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Pekka Streng - Kesämaa CD (album) cover


Pekka Streng


Prog Folk

3.42 | 12 ratings

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3 stars The Ultimate Picnic Soundtrack

Pekka Streng is somewhat of a cult persona in Finland - a man who only got to experience 26 years of life due to an untimely meeting with cancer. As I understand it, he learned of his illness whilst serving in the military in 1967. Surely such a devastating blow must have carved itself into the very soul of the man, and just by reading some of the lyrics off of his albums, you get the impression of a bright young lad with loads of potential - both as a songwriter but also as a poet. Nobody should be faced with news like that at such an early stage of their life. I think it coloured his views - made him look inwards, upwards, downwards and ultimately made him think about all the stuff we take for granted and view as ordinary casual day to day stuffing. Merely reading one of his songs will hopefully reveal to you that there is far more to the world than just stuffing.

This album is his swansong and quite a stones throw away from his debut. Leaving the sumptuous psychedelic feel of it behind, now focusing on music that backs up the words and the ideas - Kesämaa sounds much more like a full fledged folk rock album - taken directly from a Finnish field with long grasses and a natural open feel to the mix.

The tunes are lead by Pekka's own acoustic guitar playing that is as intimate as it is melodic. A lot of the time he utilises a beautiful picking technique, which I have come to adore immensely. Often accompanied by floating organs and sparsely used percussion(though on occasion we get treated to a drum kit), delivering a heartfelt and sincere expression to the music, - It truly sounds like it was made for you - in that moment. Additionally you'll pick up sudden alternative instrumentations that from time to time pop up in the music - kindly conveyed by mellow reeds, piano, synths or the heavenly celesta. It all sounds very 60s like on account of the slowly moving guitars and his quivering vocals. These wander freely, and really do benefit from being slightly untrained and naive in their delivery. He never sings out of tune though, but the way they come across is like a man simultaneously talking and singing to himself whilst contemplating the secret life of the blue whale. He has this mystical veil pulled over his music - much credited to his voice, - and admittedly because this listener always have had some difficulties with the Finnish lingo. No matter, because this is music, that at the same time as being a singer-song writer's dream concoction - still resonates as something that you can feel, enjoy and perhaps even understand. Music is universal in many ways - and it doesn't take a linguist to tell you about the lethargic and sorrow-filled moments of this album, nor do you need a therapist to explain to you just how much hurt and pain Pekka must have crossed and fought through to have been able to materialise these songs onto an album. Don't worry Pekka - I feel you baby!

People with a taste for Bert Jansch, Roy Harper, Perry Leopold and other beatnik musicians that kept revitalising the 60s - even when they had died out and were but memories - you my dears will love this little outing like a small puppy. 3.5 stars.

Guldbamsen | 3/5 |


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