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Tarujen Saari - Hepsankeikka CD (album) cover

HEPSANKEIKKA

Tarujen Saari

 

Prog Folk

4.00 | 4 ratings

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Matti
Prog Reviewer
4 stars It was probably in 2003 when I borrowed this album from a library. I knew nothing about the band, and quite a little about Folk Rock in general. So this music made a strong and fresh impression on me - even surprsingly strong, considering that folk music per se has never been among my favourite listenings, and the group sound is very very folky. There are e.g. violin, dulcimer, bouzouki, mandolin, hurdygurdy, jaw harp, recorder and krumhorn. With more experience from the lovely world of Folk Rock I can now refer to bands such as STEELEYE SPAN, FAIRPORT CONVENTION, GRYPHON, MALICORNE and BLACKMORE'S NIGHT to give you some picture. Actually my first association back then, listening to the album-opening title track with a jolly Folk Rock rhythm, was JETHRO TULL (Songs From The Wood / Heavy Horses era), even though Tull were never THIS folky!

By the way, Tarujen Saari - apparently inspired by the key member's surname - would mean The Island of Folk Legends. There's no denying that the sexual undertow culminating in the female vocalist Kaisa Saari (who also posed in band photos in a way that screamed attention to her big breasts...) was an essential part of the impression that the music made. I'm primarily talking about the erotic charge coming from the lyrics in several songs; of course that feature is quite common in [Finnish] folk tradition, probably a universal folk art theme as well. 'Neidon kielto' (Maiden's Refusal) turns out to be the very opposite to the title; the clothes are taken off, and in the end the satisfied maiden begs the loverman to come again sometime. This is a lively fast-tempo song, whereas 'Minulta saisit...' (I Would Give You...) is a minor key slow-tempo song centred around a wailing violin. The charming lyrics about the unfulfilled female desire end up dreaming of "you" entering "under the blankets, under the maiden". Without a doubt Kaisa's vocals express powerfully all the sensuality.

I can't check it now but I presume nearly all of the music on this album is written by the band instead of "Trad.". They have succeeded perfectly to capture the Medieval / Renaissance flavour and to add some rock energy in it without the littlest sense of artificiality. I bet the musicians are well educated in folk music, and that they have listened closely the classic acts of the British Folk Rock movement. 'Elokuu' (August) is a slow and dreamy tune in which especially the recorder weaves a mysterious atmosphere, comparable to FOREST from the early 70's. 'Keijukuningattaren Kirous' is instantly identified as 'Tam Lin', the dramatic fairy tale epic known from FAIRPORT CONVENTION's album Liege & Lief (1969). As much as I admire Sandy Denny, I can sincerely say that this version is much better!

Hepsankeikka is the second album of this amazing - nowadays sadly inactive - band, and represents them at their most charming. The notably darker and more serious follower Levoton Hauta (2002) may be more convincing and more even in quality, as this one includes some less interesting songs too. But if the Finnish language is not a problem, this is a real treat for listeners of Mediaval-inspired Folk Rock and the aforementioned vintage bands.

Matti | 4/5 |

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