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Pekka Streng

Prog Folk

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Pekka Streng Kesämaa album cover
3.41 | 16 ratings | 3 reviews | 19% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 1972

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Mimosaneito (1:16)
2. Kaukana (2:30)
3. ...Ja Tuittu Ruusut Sai (1:00)
4. Perhonen (2:16)
5. Auringon Lapsi (2:20)
6. Kanttorinpoika Max (2:20)
7. Katsele Yössä (2:43)
8. Matkalaulu (4:34)
9. Roope Hattu (2:20)
10. Annabella (1:49)
11. Serenadi (1:04)
12. Puutarhassa (3:26)
13. Mutta Minä Lähden (1:21)

Bonus tracks on 2003 re-mastered CD:
14. Mimosaneito - demo (1:28)
15. Perhonen - demo (0:57)
16. ...Ja Tuittu Ruusut Sai - demo (1:16)
17. Mutta Minä Lähden - demo (3:40)

Total time: 39:23

Line-up / Musicians

- Pekka Streng / vocals, acoustic guitar, maracas, arrangements, co-producer

- Hasse Walli / acoustic guitar (1, 3-5, 12), synth (1,9), arrangements, co-producer
- Tommy Knif / acoustic & electric guitars (8, 9)
- Olli Ahvenlahti / acoustic & electric pianos, organ, harmonium, celesta (1-4, 6, 8-12)
- Jukka Ruohomäki / synth (1, 9)
- Pekka Pöyry / flute (3, 5 ,10)
- Eero Koivistoinen / soprano & sopranino saxophones (5, 7, 8)
- Markku Lievonen / bass, celesta (1-6, 8, 10, 12)
- Ari Valtonen / drums, bongos (1-6, 8, 10, 12)

Releases information

Artwork: Sonja Streng

LP Love Records ‎- LRLP 67 (1972, Finland)
LP Love Records ‎- LRLP 67 (2011, Finland) New cover

CD Love Records ‎- LRCD 67 (2003, Finland) Remastered by Pauli Saastamoinen with 4 bonus tracks

Thanks to Eetu Pellonpää for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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Magneettimiehen KuolemaMagneettimiehen Kuolema
Love Records 2008
$9.99 (used)
Kesaemaa by Pekka StrengKesaemaa by Pekka Streng
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Magneettimiehen Koulema by Pekka StrengMagneettimiehen Koulema by Pekka Streng
$27.07 (used)
Love Records 2008
$11.09 (used)

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PEKKA STRENG Kesämaa ratings distribution

(16 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(19%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(31%)
Good, but non-essential (50%)
Collectors/fans only (0%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

PEKKA STRENG Kesämaa reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Matti
4 stars Though Magneettimiehen kuolema seems to be more famous - due to Tasavallan Presidentti playing on it? -, both of Pekka Streng's albums are very interesting works mixing psychedelic pop and jazz rock. In that sense they are a perfect example of the innovative, fruitful period of the early 70's LOVE RECORDS; the top class jazz instrumentalists grace also this album, such as Pekka Pöyry (fl), Eero Koivistoinen (sax) and Olli Ahvenlahti (keyb). I have the cd containing both albums, but I think this one is more dear to me. Less dark and psychedelic and closer to children's music (I mean GOOD, artistic children's music!). For example 'Mimosaneito' and 'Ja Tuittu ruusut sai' (the latter based on Tove Jansson's text) could be used as lullabies, and 'Auringon lapsi' (The Children of the Sun) shows Streng's close relationship to a child's world. Overall the lyrics are beautifully naiive, romantic and mysterious. Here's a rough translation of 'Serenadi':

"You're a flight of a swallow / you're a cloud up high / you're a warm rain / You're the scent of freedom / you're the key of fairy tales / you're the bridge of dreams".

'Perhonen' (Butterfly) and 'Puutarhassa' (In the Garden) are lively jazzy songs with faster tempo. 'Kanttorinpoika Max' is lyrically the darkest, narrating of an organist's son chained to an organ in the cellar. But it's not too gloomy, not at all out of place amidst lighter and laid- back little tunes. Maybe my favourite song is 'Annabella', a slow-tempoed, romantic little tale of a nightly meeting. It has a lovely flute playing. If this all appeals to your tastes, I warmly recommend to find the cd containing both albums. Only, I don't know how marketable this is to non-Finnish listeners. It would help to print lyric translations because the music and lyrics intertwine in an unseparable way. Rest In Peace, Pekka Streng.

Review by ClemofNazareth
3 stars In my mind at least, the life and music of the late Pekka Streng draws inevitable parallels to that of the late Nick Drake, although admittedly there are important differences in both their personalities and musical styles.

Like Drake, Streng was a post-WWI child who passed at much too early an age; in fact, both were born and died within months of each other. Drake left behind three studio releases to Streng’s two, although there was a compilation of Streng’s unreleased material issued long after his passing. Both were very private individuals who left behind very little beyond their music; neither were public figures that toured much or gave many interviews. Each was essentially a folk singer-songwriter who favored guitar, although both were multi- instrumentalists (Drake was first a piano and clarinet player, and Streng dabbled with synthesizers and various percussive instruments). And both became something of cult figures long after their deaths, achieving influence in their respective countries on generations of young musicians who succeeded them.

Musically the two were quite different though. While Drake would emphatically favor stark acoustic arrangements throughout his short career, Streng was seemingly happy to experiment with electric guitar, brass and other accompaniment, especially on this, his final studio release. Streng seemed to have a wide group of acquaintances to call on for support of this record, while Drake relied almost exclusively on himself and whatever studio support that was effectively forced on him by his producer and mentor, the American Joe Boyd. Streng would succumb to cancer, while Drake’s tragic end was due to a self-inflicted overdose, although to this day no one seems to know for sure whether it was intentional or not.

And on that note, Streng’s music, while as delicate and introspective as Drake’s, does not project the kind of austere world-view or depression that permeated virtually everything Drake ever recorded.

The songs on this album are all quite short, sung in Finnish as far as I know (certainly not English anyway). At times Streng seems to show an interest in experimentation, sometimes with poetic spoken-word passages such as on “Auringon lapsi”; elsewhere with grand and heavy celesta such as on “Kanttorinpoika Max” and several of the early tracks on the album; and sometimes with simple acoustic picking and plaintive vocals as with “Katsele yössä” and “Mutta minä lähden”. Most of the songs are subdued but not necessarily sad; Streng seemed more interested in layering various instrumental sounds for effect than in projecting s barren world view. And at times he manages to blend his unique brand of folk with borderline pop, particularly on “...Ja Tuittu Ruusut Sai” and the almost lounge-like “Puutarhassa”.

I’m told the lyrics are quite deep and poetic, although unfortunately without knowing the language that aspect of his music will be lost on many listeners. But no matter, this is a very pleasant album to listen to even if the various song meanings are unclear. Pekka Streng will be very much an acquired taste for many, but for those interested in the bright, impassioned new generation folk singers of the early seventies this album should be considered essential. I’m tempted to give it a four star rating, but from a progressive viewpoint it doesn’t quite merit that. Three stars seems too low somehow, but that’s the most appropriate rating when Streng’s music is considered in total. Well recommended to students of progressive folk music, and particularly to those of Finnish persuasion as I suspect Pekka Streng was more than a passing influence on the folk-based artists of his homeland who came after.


Review by Guldbamsen
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.

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