EtnoPojat, The World Mänkeri Orchestra, is more than just a
band. They are, in a very real sense, a community of musicians, with historical ties to
the ancient past and a firm vision of the musical future.
"I like to play in these various bands because all the
music is different!" says Finland's Arto Järvelä of Järvelän Pikkupelimannit (JPP
for short). Well... nice work when you can get it, and Arto is certainly keeping occupied
these days, playing and recording in a half-dozen different folk or folk-oriented groups.
The music of Finland is still one of my major fascinations.
Watching a culture little noticed by the rest of the world bloom with new ideas and
adventures is an exciting thing, and the late 80s and 90s have proved to be a seminal
period for this small Scandinavian population, with both some international stars and some
important if little known composers making their mark on the musical landscape.
Following the success of their debut Mastika (1992), Slobo
Horo finally released the long-awaited second album in October 1994. Esma (Rockadillo
Records ZENCD 2041 / In Germany EXIL 5519) is a natural progression for the band. They
have found more great and seldom heard gypsy songs from the Balkan region and made them
truly their own.
Since the release of Wimme's first album in 1995, Wimme has
become not only the critics' favourite but also the undisputed superstar of Sami music.
Wimme has appeared in concerts all over Europe as well as in the USA, and the reviews have
always been ecstatic. The debut CD "Wimme" is still going strong and new
licensing deals have been signed to new territories like USA and France.
Värttinäs origins go back to 1983 in the village of
Rääkkylä, in Karelia, the southeastern region of Finland, as the project of singers and
kantele players Sari and Mari Kaasinen. The concept was to form a youth group to recite
Karelian poetry, sing and play kantele. Interest and appreciation in the group grew to
such a degree that many more youngsters wanted to join, and they did! The result was a
group of 21 members, playing and singing traditional Karelian folk song. Later, a common
goal emerged: to explore and revive Karelian / Finno-Ugric musical tradition and to
discover new, more exciting ways of arranging and performing.