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Prog Folk • Finland

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Tenhi biography
Tenhi (an old Finnish word meaning village elder) are a "folk-influenced progressive group" from Finland. It all began in the end if 1996 when Tyko Saarikko composed the firsts songs for a demo tape which was released in 1997. Ilkka Salminen joined Tyko when recording the demo tape called "Kertomuksia" The tape caught the attention of a German label and they got a record deal. Ilmari Issakainen joined the group before the recording of their mini CD, "Hallavedet", and since then the three-man core of the group was set. In 1999, before releasing their first full-lenght album, "Kauan", violinist Eleonora Lundell joined the band and later after that, when recording their mini CD called "Airut:Ciwi", flutist Veera Partanen joined the band. In 2000 they made their first live debut in the Karjaa Faces festivals and a new member was introduced. Flute player, Janina Lehto, replaced Partanen in the concert and also became a full time member. In the recording of their second full-lenght album, "Väre", violinist Inka Eerola joined the group. Sadly the album faced some problems and it was released in 2002. In 2006 their third album, "Mäaaet", saw the light of day along with the follow-up of their Airut saga, "Airut:Aamujen".

Tenhi is a neofolk group with a very somber and cold sound. They have certain post-rock leanings due to their dark atmosphere they create. If you're a fan of dark, mellancholic music, post-rock and folk music with a Nordic sound then Tenhi is for you.

- Ruben Dario (Chamberry) -

Why this artist must be listed in :
Approved by the Prog Folk Team.

Kertomuksia, EP (1997)
Promo Tape, EP (1997)
Hallavedet, studio album (1998)
Kauan, studio album (1999)
Airut:Ciwi, studio album (2000)
Väre, studio album (2002)
Mäaaet, studio album (2006)
Airut:Aamujen, studio album (2006)

Tenhi official website

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Buy TENHI Music

Prophecy 2010
Audio CD$12.54
$11.11 (used)
Prophecy 2010
Audio CD$12.67
$13.11 (used)
Prophecy Productions 2011
Audio CD$9.33
$8.49 (used)
Folk Aesthetics 1996-2006Folk Aesthetics 1996-2006
Prophecy 2010
Audio CD$19.49
$68.99 (used)
Prophecy 2010
Audio CD$12.65
$10.44 (used)
Prophecy 2010
Audio CD$12.66
$12.98 (used)
Audio CD$14.99
$11.79 (used)
Airut:Aamujen by Tenhi (2010-11-09)Airut:Aamujen by Tenhi (2010-11-09)
Audio CD$83.94
Maaaet by Tenhi (2010-11-09)Maaaet by Tenhi (2010-11-09)
Audio CD$57.32
Kauan by TenhiKauan by Tenhi
Audio CD$84.07
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TENHI discography

Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help to complete the discography and add albums

TENHI top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.52 | 19 ratings
3.71 | 18 ratings
4.05 | 30 ratings
4.00 | 11 ratings
Airut Aamujen
3.32 | 18 ratings

TENHI Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

TENHI Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

TENHI Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.04 | 5 ratings
Folk Aesthetic 1996-2006

TENHI Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

TENHI Reviews

Showing last 10 reviews only
 Maaäet by TENHI album cover Studio Album, 2006
4.05 | 30 ratings

Tenhi Prog Folk

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

5 stars Tenhi play a dark, progressive style of folk music which draws much influence from Ulver's Kveldssanger and, secondarily, from the spooky textures (but thankfully not the sometimes-dodgy politics) of neofolk acts like Death In June or Sol Invictus. Maaäet is an absolutely gorgeous example of the form, with crystal-perfect production bringing out the best in their rich, gothic folk concoction. With a deep, cavernous sound and equally deep and sonorous vocals, the band create a real sense of space, like there is a whole lightless universe contained within the depths of their music. If you want to make a strong case for "dark folk" as its own distinct subgenre, Maaäet bolsters that argument nicely.
 Saivo by TENHI album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.32 | 18 ratings

Tenhi Prog Folk

Review by kenethlevine
Special Collaborator Prog-Folk Team

2 stars After a relatively productive period in the early part of the 2000s, these dour Finns have released only one album in 10 years, that being "Saivo" in 2011. While the profoundly morose "sound" remains intact, the atmosphere seems to have been sucked out through a hole in the ozone layer, and with it Tenhi's few remaining critical connections to this world, the only one any of us can experience right now.

In retrospect, The seeds had been sown on "Maaaet", as the vocals were already usurping the cold comforts rather than melding to them, making that release their least satisfying to that point. Here, on songs like "Haaksi", "Pienet Purot" and "Paluu Joelle", they resume the apparent goal of attaining musical rigor mortis, and by and large succeed. There are even attempts at becoming the 4732nd band to try their hand at the monastic chants.

The album's best moments occur early, with the two openers both chiseling an icy soundscape of hypnotic melancholy. Nothing else really comes close, as the synchronicity in even the most minor shifts on Tenhi's first 2 albums seems to have been lost, which could explain the dearth of recent productions. For all I know, shedding those worldly associations might be necessary in order to pass to the next spiritual plane, but, if that's the case, I'm not sure I'm interested.

 Maaäet by TENHI album cover Studio Album, 2006
4.05 | 30 ratings

Tenhi Prog Folk

Review by kenethlevine
Special Collaborator Prog-Folk Team

3 stars In the limited blogosphere catering to ambient downbeat neo folk, this third offering by TENHI tends to be regarded as their pinnacle. Certainly they have honed their mastery over melancholia and found a sweet, or, er, at least less bitter spot when combining juxtaposing morose vocals with sparkling instrumental themes. This reaches its apex on the album's best tracks: "Viimeiseen", the even better "Vahainen Violettissa" with its preternaturally bowed strings, "Sarastuskaviia", and "Tuulenkaato". Unfortunately, the same vocals, never technically a strong suit but previously exploited to near perfection, now insist upon themselves, and have reached new nadirs of atonality, resulting in a perception that the singer is not merely suffering but expiring. And I don't mean the melodrama of death in the operatic sense, but that far less harmonic croak of authentic demise, which really should be reserved for family members and close friends. When not offset by intensely harmonic passages, they fall flat, so to speak. "Maa Sytty", "Salain", and "Uuuvu Oravan Luu" all cross over that line, but I appreciate that some might revel in this style, just as some enjoy death metal growls.

Not quite up to the high standards of prior releases, "Maaaet" plays sufficiently to the band's strengths to garner high recommendations if you are partial to well earned despondency, Nordic style.

 Väre by TENHI album cover Studio Album, 2003
3.71 | 18 ratings

Tenhi Prog Folk

Review by kenethlevine
Special Collaborator Prog-Folk Team

4 stars In the three years between "Kauan" and "Vare", TENHI managed to flesh out their arrangements with the likes of flutes, didgeridoo, mouth harp and several bowed instruments, all of which compound the visceral melancholy of their Lapland soundscapes. While they represented a disembodied voice alone in their land bound tradition, on "Vare" they seem to have plugged into the celestial network of formerly solitary spirits.

Thankfully the vocals remain unadorned and unobtrusive, somewhere between the whispered chants of their debut and the more accomplished rantings of WOVENHAND. In fact, the remarkable riff of "Jaljen", so riveting that it took me a while to realize that there were vocals at all, and the uneasy alt country meets Aboriginal flow of "Sutoi", hone in on the moods and timbres of that American band.

"Katve" is more up tempo with its swirling flutes and rapid strumming affording a Moorish sentiment, more suggestive of bands like ASIA MINOR or PROMETHEAN, and not out of place at all here. Elsewhere keyboards and strings help thicken the atmosphere of mini epics like "Vilja" and "Yola. Later on rhythm plays a pivotal role in both the vocals and the arrangements of "Varis Aloinen", which works well here as an exercise in contrasts but might render the listener nonplussed if replicated too often on one release, which it thankfully is not, at least not yet.

"Vare" is another winning release from these masters of morose nature and nurture, recommended to a wide range of prog folk and neo folk fans, and those who take joy in music that is intrinsically eclectic.

 Kauan by TENHI album cover Studio Album, 2000
3.52 | 19 ratings

Tenhi Prog Folk

Review by kenethlevine
Special Collaborator Prog-Folk Team

4 stars Eclecticism can woo you with best of breed haunches where every cut offers its own distinct flavor, like the vildebeest, or it can tuck you in under its uniform quilt from which you are both unwilling and unable to emerge until its promise is consummated. Of course, even though each panel absorbs you a little more, before you can be released you are primed for another night of staring emptily at the stars from beneath it. Such is the effect of this mammoth debut release of Finnish neo folk group TENHI.

Simply arranged with strummed acoustic and electric guitars in generally slow tempos; drearily resigned vocals lurking beneath an already sombre surface; occasional morose violin effected in a Northeastern European style, and elegant synthesizer washes, the austere and stark beauty of "Kauan is a triumph of resiliency. It scratches several itches at once, in places that may have been ignored for years, nay, millenia. While nothing here could be said to be entirely distinctive on its own, its 52 minute bearskin nuzzle imparts what poseurs haven't dared to dream, let alone live. It might be facile to attribute this authenticity to the bleak wintry cycle of far northern climes, but if the snowshoe fits....

Influences like PINK FLOYD are in evidence in the more plodding sections, but the sound is closer in spirit to bands like PROMETHEAN from Norway, especially on the almost vivacious "Revontulet" and the symphonic low wattage power ballad "Hallavedet". I suspect the band is also versed in local traditional folk. Smigeons of doom and metal lurk but without the growls and decibels, leaving an essence that few have distilled, and I hear echoes of early medieval tinged Goth a la "Tears" by STRAWBS or "When I was on Horseback" by STEELEYE SPAN. The last couple of tracks are more brocaded and unstructured, which might appeal more to some here but come across as a few ideas that turned into pumpkins even though such transformation was not stipulated in the original bargain.

I have listened to the subsequent TENHI albums and this ranks as one of their best, as it's a unified work that is adventurous, accessible, and infused with the sage melancholy of the elders.

 Airut Aamujen by TENHI album cover Studio Album, 2006
4.00 | 11 ratings

Airut Aamujen
Tenhi Prog Folk

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars According to the band's website, this album originally came about due to them wanting to pursue musical themes that they had started with the song "Kielo" from their 'Airut:Ciwi' album which was originally released in 2001. The resulting album was released on their own label in 2004 under the name of Harmaa. However, now that they have signed to Auerbach the album has been resurrected and has been released under the name of Tenhi as they do feel that it fits in within their Airut saga. For those, like me, who only came across them with the release eight months ago of 'Maaäet' then this is yet another joy. Here the only instrumentation comes from Ilmari Issakainen who provides drums, piano and bass, while there are two singers in Tyko Saarikko and Janina Lehto and a backing singer in Tuuka Tolvanen.

I have to confess to burning this onto my ipod before I even listened to it, but I knew that I wouldn't be disappointed and that is most definitely the case. There is a great deal of power and emotion in this atmospheric album. This is music that captures the mind and brings the listener right into a dark world, a forest where at times the light comes through the trees which is shown with a lighter touch. Considering that this is basically a piano album I am amazed at just how they have managed to capture so many moods and feelings. I am very glad that this has been reissued by the label and hope that they also pick up on some of the other now deleted goodies from the band's past.

 Saivo by TENHI album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.32 | 18 ratings

Tenhi Prog Folk

Review by Guldbamsen
Special Collaborator Retired Admin

4 stars In the woods

It is so cold outside. I nearly fainted this morning stepping out of the front-door - feeling the frosty air gripping a hold of my lungs with an iron fisted grip. Everything is covered in powdered snow, and even the cheeky neighbourhood gang of cats stays inside - preferably curled up beside a warm fireplace hoping for dreams of mice until the first sighs of spring.

I put this album on, venture out on the road. My bike crackles and screeches - the frost has turned every joint in its aching metal body into arthritic pain and discomfort. Driving through the forest, it dawns on me just how special this album is, and why it's taken me this long to really get it - really take in what it's all about. I believe it was my good friend John, who initially wrote something about how much of the modern Scandinavian music is better appreciated, if the listener experiences the dark and cold winters - we here in the North are subjected to every year. There's a distinct feel to it, that pretty much escapes other bands from warmer climates. I think he's right in this assessment, and today was all about how music sometimes gets born out of nature itself - how the musicians must have been taken over by winter chills and the cold cold night.

This new album by Tenhi is my first experience with them. Conveying the true emotions and apt sonic images this release conjures up in me - takes me back to those cold hard winters we get up here in Scandinavia, but there's more to it. Imagine walking around in a dead forest. There are no leafs on the trees - they're stalk naked - black silhouettes in an infinite white setting. There's death in the air, and not in a natural kind of way - with a rotting carcass lying up against a tree with a couple of black crows picking at it, - no this is some kind of supernatural feeling of death itself. The whole of the forest is emanating death - centuries of solitude and sorrow - with only the company of the freezing winds occasionally stroking the bark on the trees. No birdsong to be found here - the screaming silence prevails.

I would imagine that this sounds like bs to a lot of people here, but once you've seen the landscapes up here and felt the cold - somehow everything falls into place. Especially with this type of music as a back draft. The easy way of describing Tenhi to the uninitiated, would be something like a Finnish progressive folk version of Type O Negative. That actually is a very accurate description, now that I think of it. The haunting vocals here are all uttered in the Finnish language. They sound like something out of a Tolkien novel - like the frosty snowcapped brethren of the Silvan Elves. The timber of these is comparable to a Finnish hybrid of Peter Steele and Leonard Cohen. The deep bellowing almost Gregorian chant from Steele, and the delivery in the recognizable Cohen manner, where every word has its individual taste, and you can nearly taste them yourself, even if the language is incomprehensible. It's like the spirit of the dead winter forest is talking to you directly through these dark ominous vocalisations - humming dangerous words of wisdom.

The music is nearly all acoustic. The guitars sound like sprinklings, shimmers of light - like a close cousin to the harp. They feel like natural streams in the landscape. Like small traces of life - something that didn't turn into transparent ice. Then you have the heart-aching weeps of the violins and cellos, that underline the natural woe of these pieces. They hurt like hell, but also inspire a multitude of beautiful musical passages. Often these get narrated by a flute or a raw piano that sounds crystal clear - like individual descending snow flakes hitting a note with a crackle of the ice beneath. Just like the stagnant and slowly moving winter season, this music also feels slow. It is pensive and highly atmospheric, and the rhythm work here is almost shadow like because of this. Hand held tambourines, or stuff that sounds like Indian percussion with attached dreamcatchers and rattle snake tales. Although there are times when the music grows big, frightening, powerful and we are treated to some hard hitting drum-work, not unlike that you'll find on a modern Porcupine Tree release. Still, everything about Saivo is slow and mournful. It's like watching a wounded animal ploughing through the icy landscape - alone in a world of whiteness and cold - shivering, afraid - yet still highly determined. Leaving behind a long drawn out trace of ruby red blood - battling the eternal fight against the long black slumber.

Even if this music sounds like doomsday paintings in sonic bloom - the death of a forest - the colours are still here. There's warmth in the vocals and in the guitars. They call to you - like a howling wolf does to the moon. This is the life blood - what runs through the freezing veins of this black and wintery release, and if you'd like to experience first hand the icy magic of our beloved Scandinavian nature, and maybe come a bit closer to the old myths that are ingrained in everything here from the oldest of persons to the steel character of the frozen soil - you can get quite close just by listening to this very release. It is full of whispering dark sorcery and tales of woe.

 Folk Aesthetic 1996-2006 by TENHI album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2007
4.04 | 5 ratings

Folk Aesthetic 1996-2006
Tenhi Prog Folk

Review by Matti
Prog Reviewer

4 stars You don't expect very much from a compilation featuring rare and unrealeased material, if the band in question already isn't important to you, do you? I had heard just one studio album by this Finnish folk-rock group, and while I certanly enjoyed some tracks, I thought on the long run they always sound too much the same for wider appreciation. And why go through listening rarities when there are proper albums waiting to be heard? Well, I was wrong. This is amazing three hours of dark and atmospheric Prog Folk and I'm very glad I borrowed it (even if I first felt frustrated when I tried to read the track titles and other texts, all printed with tiny, old-fashioned hard-to-read fonts).

Rather than being a fan-oriented thing, a place to find throwaway material that didn't make it to the albums, this is an ambitious large-scale document of the band's ten-year history. I would have wished for some kind of discographic information to better see how this all relates to the existing output, but that's a minor fault. This is full of spellbinding progressive folk, often in a very slow tempo, and although TENHI's music isn't very progressive (in a symphonic sense), it seems that the long tracks - roughly ten minutes - are the finest. I'm not getting into details, but I guarantee that if you have heard something by this band and have enjoyed it, this is definitely worth listening.

PS. Tenhi is said to mean the village elder.

 Kauan by TENHI album cover Studio Album, 2000
3.52 | 19 ratings

Tenhi Prog Folk

Review by migue091

3 stars I have become a lover of the music made by scandinavian bands. I don't know what they put in the music, which is the secret ingredient that makes the flavour and smell so fabulous and inspiring to me. I am not only talking about prog music, I am talking about rock music in general terms. I think I get a glimpse of some kind of passion and truth in this art from the northern people

Here we are with Tenhi, I don't care if they are a prog band or not, but let me tell you that they are winter and cold, autumn and melancholy. They are calm, quite and full of harmony. There are lots of gothic moments, even more in the voice passages, so ghostly is the approach. Delicate folky sounds of keyboards, acoustic guitars, winds and violins used with such a good taste. There's a layer of epic minimalism that makes this music very intimate and dreamy. Three big stars for their debut!

 Maaäet by TENHI album cover Studio Album, 2006
4.05 | 30 ratings

Tenhi Prog Folk

Review by Negoba
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Vampire Music for Gothic Indulgence

Following the proverbial rabbit hole, I discovered Tenhi through similar artists and albums going from Opeth's Damnation and then Borknagar's Origin. This led me to the sub-genre of neofolk, a meld of elements from black metal, post-rock, and Northern European folk. Tenhi is one of the standard bearers of the style. Blending acoustic instrumentation, freezing cold atmospheres, croaking vocals blended with airy harmonies, and rhythmic structures ranging from free form ambient to complex time signatures, the band creates wintry soundscapes that seem deceptively simple. Certainly, if you have no interest in anything resembling Goth, you'll never get through the ice to appreciate the nuance here.

The vocals are in Finnish. The music is more new-agey than metal and in the connection with black metal is really only in mood and theme. This is atmospheric music, more suitable for meditation than analysis. That said, there is a nice variety of rhythm and color within this album. (Others have criticized earlier albums for being a little too homogenous.) Complex times come up surprisingly often, with a few quicker pieces mixed in with mid-tempo chants and slow dirges.

If you like Goth music, this is a treasure chest, maybe one of the best. Low minor vocal harmonies, behind the beat marches, chilly guitars underlying strings and woodwinds; this is a very organic music. The tonalities often are exotic. The vocals are dripping with sadness. Though in minor key, melody is strong here, giving the songs identity, and the album a sense of development. The playing is both emotive and skilled, though never flamboyant.

As an expansion of folk music, or simply as an expression of goth aesthetic, this is an excellent disc. Its target audience is a bit narrow, and I would definitely sample first. But if you like the general flavor of what you hear, by all means jump in. This is a very nice work.

Thanks to chamberry for the artist addition.

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