Varttina Miero Review

Released 2006.  

BBC Review

An album of jet black lyrics which, played off against an off-kilter positive energy...

Chris Moss 2003

Foreign languages you don't understand can mystify or mesmerise. Finnish, in Värttinä's jagged female harmonies, does both. The music is equally beguiling. Rippling beneath a veneer of North European folk, replete with fiddle and accordion, is a relentless percussive throb and an insistent summons or curse.

Part of the hex rises from the instruments - the jouhikko (a bowed lyre) and the nyckelharpa (a complex 16-string fiddle, with a drone string and three melody strings) - which make the songs wheel along like enchanted dirges. But the band acknowledges this is an album of jet black lyrics which, played off against an off-kilter positive energy in the arrangements, make for a dark, deeply satisfying sound.

Grounded in an ancient Fino-Ugaric tradition of runo poems and tribal sagas, Värttinä's music opens itself to jazz, rock and pop to give it contemporary appeal. This is a brave and extremely beautiful album. The band is now collaborating with A.R. Rahman on the score of the stage version of Lord of the Rings expect magic and danger.

Creative Commons Licence This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Licence. If you choose to use this review on your site please link back to this page.