Voices from Finland

Things Of Beauty


01. Eriskummainen Kantele / My Kantele     3:42    
02. Kultaansa Ikävöivä / There Is My Lover     4:24    
03. Viimesen Kerran / The Very Last Time
    Arranged By – Loituma     3:10    
04. Minuet And Polska
    Translated By, Arranged By – Loituma     7:45    
05. Kun Mun Kultani Tulisi / Missing Him
    Translated By, Arranged By – Hanni-Mari Turunen, Timo Väänänen (2)     5:10    
06. Valamon Kirkonkellot / Valamo Cloister Bells
    Arranged By – Sari Kauranen, Timo Väänänen (2) Translated By – Teppana Janis  5:34    
07. Ai, Ai Taas Sattuu / Oh, Oh, It Hurts Again
    Arranged By – Loituma     3:43    
08. Suo / Marshland
    Arranged By – Sari Kauranen, Timo Väänänen (2) Composed By – Martti Pokela 6:49    
09. Kolme Kaunista / Three Things Of Beauty
    Arranged By – Loituma     4:18    
10. Ievan Polkka / Ieva's Polka

    Arranged By – Loituma Lyrics By, Translated By – Eino Kettunen 2:44


Hanni-Mari Turunen (vocals, kantele, fiddle, alto recorder, double bass, drums);
Sari Kauranen, Anita Lehtola, Timo Väänänen (vocals, kantele).



First released in Finland in a slightly different form, Loituma's Things of Beauty is the initial release from this Finnish quartet. Their specialty is the kantele, a Finnish harp, and they use this both in instrumental pieces and in multi-layered vocal arrangements. The music ranges from the lively interpretations of Finnish folk music to haunting pieces about mysterious marsh land. A light, sweet album that well deserves the attention ...
 ~ Steven McDonald Finnish Trad.Music

The kantele, a mix of harp, hammered dulcimer, and zither, is Finland's national instrument, and Loituma show the range of its possibilities on this album. Ranging from the traditional, like "Leva's Polka" (which was released as a Finnish single and hit the charts), to the modern, the band covers a musical territory that encompasses the atmospheric with Marti Pokela's insidious "Marshaland" and "Three Things of Beauty," whose words are adapted from Kalevala poetry, and bring to mind an acoustic Cocteau Twins. Originally formed by two singers who later moved to Hedningarna, Loituma produce a lovely balance of vocal and instrumental pieces that offer unalloyed joy while introducing American audiences to the light magic that is the kantele. ~ Chris Nickson
You read that Vainamoinen, hero the the Finnish epic "Kalevala" worked great feats of magic and charms by playing the Kantele (Finnish harp) as no other could. You will be a believer when you hear Loituma's "Things of Beauty." I was amazed at the wealth of undiscovered beauty that has been brought forth by Baltic Finnish culture. For example, the exquisite "Kolme Kaunista" 'Three Things of Beauty'. It captures the essence of that surge of joy one feels on a beautiful summer day. "Valamon Kirkonkellot" 'Valamo Cloister Bells' is exceptional in its conveyance of Karelian Orthodox bells. Timo Vaananen delivers a beautiful vocal performance in "Kultaansa Ikavoiva" 'There is My Lover' alongside Sanna-Kurki Sounio's (now of Hedningarna fame) lovely "Eriskumainen Kantele" 'My Kantele.' This album is a gem. ~ weller29
Yes, I am not the only one, Ieva's Polka got me hooked, some time ago... and it's still around...
listen now, if you haven't done it before... You're lucky!

The melody of "Ievan Polkka" is very similar to Savitaipaleen polkka, and in South Karelia the Ievan Polkka is also known as "Savitaipaleen polkka". The melody is also very similar to a folk dance from the area of Smolensk in Western Russia, which is known as Smolenski gusačok ("смоленский гусачок"/"Small Gander in Smolensk").

The melody can be traced back to the Viipuri Province in the 18th century when the border with the Kingdom of Sweden ran west of the province. The number of Russian soldiers stationed in the border area outnumbered the locals for many decades. At the beginning of the 19th century collectors of Finnish folk dances and folk songs all mention that the dances in the area of Luumäki-Savitaipale were Russian dances only and didn't write them down. Locals who are well-versed in folk music agree the melody is very old and likely to have been known back in the early 19th century and therefore probably of even older origin. However, the polka genre is of much later date. Polka was introduced in northern Europe during the late 19th century, which implies that the actual tune as it is known today originates from this era...

Lumberjack band 1952 



beetor said...

This is very beautiful, thank you!

Miguel said...

You're most welcome beetor : )

And thanks for telling!