Cos Music (cosmusic) wrote,
Cos Music

Varttina on US tour (Boston next Friday)

Finland's most popular folk band, Värttinä, is on tour in the USA:
    Jan 13: Chicago, IL - Old Town School
    Jan 14: Minneapolis, Minn. - Cedar Cultural Center
    Jan 16: Washington, DC - Finnish Embassy (Private concert, invitation only)
    Jan 17: Alexandria, VA -Birchmere
    Jan 18: Philadelphia, PA - Kimmel Center
    Jan 19: Somerville, MA - Somerville Theatre
This is one of the two Finnish bands whose music I fell in love with at WBRS in the early 90s that helped start my fascination with Finland (the other was Ottopasuuna). When estheruth and I visited eirias in Finland, we met Värttinä's manager, who runs a wonderful music record store in Helsinki, but I've still never actually seen them perform.

I don't know how to describe Finnish folk music, or Värttinä's sound in particular, except to say "staccato female harmonies", so here are some clips:If you're like me, listing a band's instrumentation is a good way to convey what they might be like: 5 female vocals, accordion, fiddle/kantele/..., drums/percussion, guitar/bazouki/..., bass/double bass, misc winds & brass... they change composition from album to album, so I'm not sure who'se on this tour, but they're usually ten or more people. About a year ago, they released an album on Peter Gabriel's Real World Records label, which I haven't heard yet.

Värttinä started with songs based on the Kalevala, the Finnish national epic poem. Elias Lönnrot wrote the Kalevala in the early 19th century after years of collecting folklore around Finland and primarily Karelia (the Finnish heartland which now lies mostly in Russia). He wrote an epic extrapolating backward from the folktales he collected, a proposed source myth they could all have come from. His work inspired JRR Tolkien, who saw himself doing the same thing with British myths in The Lord of the Rings. Värttinä wrote music for the theater musical of The Lord of the Rings.

I'm going to get tickets soon for the Somerville Theatre show next Friday. Bostonians, wanna come?
Tags: alexandria va, birchmere, chicago, davissquare, finnish, minneapolis, nordic, philadelphia, somerville theatre, varttina, washington dc

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