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Piirpauke - Kirkastus CD (album) cover




Prog Folk

3.96 | 7 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars (I'm not unhappy with the Prog Folk category, but for those unfamiliar with Finnish PIIRPAUKE: the key words are Traditional/World Music and Jazz.) It's not easy or even necessary to fully separate Sakari Kukko's solo albums from the PIIRPAUKE discography, for he is unquestionably the heart and brain of the long-living group. This 1981 album had "Sakari Kukko & Piirpauke" as the performer, and the CD edition includes also the whole 1979 album Kajastus by Sakari Kukko, with another line-up - which does feature members of Piirpauke's early years, guitarist Hasse Walli and bassist Antti Hytti. So let's just skip the question right away.

The opener 'Song of Ostiak' is the longest track (6:41), a slow and melancholic arrangement of an Ostiak traditional. Kantele and guitar both really seem to tell something sad and thoughtful, and later flute joins the conversation. Very beautiful! 'Prelude & Salsa' is a brighter tune starting slowly and getting faster & more lively in the halfway. Flute sings very high notes and percussion sounds African. 'Lamb's Polska' is a Finnish traditional tune from which Kukko has made a peaceful arrangement. This is among Piirpauke's better known repertoire, I think. The Orientally flavoured brief title track makes me think of Zen monks with its avantgardistic, meditative flute sounds and delicate percussion.

'Answer, Friend' should have a Finnish title since it contains Marketta Saarinen's vocals in Finnish. Again flute is in the lead role. This isn't among my favourite tracks, it feels somehow angry. 'Factory' is a jam-like hectic track. 'Cry' returns to the slow, melancholic style of the opener; this time with a saxophone instead of flute. Ilpo Saastamoinen's bass playing is delicious. Nice and deeply emotional music that demands a lot of concentration from the listener. The final tune is from the circus world, the worst track in my opinion.

On to the 1979 album, which isn't stylistically far from Kirkastus, but is weaker with some half- baked tracks that sort of wander aimlessly. Titles are in Finnish, I'll use English for your convenience. (9) 'On the Village Road' composed by someone called Blantez is sung here by two women. (10) 'Longing' is a traditional tune from Inkeri, Karelia, accompanied here with birdsinging. The flute-centred sound is pure Piirpauke. The joyful (11) 'Sunday' is also a Trad. (13) 'Worries Are Not Felt' is written by and features the Lappish vocal artist Nils-Aslak Valkeapää. Yawn...

(15) Traditional 'Sitter on the Shore' is among the better tracks on this uneven album. Sax and electric guitar have a melancholic dialogue. On later tracks there are some more natural sound effects, e.g. water. The title track 'Sarastus' (=Dawn's Light) is a beautiful, calm but bright composition by Kukko. On the whole the album gets a bit boring in its lazy approach. Both albums have many numbers from the traditional origins (more Finnish-oriented than cosmopolitan PIIRPAUKE in general) and include many good tracks. Separately they maybe wouldn't be quite worth four stars, but together on a single CD, why not.

Matti | 4/5 |


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