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Wigwam Being album cover
3.88 | 173 ratings | 17 reviews | 34% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 1974

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Proletarian (2:10)
2. Inspired Machine (1:25)
3. Petty-Bourgeois (2:58)
4. Pride of the Biosphere (3:15)
5. Pedagogue (9:11)
6. Crisader (4:47)
7. Planetist (3:08)
8. Maestro Mercy (2:32)
9. Prophet (6:11)
10. Marvelry Skimmer (2:32)

Total Time 38:09

Line-up / Musicians

- Jim Pembroke / vocals, voice, piano (3,10)
- Jukka Gustavson / vocals, piano, organ, Mini-Moog & VCS-3 synths
- Pekka Pohjola / bass, violin, piano (4), Mini-Moog (7)
- Ronnie Österberg / drums, percussion, backing vocals (3)

- Taisto Wesslin / acoustic guitar
- Unto Haapa-aho / bass clarinet
- Paavo Honkanen / clarinet
- Pentti Lasanen / clarinet, flute
- Juhani Aaltonen / solo flute
- Erik Danholm / flute
- Kai Veisterä / flute
- Pentti Lahti / flute
- Seppo Paakkunainen / flute
- Pekka Pöyry / soprano sax, flute
- Ilmari Varila / oboe
- Aale Lingren / oboe
- Juhani Tapaninen / bassoon
- Jukka Ruohomäki / VCS-3 assistance
- Erkki Kurenniemi / VCS-3 assistance

Releases information

Artwork: Jorma Auersalo

LP Love Records ‎- LRLP 92 (1974, Finland)
2xLP Svart Records ‎- SVR290 (2014, Finland) Remastered by Joona Lukala, including both 1974 original mix and 2001 remix

CD Love Records ‎- LRCD 92 (1991, Finland)
CD Love Records ‎- LRCD 92 (2001, Finland) Remastered by Pauli Saastamoinen
CD Esoteric Recordings ‎- ECLEC 2183 (2010, UK) As above

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
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WIGWAM Being ratings distribution

(173 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(34%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(46%)
Good, but non-essential (16%)
Collectors/fans only (3%)
Poor. Only for completionists (1%)

WIGWAM Being reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by loserboy
4 stars "Being" was WIGWAM's 5th album and represents one of the most profound and highly dramatized concept albums mixing religious and political themes in a very strange little album. The trademark of WIGWAM's music was their unique ability to compose music of high progressive quality and complexity while still incorporating strong "pop-rock" aspects. The end result is a wild mix of Steve HACKETT with the complex chording and musical themes not unlike GENTLE GIANT achieved (some pretty musically twisted parts). This album features great and varied instrumentation with great emphasis on keyboards (piano, organ, synths). Essentially"'Being" picks right off where "Fairyport" left off but does deliver a more aggressive and complex album. The Love Records Re-mastered version is quite excellent sounding really and brings this masterpiece album to life with awesome speaker separation and crisp sounds. A magical album that I recognize may take others a few listens to get into but once you have the taste watch out kids !.
Review by Sean Trane
4 stars (fourth of a series of seven)

After a much hailed and fairly successful thematic (not conceptual) Fairyport, Wigwam repeats the formula but also the slight flaws I explained in thr previous album's review. In this album, the alliance of Gustavson and Pohjola is even cleare than on the double Lp before. Why they both left the band at the same time is a mystery to me but their departure will dramatically affect the band's sound.

If you can imagine a full-blown concept album (this one is) made mostly out of jazz-rock , you might have a good idea of what this sounds like but it is only partially convincing but still quite enjoyable. One of the things that hurts this album is probably too much KB (Pembroke even plays somein his tracks), but compensated by a loadful of brass instrument but a good electrical guitar is missing (T P 's Tolonen who had given guitars parts on the previous albums is absent here). Future collaborators are in the background as Pembroke friends Groundstroem (production) and Hulsden (traductions) lurk around. Poyry (of T P ) also lends a hand.

Being is a fine album but slightly over-rated because of the light flaws mentioned above but much recommended anyway.

Review by Eetu Pellonpaa
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Oh dear, I must admit that I see this as a bit overrated album, though it has some good moments in it. The album is technically well done, and it was also following the trends of progressive music of that time quite well. The lyrical idea of political criticisms is good, and the gatefold covers with a big booklet is cool. I guess the fans of early 70's VAN DER GRAAF GENERATOR could like this album, as this also has lots of keyboards and brass horns in it's sound, and the musical themes change in rapid tempo.
Review by Matti
4 stars Vocalist-keyboardist Jukka Gustavsson is probably the main man behind this Finnish prog classic - sadly he left WIGWAM after this one, as did bassist Pekka Pohjola too, but here we have the best moment of the original line-up. One of the most recommendable Finnish albums, no language barricades in it either.

As Jimbo said, Jukka's voice reminds of Steve Winwood's, but the fact is that he was strongly influenced by TRAFFIC/Winwood also musically. This music is more complex than Traffic but there is a hint of similarity. There are Jim Pembroke songs too, though his singing and composing style is at this point closer to Gustavsson's (only simpler) than it was later to be, from the more commercial and poppy Nuclear Nightclub onwards.

Being is also a perfect example of the very fertile music scene of the early 70's in Finland (which pretty much can be summarized as Love Records led by jazz composer Henrik Otto Donner), where the top class jazz musicians played in rock and pop albums and where therefor different genres were in close symbiosis. Not that Wigwam couldn't be classified as jazz-prog anyway, but have a look at the long list of guest players!

Why only 4 stars then? Well, I confess that a little more sharpness instead of word- stretching flowing would improve it. For example 9-minute 'Pedagogue' has somewhere else a short Finnish-language version which is more effective. Also I find most Gustavsson's tracks quite similar in a way that without close concentration it all becomes one 'porridge' and the listener gets easily bored. The most recognizable tracks - not necessarily the best ones - are 'Pride of the Biosphere' (organ and an "old man" telling of a strange event) and 'Maestro Mercy', a simple melacholy ballad. The final track 'Marverly Skimmer' is also one of the most charming Pembroke songs.

Review by kenethlevine
3 stars Something about this album sounds more like 1860s barefoot hippy psych than anything approaching progressive rock from the time period in which it was released. Yet if asked to identify exactly that feature, I am hard pressed for a reasonable answer. It just sounds so....naiive. This is in spite of some wonderful keyboard work by Jukka Gustavson, and an overall jazzy vibe that should make the music more rather than less relevant today. It might be the vocal styles and the manner in which social commentary is made, obtusely yet too directly at the same time. As a concept album or unified work it really doesn't pass muster anymore, but the clean playing of Gustavson, some lively brass, especially on "Planetist", and the fun loving rhythms make this a worthwhile listen on their own merits, which is pretty commendable. 2.5 stars rounded up.
Review by Mellotron Storm
4 stars 4.5 stars. I can't help but think that BEARDFISH were influenced by this great Finnish band. The intelligent lyrics and humour really stand out, as do the absolute complex melodies. This is the same lineup that was on the "Fairyport" album, although it would be bassist Pekka's last one with the band. Incredible to think that Pekka Pohjola was involved in this outstanding album as well as his sophomore release both of which came out the same year (1974). For me this WIGWAM's greatest triumph.Tommy from the "Vintageprog" site says ""Being" is usually considered to be a classic of Finnish progressive rock, and i'll agree on that". This is a concept album that really speaks about life (Being) and how politics and religion become such a huge part of how we live and act.

"Proletarian" opens with organ and piano as vocals come in.This songs sounds so good. It blends into "Inspired Machine" both of which were composed by Gustavson.This one has a similar sound but with a pulsating rhythm. "Petty-Bourgeois" is a Pembroke song that is uptempo with almost whispered but urgent vocals.This is jazzy. The vocals become theatrical at times and I like the vocal arrangements here. The vocals are also quite humerous at times as well recalling Zappa. Great track. "Pride Of The Biosphere" has to be heard to be believed. Again this is a page out of Zappa's book. As organ plays throughout we are told this hilarious and outrageous story. This is so funny ! "Pedagogue" is the longest song at over 9 minutes. Woodwinds and piano lead the way early as bass and drums join in. Vocals before 1 1/2 minutes. Great sound ! Electric piano after 4 minutes is a pleasure. Clarinet 7 minutes in.

"Crisader" is uptempo and piano led. Organ comes in as drums pound away. Vocals 1 1/2 minutes in. "Planetist" is Pohjola's sole composition although he shared with Gustavson on that very funny track. This is symphonic with a classical flavour (strings). Piano and organ help out as drums and bass support. Aboe before 1 1/2 minutes.This song is quite uplifting, a joy really. "Maestro Mercy" is Pembroke's tune. Soft vocals and mid paced. This is beautiful and emotional. "Prophet" is darker with vocals and organ standing out early. Bass and light drums follow. A very impressive track. "Marvelry Skimmer" is led by vocals and organ.

It's incredible how much talent was in this band, I guess that's why this lineup didn't stay together for too long. Pembroke, Gustavson or Pohjola could have led this band by themselves and wrote all the songs. Too many leaders, but at least they gave us two amazing albums.

Review by Dobermensch
2 stars A bit of a goofy album. Well played, but very much of its time - particularly the vocals by Jukka Gustavson. 'Being' leaves me cold due to the unemotional content.

'Pride Of The Biosphere' is the one stand out track due to its shocking lyrics sung by a guy pretending to be upper class English singing about Communism, rape and Nazi's. It's truly stupid. In fact, it really makes me mad hearing rubbish like this, passed off as comedy. Sack the political stuff eh? It just sounds ridiculous.

Thankfully there's a lot going on which takes my mind off such childish wordplay from this band from Finland. For one - there's the redoubtable Pekka Pohjola - bass player extraordinaire who is right at the front of proceedings. If truth be told, he's the only reason I bought this album in the first place. His solo recordings are much better and mature than this nonsense.

Damn those English lyrics though. They really detract. The vocalist is good but I wish he didn't have that horrendous cod American accent. Other than that, it's a well recorded, multi layered Prog album from the mid seventies. Alas, not for me. Pants.

Review by Warthur
3 stars Wigwam's being feels like a bit of a step down from Fairyport, their masterpiece. It's my understanding that the album caused a bit of tension in the band, with some members having a problem with the extremely politicised lyrics. It's not the words that irritate me, though, than the delivery. In particular, the album's momentum is wrecked by Pride of the Biosphere, which consists of a long monologue about horrible crimes delivered in a comedy "old man" voice that rapidly gets on my nerves, with an absolutely tepid musical backing of aimless noodling. When Wigwam get their minds back on the music the album is still a decent piece of eccentric Finnish fusion, but the tension in the band tells here. Disappointing.
Review by BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars The Finnish band's fourth studio album but first since several members had flown off to try solo projects of their own (Pekka's 1974 release, Pihkasilmâ Kaarnakorva being the most notable). A collection of songs that show the band members' (Jim Pembroke's) movement away melodic, mainstream music theater toward a more humorous and satirical Frank Zappa and Canterbury form of musical expression. The first four songs of Side One flow one song into the next without formal breaks, giving the impression of a conceptually-sequenced suite. The music is far more sophisticated than those on their previous albums--jazzy but more quirky and prone to very sudden--and quite frequent, unannounced--melodic and stylistic shifts.

1. "Proletarian" (2:10) (4.375/5) 2. "Inspired Machine" (1:25) back to music theater? cabaret music? (4.375/5)

3. "Petty-Bourgeois" (2:58) like something straight out of a HATFIELD AND THE NORTH album--only with the vocal theatricity of Peter Gabriel. (8.875/10)

4. "Pride of the Biosphere" (3:15) pure vocal theatre--all performed over solo theatre organ. (8.875/10)

5. "Pedagogue" (9:11) definitely music that could have come from one of the Canterbury Scene's vocal masters: The early Soft Machine, Matching Mole, Hatfield and the North or Caravan--perhaps more this latter band, though the vocal sounds more like something IAN ANDERSON would've done around this same time with Jethro Tull. (18/20)

6. "Crisader" (4:47) the next song sounds like a little more organ-dominated continuation of the previous song. (8.75/10)

7. "Planetist" (3:08) an instrumental in which the wind instruments play a huge role. Very FOCUS-like. (9/10)

8. "Maestro Mercy" (2:32) flowing straight out of "Planetist," Jim's vocal here seems to harken back to some late 1960s blues-rock psychedelia--the organ-based opening like PROCOL HARUM. (9/10)

9. "Prophet" (6:11) another more-vocal/lyrics driven song that has some very nice music to fill the copious spaces between the lyrics. Nice to hear the vast improvements in sound engineering as well the band members' new instrument acquisitions. (8.875/10)

10. "Marvelry Skimmer" (2:32) another song that launches without break straight out of the previous song, this one is much more blues-centric as the organ and LEON RUSSELL-like vocal lead the way over the fairly straightforward 1960s blues-rock dirge. (8.75/10)

Total Time 38:09

I would have to categorize this music as more consistent with the parameters of avant/RIO music vocal or early vocal Canterbury music (à la Robert Wyatt or Kevin Ayers). The music is all ver ypleasant--very melodic--and highly entertaining, and the musicianship of the contributors is top notch (which is necessary to accomplish such demanding, sophisticated song structures). I love the band's improved sound engineering as well as the assorted new instruments they've added to their repertoire--and I love the confidence Jim Pembroke has gained in his quirky vocal storytelling as well as the band's new proclivity for more complicated time and key signature shifting. There are a lot of significant steps forward the band has made to get here--for which I offer my sincerest admiration and congratulations.

B+/4.5 stars; of all the WIGWAM albums, this is easily my favorite. However, it is another album that I won't be able in good conscience to include in my Jazz-Rock Fusion lists--not because it's not prog: no! It's pure prog but far more of a Canterbury or avant garde/RIO nature than J-R Fuse. Still, highly entertaining and highly recommended.

Latest members reviews

5 stars absolutely essential prog masterpiece !!! jim pembroke- pop/prog songwriting genius. jukka gustavson-superb keyboard player and vocalist. pekka pohjola-bass maestro ronnie osterberg-drummer extraodinaire. how could this album possibly be anythi ... (read more)

Report this review (#1019826) | Posted by THE PROGDOLYTE | Saturday, August 17, 2013 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Wigwam - Being Being is a very strange little album. After many listens I no longer agree that this is jazz fusion, rather an eclectic blend of genres that has a dark musical effect somewhat similar to that of Van Der Graaf Generator. I have listened to this album on and off for a while now, ... (read more)

Report this review (#943479) | Posted by The Mystical | Sunday, April 14, 2013 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Being is a near masterwork from a band truly working at their peak. Wigwam is not a prog group per se--in their infancy they fused jazz and rock and jammed heavily and flipped out. But then they pulled in the reins and made Being--Stevie Wonder meets Robbie Robertson. Heavy and brooding wit ... (read more)

Report this review (#753027) | Posted by Suedevanshoe | Sunday, May 13, 2012 | Review Permanlink

5 stars From the land of Sibelius comes a wondrous work of progressive rock. This is a strange beast, ostensibly a concept album by a band that was obviously in the process of fragmenting. There's no collaborative songwriting - the music for each individual track is decisively written by a single membe ... (read more)

Report this review (#240787) | Posted by kurtrongey | Monday, September 21, 2009 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Being is the Wigwam album which took the most time to sink in. Now that if finally has, I regard it as being one of their finest albums, if not the finest. It is certainly their non-accessible album in my opinion. Being was to be the last studio album of the classic line up of Gustavson, Pembro ... (read more)

Report this review (#230039) | Posted by nikow | Wednesday, August 5, 2009 | Review Permanlink

4 stars "Being" was in many ways a step-up from its predecessor "Fairyport". For one Pembroke's contributions work well with the whole concept, unlike on the previous album where he basically had 4 straightforward songs going completely against the stylistic grain. The first three tracks represent the bes ... (read more)

Report this review (#132599) | Posted by Salviaal | Friday, August 10, 2007 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Yes this is along with Fairyport, Wigwam's best album. Their heads, especially Jukka Gustavson's, seemed to be smockfull of ideas at the time and the result was this masterpiece. One word about the whimsy political lyrics, it was close that the mainly left-winged bosses at Love Records in the ... (read more)

Report this review (#62777) | Posted by | Monday, January 2, 2006 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Early Wigwam´s masterpiece. The music is dominated by organ mainly because keyboardist/vocalist Jukka Gustavson wrote most of the music here. Some horns can be heard too. The music is jazzy strange prog with Stevie Wonder-like vocals. The lyrics are strange and somewhat political too. This is ... (read more)

Report this review (#22792) | Posted by Lambert | Saturday, June 26, 2004 | Review Permanlink

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