Exposé Online banner

Värttinä — Iki
(NorthSide NSD6071, 2003, CD)

by Jon Davis, Published 2003-08-01

Iki Cover artAfter three albums (Kokko, Vihma, and Ilmatar) that featured electronics heavily, including keyboards, samplers, and rhythm loops, Värttinä has elected to revisit a completely acoustic sound. Fans who might worry about the band going mellow and producing a set of ballads needn’t worry, though. These most popular of Finnish folk revitalizers are in fine form, with their instantly recognizable vocal harmonies backed by acoustic bass, acoustic guitar, accordion, fiddle, and a variety of percussion. The CD is bracketed by a pair of unaccompanied vocal excursions (the two parts of “Syyllinen Syli”) that encapsulate everything that makes this band so wonderful: complex, confident harmonies with lots of unexpected intervals and stunning dissonance. The organic compositions (which incorporate some traditional elements) are full of unconventional (to American ears at least) phrasing and surprising resolutions. From the hyper-speed tongue-twister of “Nahkaruoska” to the gentle “Morsian,” singers Susan Aho, Mari Kaasinen and Johanna Virtanen amaze with their dead-on harmonies as well as occasional solo spots. On guitarist Antto Varilo’s “Vihi,” the backup players get their chance to shine with a lively piece rife with the shifting accents and highly coordinated rhythms they provide so well in accompaniment. “Maahinen Neito” emphasizes the similarities between Finnish and Middle Eastern music, and would sound at home in the repertoire of a band from Turkey. Iki would serve admirably as an introduction to Värttinä’s magic, and should please existing fans as well.

Filed under: New releases, Issue 27, 2003 releases

Related artist(s): Värttinä

Latest news

2019-11-07
Glenn Smith RIP – Glenn Smith, founder, mandolinist, and primary composer of the DeLand, Florida based prog / fusion band Magnatar, passed away on October 18th 2019 at the age of 68, after a brief illness.  » Read more

2019-11-04
Dino Brassea RIP – Word reaches us of the passing of Dino Brassea, who sang and played flute in Cast for many years. By our count, Brassea appeared on 11 Cast albums between 1994 and 2002. He also released music as a solo artist. » Read more

2019-10-06
Ginger Baker RIP – Legendary English drummer Ginger Baker has died at the age of 80. After coming to fame with Cream in the 60s alongside Eric Clapton and Jack Bruce, he became one of the most recognized and influential drummers of the rock era. On September 25, his family announced that he was critically ill, and on October 6 his death was confirmed. » Read more

2019-08-20
Alex's Hand Seeks Spa Treatment – American / European band Alex's Hand has a new album in the works called Hungarian Spa, which looks to be their biggest and best yet, featuring a large roster of guest musicians. They're seeking funding to take the project on the road, and are looking for help from the crowd of wisdom. » Read more

2019-06-05
Legendary Co-Founder of The 13th Floor Elevators Passes Away at Age 71 – Sadly, Roky Erickson passed away on May 31, 2019. Known as the father of psychedelic music and co-founder of the ground breaking 13th Floor Elevators, Roky had a profound influence on music from the 60s to today. Plagued by his own personal demons, Roky had a difficult life and is now free of these burdens. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Tokyo Jihen - Sports – Since its founding in 2004, singer Shiina Ringo's band Tokyo Jihen (The Tokyo Incidents) has been a very eclectic and creative entry in the Japanese rock scene. Their latest effort is no exception, a...  (2011) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues