke added new dimensions to its many-faceted forms of instrumental fusion. A notable but natural change also occurred in Spanish having become the band’s main language both in song and in communication between the current members, as the fiery Senegalese percussionist and singer Ismaila Sane, who joined Piirpauke in 1989, had been living in Spain long enough to become a Spanish citizen and Sakari speaks it fluently, of course.

After the release of the 1991 album Tuku Tuku, Piirpauke operated as a trio consisting of Sakari, Cinta and Ismaila with occasional guest appearances from people like Turkish percussionist Okay Temiz. They felt that the trio format gave all of them a lot of possibilities to showcase their amazing talents and virtuosity.

In 1994 Piirpauke celebrated the band’s 20th Anniversary with a major tour that also featured old members Hasse Walli on guitar and Antti Hytti on bass. In January 1995 Piirpauke was the first Finnish band ever to play a MIDEM concert in Cannes, France. This led to a licensing deal with Spanish label Horus for a compilation CD called Cinta Hermo y Piirpauke: “Arbole”, which was released in Spain in May 1995.

In 2003 Piirpauke featured Sakari Kukko on sax, Ismaila Sane on percussion, Ville Herrala on bass and Joonas Ahonen on piano. A new album, Laulu Laineilla was released on January 2003.

Piirpauke 30th Anniversary album Ikiliikkuja – Perpetuum Mobile, a compilation of past years, was released on October 2004. The band’s 30th Anniversary concert was hold on 8th October at Savoy-Theater Helsinki and was a big success.


Piirpauke (Love Records, 1975)
Piirpauke 2 (Love Records, 1976)
Piirpauke Live (Love Records, 1978)
Yö Kyöpelinvuorella (Ponsi, 1980)
Birgi Bühtüi (Kerberos, 1981)
Kirkastus (Kerberos, 1981)
Live in Europe (Kerberos, 1983)
Ilahu Illalla (Kerberos, 1984)
The Wild East (Jaro Medien, 1986)
Algazara (Jaro Medien, 1987)
Zerenade (Jaro Medien, 1989)
Tuku Tuku (Jaro Medien, 1991)
Terra Nova (Rockadillo Records, 1993)
Metamorphosis Live 1977-1995 (Rockadillo Records, 1995)
Ave Maria (Rockadillo Records, 1996)
Laula sinäkin (Rockadillo Records, 1998)
Kalevala Spirit (Rockadillo Records, 2000)
Sillat (Rockadillo Records, 2002)
Laulu laineilla (Rockadillo Records, 2003)
Kalabalik (2006)
Koli (Rockadillo Records, 2010)
Ilo (Rockadillo Records, 2012)