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Tarujen Saari - Levoton Hauta CD (album) cover

LEVOTON HAUTA

Tarujen Saari

 

Prog Folk

4.05 | 3 ratings

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Matti
Prog Reviewer
4 stars TARUJEN SAARI (= The Island of Folk Tales /Legends) were a Finnish, Medieval & Renaissance era inspired folk rock band active for roughly ten years from the late 90's onwards. Sadly I remain their only PA reviewer; since they sang in Finnish, it's not that surprising they didn't gain the international recognition they musically would have deserved. Their grasp on the [mainly] British and Western European folk tradition and its instruments was as convincing as their well known English references. Their most important influence was however the French band MALICORNE. Not only the diversity of acoustic instrumentation is Tarujen Saari's strength, very essential is also the natural charm of the female vocalist Kaisa Saari (Kaisa Vigman nowadays) whose voice is both strong and sensual.

To me their best album is Hepsankeikka (2000) which was my first acquaintance long ago. This one is the next chapter in their five-album discography. Whereas Hepsankeikka -- the informal word refers to a promiscuous woman -- was a merry and erotically charged album, Levoton Hauta (= Unquiet Grave) is a dark and gloomy work starting right from the cover art. The previous album contained a fantastic Finnish-language version of 'Tam Lin', a spooky old Scottish ballad recorded also by FAIRPORT CONVENTION for their classic album Liege & Lief (1969), and this is the direction the group continued in. Even the track titles are full of murder, death and evil spirits. Yes, we're talking of the so called murder ballads.

Unfortunately I cannot inform about the origins of the songs, from which country each of them are. I presume they originate from various countries, Finland included. The moody and slow-tempo songs such as 'Mullaksi maatumaan' (meaning "dust to dust") are perhaps the most impressive emotionally. The livelier pieces such as 'Rouva Kuolema' (= Madame Death) sound genuinely like Medieval performances with old wind & string instruments. On the oppressively slow 'Koululaismurhaaja' (= School killer) the chorus is sang by three children. This song exceeds nine minutes in length and gets a bit tiring compared to the economic approach on most of the album's eleven tracks (roughly two minutes being a typical length).

Levoton Hauta is an uncompromising album of Medieval folk played with old instruments and dealing with morbid subjects. This one and the more light-hearted Hepsankeikka form a superb pair of albums, still unbeatable in the Finnish folk rock scene, and musically rivalling just about any medievally oriented bands of the genre.

As a side note, the group's founding member Tapio Mattlar recently released an instrumental solo album played with an impressive cast of [mostly old] instruments, and with a peculiar album title: I Would Have Published My Own Music Earlier, But Running a Farm Took So Much Time.

Matti | 4/5 |

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