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Kalevala - Pop-Liisa 7 CD (album) cover




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3.96 | 6 ratings

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4 stars In 1972-74 the Finnish Broadcasting Company (YLE) organized a radio-broadcast series of rock and jazz gigs in Liisankatu studio, Helsinki. For about three years now Svart Records have been releasing these live performances on their Pop-Liisa and Jazz-Liisa series which, especially from the progressive rock's point of view, is definitely worth attention. The vinyl releases have been paired on CD's, since the lengths are averagely around 38 minutes. Kalevala's gig from July 1973 shares the disc with NIMBUS, January 1974 (which I reviewed yesterday).

In this gig Kalevala's line-up -- which never went into a recording studio -- features vocalist Harri Saksala, guitarist and the main composer Matti Kurkinen, bassist Juha Salonen, drummer Alf Forsman and sax/flute player Sakari Kukko who founded PIIRPAUKE a couple of years later. On two tracks he plays also electric piano. Kalevala had released their debut album People No Names (1972; expensive collector's item nowadays) which didn't feature Kukko. Another difference to the album is the language, ie. Finnish instead of English. Originally Harri Saksala had written all lyrics in Finnish, but for People No Names they were translated into English by Mats Huldén (ex-Wigwam bassist).

Two tracks are from the album, tight instrumental jazz-rocker 'Myrskyä pakoon' ('Escape from the Storm') and 'Verkossa' ('In the Net'), the most progressive track in which the vocal parts are rather scarse. The music is energetic jazz-rock à la TASAVALLAN PRESIDENTTI's Lambertland-era, and occasionally also Saksala's vocals resemble Eero Raittinen's. Songs 'Jokaiseen jokaiseen' and 'Antti' are slightly more vocal-oriented and melodic. Kukko's reeds are an excellent addition to the guitar-heavy sound. 'Tuulikannel' -- the poetic title means wind chimes -- is the slowest and most delicate song here, featuring very beautiful flute. 'Tiedon portaat' is also relatively calm, melodic song.

This well played and recorded live set is among the best releases of Kalevala, and its historical value is high, like is the case with most of the sets in the Pop Liisa series. Unless you prefer vinyls, it's warmly recommended to purchase the 74-minute CD when you'll have both Kalevala's and Nimbus' sets. Vintage Finnish prog!

Matti | 4/5 |


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