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Aitara
Varttina
Aitara
Genres: Alternative Rock, Folk, World Music, Pop
 
  •  Track Listings (12) - Disc #1

Sari Kaasinen grew up in Finland's Karelia region, near the Russian border, and her mother taught her the old peasant songs. In 1983, Sari formed a women's choir called Värttinä (Finnish, "spindle") to sing those tunes, bu...  more »

      
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CD Details

All Artists: Varttina
Title: Aitara
Members Wishing: 1
Total Copies: 0
Label: Xenophile Records
Original Release Date: 2/16/1995
Re-Release Date: 2/10/1995
Genres: Alternative Rock, Folk, World Music, Pop
Styles: Indie & Lo-Fi, American Alternative, Europe, Scandinavia
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPC: 048248402620

Synopsis

Amazon.com
Sari Kaasinen grew up in Finland's Karelia region, near the Russian border, and her mother taught her the old peasant songs. In 1983, Sari formed a women's choir called Värttinä (Finnish, "spindle") to sing those tunes, but, after she attended the prestigious Sibelius Academy in Helsinki, she stripped the group down to a female vocal quartet backed by an instrumental folk rock quintet. By speeding up the tempos and giving the lyrics a sassy feminist spin, Värttinä made the ancient songs sound as modern as anything by the Roches or the Blake Babies. Värttinä has made another major leap forward with Aitara, their first album dominated by original compositions, mostly by Kaasinen. Four numbers are old songs with new music and lyrics; the other eight were written from scratch, but all dozen draw on the themes and rhythms of rural Finland. Instead of the stoic fatalism that marks most folk music, however, these songs burst with the energy and high expectations of women who accept no limitations. The English translations in the CD booklet reveal that the songs describe the bawdy young "Katariina" striding through town with her belt missing and women dancing and laughing around the "Yötulet (The Night Fire)." Such insistently catchy numbers as "Tumala" and "Mie Tahon Tanssia" are aggressive proposals to young men. Even without the translations, though, there is such a spark in the singing and in the fiddle-accordion-sax-bass-&-drums accompaniment that the lusty confidence behind the songs is unmistakable. --Geoffrey Himes

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CD Reviews

Lively and stunning!
Brianna Neal | USA | 12/31/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)

"The penetrating, slightly nasal female voices of traditional Finnish folk music join with an intense fusion backup band of guitar, bass, drums, organ, bouzouki, accordion, whistles, kantele, cimbalom and cumbus tanbur to create a uniquely stirring sound. Sometimes in dissonant harmony but often in unison or call-and-response style, the voices of female singers Sari and Mari Kaasinen, Kirsi Kahkonen and Sirpa Reiman stand out, unapologetic in their ethnicity yet blending splendidly with the accompaniments designed around them. The faster-paced numbers like #1, "Katariina", #2, "Tumala", #10, "Yotulet", and #12, Aitara", are particularly distinctive, with the singers' Finnish lyrics fired forth in an unrelenting, rapid staccato. (The lyrics to "Tumala", in which a woman tries to seduce a boy by bragging about her livestock, are also hilarious). "Travuska", is slower, dark and spooky, lamenting the loss of childhood, while the instrumental "Pirsta" sounds more neo-Celtic than neo-Scandinavian with its whistle, accordion and guitar instrumentals (perhaps a nod to the band's Celtic-oriented label, Green Linnet). Varttina's previous release was "Seleniko", also from Green Linnet/Xenophile, while their next is "Kokko" for Nonesuch."
Big change from their earlier CDs
Brianna Neal | 08/11/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This is an excellent CD, completely different from the band's earlier recordings: a bit more 'peppy'. We loved the first few, and we love this CD just as much! The explosive opener 'Katariina' is a great dance song, though the lyrics are terribly hard to understand. When you do get the lyrics, you can never sing them fast enough to keep up with the spritely vocalists!"