88Nine Radio Milwaukee

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Meet Värttinä; Finnish folk update!

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For fans of Finnish folk music, the music of Finland's premiere folkloric vocal group Värttinä is nothing new. A group so popular in Finland that the only proof need be mentioned is that they've been actively performing for the past 30 years. In 1983, then a small group of pre-teen girls in Rääkkylä, in the Karelia region of Eastern Finland, started by sisters Sari and Mari Kaasinen and their mother Pirkko, began to recite and sing old Karelian traditional poetry and songs, accompanying themselves on kantele, the Finnish national zither-like instrument. What began as a hobby quickly became a mission: to revive forgotten traditional Karelian songs and to present them in new ways.

Over the past three decades that's exactly what they've done. Their group undergoing many shifts and personnel changes has done little to alter the mission however. Värttinä has continued to re-invent the ancient forms and just released a new single, "Lasetus" which I shared at the start of the Sound Travellin day...