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Label & Cat.Number: Anima Arctica AUER-013
Release Year: 2014
Note: new album by the Finnish "ritual folk" duo (with JUHA KETTUNEN from OTAVAN VERET) which bandname translates as "Tar Wedding", especially inspired by the natural environment (trees, animals) and spirt of the ancestors; created with bass, shimmering string harmonics (guitar, banjo and kantele?) and vocals on Finnish, this is deep & melancholic neofolk from the heart.. "the music works with me like a spiritual guide to the Suomi landscape that I’m yet to visit" [Malachy O'Brien / Heathen Harvest]
Price (incl. 19% VAT): €13.00
More Info"Taival continues on the paths and narrow roads through Finnish forests to further explore the rustic and mystical sounds and visions of Tervahäät. Seven tracks of ritualistic folk & neofolk are inspired by rural surroundings, spiritual unity, and a sincere interest in the native land and its entities — trees, animals, and the spirit of the ancestors. The fourth album of Tervahäät brings also some surprisingly warm winds from the icy north-west, but the warmth also carries a slight smell of decaying bones and suspicioulsy friendly whispers from old ghosts." [label info]
"I have spoken to many people about their taste in music. Several of them can pinpoint a defining moment that triggered their now eclectic taste, which has led them along the path of musical freedom. I, personally, keep very limited and musically specific company, but for me it’s a very simple and nostalgic memory.
Have you ever had one of those evenings where you find yourself looking at film after film on YouTube? You go from band-to-band and genre-to-genre, and you stumble across some amazing, bizarre, and down-right amateur videos. That particular nostalgic night, I stumbled across a man playing a Finnish instrument called the ‘kantele’. I was amazed at how simple the instrument looked and yet how sweet the tone is. The first one I heard was a five-string, and the YouTube trail quickly brought me to a ten-string. Before I knew it, I had placed an order for a five-string kantele to be made in the United States. This epiphany of sorts found me entrenched in the culture of Finland, whilst playing its national instrument.
This immersion in Finnish culture—now six years on—has not deteriorated; if anything, it has intensified. From the stories of the Kalevala, Vainamoinen, and the mythical Kantele he constructed from a pike’s jaw-bone, to the vast landscapes full of lakes, forests, and elks, and the pre-Lutheran religious customs and practices that were once the Pagan folklore of the land… It’s quite possibly the polar-opposite, natural elements of my homeland that fuels my fascination.
When my editor told me to ‘light a fire’ underneath the Tervahäät review, I detected a Finnish scent on the name. Further examination of the cover and notes brought about the jubilation and motivation required to get that ‘fire’ going.
Many no doubt know that Finland is renowned for great music. Being a folk metal junkie, there isn’t much that comes out of Finland that I don’t like or haven’t seen live, even here in Australia. Having predominantly covered folk and neofolk to date with the Heathen Harvest Periodical, it was a much-anticipated listen.
The polar opposite landscapes of which I previously spoke are significant. We have huge deserts, dried-up lakes, and a bevy of poisonous reptiles to keep your trekking interesting. I played Taival in my car on a four-hour drive across the plains of South Australia. My research on the band’s name, Tervahäät, loosely translates to ‘Tar Wedding’. Quite auspicious given that my initial listen is being done on the open road! The album’s name, Taival, loosely translates to ‘Journey on foot’. As we say in Australia, ‘bugger that’—there are too many snakes out at this time of year.
The opening song, ‘Kärrinpyörä’, begins with guitar strumming reminiscent to the intro of a Western film scene. The harsh and drawn-out vocals accompany a simple melody being looped in the background. Harsh vocals are usually associated with heavier music but there is elocution with these, which really hold your interest. The surroundings in the early stage of my journey are arid and harsh. Dry farms and wrecked cars are a common sight. The previous suggestion of Western theme has much more credence (to my present situation). The chorus keeps returning and after a while I find myself singing and humming it in a familiar way.
‘Kevätkirot’ begins with a more melodic approach that fins the vocals taking a 180-degree turn wherein Riimu showcases his vocal ability. His voice wouldn’t sound out-of-place belting out Russia’s national anthem or one of Ivan Rebroff’s classics. These haunting tones are hypnotizing. They captivate me to the extent that I needed to know more about the lyrics. Not verbatim, but in Riimu’s words, the song reflects a particular mood: A time in early depression, or that bleakest time in spring and utter loneliness. The outro of the track has a dreamy presence and plays a haunting sound whose origins would point to a wind instrument.
The album isn’t short of effects, and as ‘Tuomiolaulu’ begins, the presence of reverb gives the song an enchanting sound. Again the song is driven by powerful vocals; the music passages are superfluous to them but accompany the style.
Have I mentioned that the album has an occasional Western theme? The use of Banjo on ‘Koulutie’ reaffirms this theory. The previous description of Finland’s landscape casts a rural description which gives credence to my suggested theme. It then dawns on me that this album draws inspiration from the transition of seasons—the personal reflections and mood changes that occur within all beings and in the case of this album, the artists.
The song ‘Taival’—also the album’s namesake—ends the seven-track recording. A synthesizer and eclectic but simple percussive beat accompanies the consistently haunting vocals. I listened to this one a few times over. With each listen I hear a new overtone in the background. Like the recording was being infiltrated by ghosts or spirits from the ancient land or another world. One in particular sounds like a Tuvan throat singer. It adds a mystique that’s hard to quantify in words. It still sends a quiver of eeriness over my body with each listen.
Musically simple, vocally diverse, and lyrically reflective are appropriate word associations for Taival. It’s been a while since I have heard anything like this, and I want to explore this style a lot more. I have myself in recent times been meditating to this record; the music works with me like a spiritual guide to the Suomi landscape that I’m yet to visit. Its place as driving music wasn’t limited to that one encounter. The CD hasn’t left my stacker. The artists are clearly emotionally entrenched in their music. It comes across as from the heart; it comes across with honesty, and it works." [Malachy O'Brien / Heathen Harvest]
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