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Haikara Haikara album cover
4.22 | 183 ratings | 13 reviews | 39% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 1972

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Köyhän Pojan Kerjäys - The Beggings Of A Poor Boy (5:41)
2. Luoja Kutsuu - The Lord Asks For You (7:45)
3. Yksi Maa & Yksi Kansa - One Land & One Nation (9:33)
4. Jälleen On Meidän - It's Ours Again (10:56)
5. Manala - Underworld (10:37)

Total time 44:32

Line-up / Musicians

- Vesa Lehtinen / vocals, tambourine, cowbell
- Vesa Lattunen / vocals, electric & acoustic guitars, piano, organ, bass, arrangements
- Harri Pystynen / flute, tenor saxophone
- Timo Vuorinen / bass
- Markus Heikerö / drums, triangle

- Matti Tuhkanen / cello (2,3,5)
- Markku Johansson / trumpet (1-3,5)
- Kaj Backlund / trumpet (1-3,5)
- Mircea Stan / trombone (1-3,5)
- Seppo Peltola / trombone (1-3,5)

Releases information

Artwork: Markus Heikkerö

LP RCA Victor ‎- LSP-10392 (1972, Finland)
LP Svart Records ‎- SVR440 (2016, Finland) Remastered by Jaime Gomez Arellano

CD Fazer Records ‎- 3984-22253-2 (1998, Finland) 20-bit remaster by Mika Jussila
CD Universum Records ‎- 5013 (2007, Finland)

Thanks to WiguJimbo for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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HAIKARA Haikara ratings distribution

(183 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(39%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(39%)
Good, but non-essential (14%)
Collectors/fans only (5%)
Poor. Only for completionists (2%)

HAIKARA Haikara reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Sean Trane
5 stars If you must own only one Finnish prog album of the 70's , make it this one , and to a lesser extent the Geafar. If you had loved the absolutely crazy band Hoyry Kone in the late 90's , no doubt they were heavily infuenced by Haikara. What sets this album apart from the rest of them are the outstanding arrangements : what a writing job. The album starts with the slightly weaker (IMHO) Beggings of a Poor Boy, but this is very minor because the rest of the tracks are top notch. I cannot really describe you the music by citing other bands becuse none come to mind directly. The wind player is obviously one of the main component of this group but everyone gets a chance to be brilliant on this album. I know Greg Walker still has it on his catalogue but hurry up.
Review by Carl floyd fan
4 stars I must say I am blown away by this early 70s gem. If you find this album used or new in any store pick it up. Otherwise, download it, you won't regret it! These guys have a very distinct sound. I think the closest band is Gong, minus the silliness. Like the review above said, the 1st song is weak but after that, its just a lot of jamming which is very catchy. Very good sax, which is similar to Gong.
Review by Jimbo
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars I will start by saying that this album is a true gem. One of those rare masterpieces that almost no one knows.

Reviewing Haikara's albums is always a difficult task because they were such an original group that it's hard to compare them to other bands. I guess Haikara's sound falls somewhere between H To He - era VdGG and early King Crimson IMO. Tasavallan Presidentti must have been an influence too, to a lesser extent. The soundscapes and atmospheres are mostly quite dark, the dominating instrument is definitely Harri Pystynen's sax, while the guitars, flutes and keyboards are mainly on the background creating very strong melodies. Vesa Lehtinen's vocals are strong, and while they are not quite as prominent as Hammill's in VdGG, he surely makes himself heard. He sings in Finnish which might be a slight problem to someone.

Out of the five tracks here, the first one Köyhän Pojan Kerjäys is quite possibly the weirdest. It's an excellent track, but nevertheless a bit out of place here IMO, a rather goofy track with influences from finnish folk music among others. Manala is probably the most compelling piece Haikara ever wrote, a classic in Finnish prog. The ending actually reminds me of Magma in its weirdness. The section where Lehtinen sings "Manala, Manalaan Joukolla Kuolemaan" is a huge climax, at least for me.

It's really amazing to think that this is Haikara's debut, as the music already sounds incredibly mature and "ready", which is hardly typical for a debut. Haikara's best album, and quite frankly one of the best albums ever made in Finland. A true gem in every sense of the word. This album might be a hard one to find, but surely worth the hunt and the money.

Review by Eetu Pellonpaa
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars This album is so far the best classic Finnish progressive rock release I have yet heard, along with the "Fairyport" by Wigwam and Tasavallan Presidentti's early records. As the songs on the album are sung in Finnish, it may not be as accessible as the other classic Finnish prog albums for a non-Finnish speaking listener, but it has also many fine instrumental passages, where the singing is left in lesser importance.

I wasn't upset about the opener "Köyhän Pojan Kerjäys" (The Begging of A Poor Boy), which some of the listeners seem to find a bit irritating tune. I think that this number holds the qualities of burlesque humor, and it creates as slight theme to the following songs. This song is built from elements of early 60's Finish popular music, which is a logical choice within the context of the lyrics, as they paint a picture of a poor common man, whose frightful visions of the world the following four compositions in my opinion are. In the end of the song we can also hear quotations of Finnish army marches and even some slight taunts to the navy soldiers, these most likely being contributions of Harri Pystynen, who had studied and played winds at the Finnish army orchestra [according Esko Lehtonen "Suomalaisen rockin tietosanakirja", Soundi 1983.].

"Luoja Kutsuu" (The Lord Calls You) begins the series of eight to eleven minutes long songs, which bring forth strong visions of our world. The soothing lullaby flute & cello melodies are guided to a sadder direction by the church bells, and a submissive funeral march begins. Later the evil tritone steps familiar from darker classical music bring a strong violent twist to the music, and the singer announces his bitter hate towards organized Christianity and the leaders of the world. This dystopia vision associated with a more coherent stuff by Van Der Graaf Generator for me, their "Godbluff" album to be more exact. The power of both the lyrics and the music are tremendous. "Yksi Maa & Yksi Kansa" (One Land & One Nation) opens with tender guitar licks resembling the style of Jukka Tolonen, and euphoric strings introduce the mellow part of this song, which lyrics and theme is similar to John Lennon's "Imagine". Very beautiful stuff, but sadly this kind of predictions of peace and love can be ruined by watching the evening news. The middle part has more a faster guitar and sax driven rock sequence sounding like Tasavallan Presidentti. There are also passages with Latin influenced horn arrangements.

"Jälleen on Meidän" (It's Ours Again) starts with fabulous treble bass licks, and the song has an interesting groove. The lyrics are very poetic, and there are sharp trumpets bringing a jazzy feeling, which later evolves as dominant characteristic of this song, embodied as long instrumental jazz motives. Mystic "Manala" (Netherworld) closes the album, and it's verse reminds me the King Crimson song "The Letters". There are long quiet themes escalating to a furious ending, which is very powerful, as the last sounds are two changing guitar chords, which share a same base chord beneath them, bringing an abstract promise of hope to linger in the soon emerging silence.

I recall listening to this album when I was quite new to art rock music, and as I then listened to more conventional stuff like Yes and Wigwam, this record sounded somehow disturbing and too difficult to digest. During the years my tastes evolved, and now I value this masterpiece maybe more than any of the albums by these two bands. I seriously recommend this record to all people who are interested of dark, moody and artistic music. This LP was a very rare collectors item for some time, as there weren't any reissues of it moving around: Most of the Finnish prog albums of the 1970's were released by the Love Records label, and they had bigger pressing numbers and marketing, plus their releases were also reissued in early 1990's, unlike this album earlier. The average price for original vinyl of this record has been moving between 300 and 400 euros, but luckily it was reissued on CD eventually, and there was also a 500 copy vinyl reissue released by some European vendor, quickly sold out.

Review by Mellotron Storm
5 stars I agree with Eetu Pellonpaa and Sean Trane that this is the best classic, seventies Finnish album I have ever heard. Other than the opening track, this record is dark,disturbing and moody just the way i like it. There is even Bassoon played on it for Pete's sake, and it's not that far off from UNIVERS ZERO at one point. These guys all play magnificently, I could go through each instrument and praise them all very highly, and the songs are so cleverly arranged that it's impossible to find anything negative to say at all.

"Koyhan Pojan Kerjays" is the shortest song on here and it's completely different from the rest. It really sounds like an uptempo,traditional folk song. The lyrics throughout this album are in Finnish.This song is a real toe tapper with blasting sax and clapping with the bass and drums keeping the rhythm. It sounds like they're having a lot of fun. Don't take this song too seriously, I don't think it's intended to be. "Louja Kutsuu" really reminds me of SINKADUS with the bassoon and solemn flute. I like it. Melancholic vocals and organ join in, and yes this does sound like funeral music. The tempo picks up as bass, drums and sax support the more energetic vocals. This is fantastic ! Back to the earlier dark mood of bassoon and flute. Vocals and organ again follow. The tempo picks up again 6 minutes in just like before with sax, bass and vocals dominating. The ending is chaotic. Just an awesome tune man. "Yksi Maa-Yksi Kansa" opens with sax as an eastern sounding,gentle guitar comes in with bass. Bassoon comes in followed by drums and vocals as the song comes alive. Back to opening melody before the song really picks up strength with sax and a full sound. Psychedelic guitar comes in as drums pound 3 minutes in. Nice. This is a hypnotizing section until sax arrives followed by flute. Some raw sounding guitar 6 minutes in as tempo really speeds up with sax. A calm arrives a minute later as we get the original melody of gentle guitar that is joined by the bassoon, then vocals, followed by sax and drums as sound rises again. I like the grinding guitar 8 1/2 minutes in as drums pound and flute and sax take turns playing over top.

"Jalleen On Meidan" opens with bass as sax and guitar join in. Great sound. Vocals after a minute. Love the sax and vocals. This just goes on and on thankfully. Nice bass 5 minutes in as the guitar plays an amazing solo with sax joining in. It calms right down 8 1/2 minutes in as we get some atmosphere. It starts to build, and we get some incredible bass and sax to end it. "Manala" opens with gentle guitar as soft flute melodies join in. Reserved vocals and bass also arrive. This continues until before 3 1/2 minutes in when a bombastic,dark and creepy climate arrives. Ripping guitar turns angular as sax, bassoon,piano and drums fill the heavy air. This is spooky and ominous to say the least. Great section. The tempo picks up as we get some demented vocals. Check out the sax ! Organ arrives 8 1/2 minutes in. Vocal melodies and then vocals. The drums are so heavy.

I would suggest you read Eetu Pellonpaa's review to see what the story line is about on this record. To think this was 1972, I am just so overjoyed at what they created.

Review by apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Legendary Finnish Psych-Prog outfit with an intense brass instrumental background.Led by multi-instrumentalist Vesa Lattunen,HAIKARA were formed in 1971 in the town of Lahti along with drummer Markus Heikerro and bassist Timo Vuorinen.At the beginning the band was performing as a trio with a Hendrix-inspired style,but soon things whould change with the arrival of singer Vesa Lehtinen and flutist/saxophonist Harri Pystynen.The band ,now with a more complicated sound,signed with Discophon Records and their self-titled debut came out at the end of 1972 with lyrics dealing with metaphysics and personal issues.

''Koyhan poyan kerjays'' opens the album with a very pleasant atmosphere, like if THE BEATLES played supported by a brass section,a sound too far from what really follows.In ''Luoja kutsuu'',though the brass section is still present and strong,the atmosphere becomes darker and more psychedelic close to VAN DER GRAAF GENERATOR,with a very slow tempo,flutes to the front and some strong guitar playing as well.In ''Yksi maa'' the transformation is fully completed.This is a superb track where obscure guitar chords meet with haunting flutes and pounding bass lines to result an awesome composition. ''Jalleen on meidan'' is the jazzier composition,where Lehtinen's crying voice is surrounded by smooth saxes,psych guitars and a nice middle/end section with jazzy references and excellent bass work by Vuorinen.The 12- min. ''Manala'' is the closest track in here and not by accident.The 3-min. calm vocal/flute intro is followed by the most complex part of ''Haikara'' with guitars and piano battling each other.Things have warmened up and then is when Pystynen enters delivering his most intricate performance on saxes,supported till the end by nice and dark vocal work,some weird organ sounds and Lattunen's fuzzy guitars.

''Haikara'' is a fine album for sure,though I don't think it can beat other Prog-Psych monsters like MARSUPILAMI or VAN DER GRAAF GENERATOR.Yet it will reward every fan of this dark- sounding early 70's prog,who can't get enough of the style.

Review by Guldbamsen
5 stars Haikara = Stork

Quirky, jumpy, reed tooting, galloping, relentless, adventurous, melodic and everything at once, Haikara's debut is quite the amalgamation of differentiating sounds. I've always considered it as a close cousin to the more out there Canterbury groups like National Health and Picchio dal Pozzo, yet with all kinds of Zappaesque irreverence to it, and an unhinged musical joy that literally flies through your speakers, this album is anything but a scarecrow made up of various leftovers from other acts. Hell, it's from 1972, which rules out any association with the two aforementioned Canterbury acts...

The moods range from late 60s melodic psychedelia like the ones emanating from the first cut, Köyhän pojan kerjäys, to more perilous action packed whirlwind fusion, which again performs in parts of the first track. As a matter of fact, all of what Haikara stands for, including a passionate crooked take on Northern folk music, is enveloped in this astonishing opener. What then strikes me a little odd, is that the rest of the album almost entirely consists of the same haphazardly thrown together themes, yet without ever sounding remotely the same. With saxes, flutes, cowbells, triangles, guitars, organs and a rhythm section with magma up it's bunghole, you sense a frenetic, almost squirrely energy pumping through Haikara. Like wild rodents set on fire pacing around the studio with a song on their lips.

I had this album playing here the other day while I was fixing dinner. I'd opened up all the windows to clear out the stale and stagnant air that accumulates whenever I've been away for a couple of days. As a result of this, the fragrant smell of spices like cumin, chilli and garlic invaded the sidewalk together with this music, having people stop dead in their tracks - looking directly in my window, as if to see what kind of strange entity was producing this exotic mix of Eastern flavours and fiery pseudo jazz rock. One girl went so far as to say, that she thought I was an imminent cook, but a rather sad dj - to which I replied: 'Well honey, you know - the music often goes hand in hand with what's being served on the table. You would be surprised to learn what tricky, labyrinthian and bonkers music some of the great chefs listen to.'

I was obviously joking a bit, but there's some truth in that statement. I think this kind of unique galloping cornucopia of rock, with all of it's bombastic reed sprints and saucy psychedelics, wreck havoc on your senses - in just about the right manner for you to be able to feel inspired, chuck full of energy and pure unadulterated geist! It's the exact same mood you want to achieve, when you're headed for the kitchen methinks.

Anyway, enough with the cooking! Aside from these two purveyors of sound, the furious fusion and the jello sheen of shrooms, you additionally get these magnificent crystallised folk segments to boot. With a flirtatious flute, or some abstract guitar strummings the feel of the music will turn on a dime, and suddenly tumble jittery into the most peculiar Northern folk music, you're ever likely to come across. Often this facet comes on during the more rocking sections, and the direction of the tune fiercely changes it's intentions and swoops you down the mountainside with surreal images from the beautiful cover art with elk, dragon and that eerie naked human body looking like it's on the verge of giving birth.

To top it all off all of the vocals are in Finnish. They're mighty jolly and carefree, often playing on that ever so theatrical side of the great Peter Hammill. Even if they don't sound alike, you'll find a common fondness for the grandiose and bewitching, no doubt.

This is perhaps the greatest progressive rock recording ever to come out of Finland, and I see no difficulty in recommending it to the folks on this site. Whatever shortcomings one may face with the impossible Finnish lingo, are made up for a gazillion times by the sheer force of lavish musical sorcery surrounding it. This album is mesmerising in every way conceivable - like the very cover it hides underneath. No wonder they named the group after the be-winged majestic presence of the stork.

Review by Warthur
3 stars With influences from jazz fusion and Finnish folk leaking in around the edges, this is a confident debut from Finnish prog outfit Haikara. Incorporating more brass instruments than is typical for prog, thanks to their six-musician brass section, Haikara don't shy away from unusual instruments - even vocalist Vesa Lehtinen is credited with tamburine, cow bell, and "Eberhard Faber 1146 No. 2" (the latter being a make of pencil!) - and they use this range of instrumentation to create a rich and unpredictable sound. A competent album which despite coming out at the peak of prog's popularity doesn't seem to have got much attention outside of Finland, which is a bit of a shame, but at the same time don't expect a lost classic primed to set your very conception of prog on fire on listening - this is decent but not exceptional.
Review by Matti
5 stars Lahti-based HAIKARA (= stork) was doubtlessly the most important Finnish seventies prog act outside Helsinki and the Love Records legacy. This dark-toned debut album (compared e.g. to early KING CRIMSON, TASAVALLAN PRESDENTTI and VAN DER GRAAF GENERATOR) ranks among the most respected items of the Finnish prog history. Now it has been re-released on vinyl by Svart Records -- with new liner notes by yours truly (that, if I may add, are also written in much better English than my PA reviews!). I won't go here into the band's formation etc, nor am I using the re-release article as a basis of this review.

In short, two of the members (the frontman Vesa Lattunen and saxophonist-flautist Harri Pystynen) were playing also in Lahti Town Orchestra, and the influence of classical music plus the musical education can naturally be heard in Haikara's music. The album was produced by Heikki Virtanen, later best known as the bassist of Tasavallan Presidentti, who however didn't much take part in the artisctic process. The up-tempo opener (= The Begging of a Poor Boy) differs quite radically from the dark and eclectic prog on the rest of the album. The brass section is used cleverly, and especially the little details in the end of this strangely hilarious track show a sense of humour normally not linked to the band. 'Luoja kutsuu' (= God Calls) is nearly collapsing under the preaching pathos against institutionalized religion, but the next one (= One Country - One Nation) reaches up to excellent, dynamic prog in its instrumental sections.

'Jälleen on meidän' (= Is Ours Again) has bluesy jazz-rock riffing and an electric guitar solo that make it resemble Tasavallan Presidentti. The gorgeous closer 'Manala' (= Underworld [of the dead]) builds very effective contrasts between the otherworldly delicacy and the edginess finished by gritty VDGG-like saxes.

Just like the grotesque cover art by Markus Heikkerö, "Haikara" is a strong, deeply impressive and -- despite some recognizable influences from the more forerunning prog acts of Britain and Finland -- highly original prog classic that may require some acquired taste. The masterpiece ranking is justified.

Review by siLLy puPPy
5 stars While small in number, the Finnish progressive rock scene of the early 70s was robust enough to create a viable market at least within Finalnd's territory. The movement was kicked off by Wigwam in 1968 but several artists followed including Pekka Pohjola, Jukka Tolonen and Tasavallan Presidentti. While not nearly as popular as the aforementioned artists during those early years, the Lähto based HAIKARA (Finnish for "stork") has none the less weathered the decades well and is considered one of the most artistically creative progressive bands to emerge from the fertile golden age of prog.

This band was founded by Vesa Lattunen (vocals, guitar, piano), Markus Heikkerö (drums) and Timo Vuorinen (bass) in 1971 but would soon add the two additional members of Vesa Lehtinen (vocals, tambourine, cowbell) and Harri Pystynen (flute, saxophone) who previously played in Charlies. The band released its self-titled debut in 1972 and experienced minor success although never experienced much recognition outside of Finland but nonetheless crafted an extraordinarily unique sound unlike any prog band in all of history actually.

Consisting of only five tracks, HAIKARA composed a unique mix of King Crimson inspired prog that utilized heavy rock guitar and complex time signature changes mixed with pastroral folk sections but the most unique feature of HAIKARA's sound was the inclusion of a brass section as well as cello which included five additional session musicians to create a larger than life sound for a band in a rock context. Sounding somewhat like early Chicago mixed with King Crimson and Genesis, HAIKARA delivered melodic catchy tunes based on Finnish folk music only played on rock instruments with the contrapuntal backing of a brass section.

Beginning with the oom-pa-pa polka brass heft of "Köyhän Pojan Kerjäys - The Beggings Of A Poor Boy," HAIKARA establishes a veritable brass rock sound with only slight prog complexities and although all lyrics are in the Finnish language, the soulful vocal tradeoffs of Lattunen and Lehtinen evoke a passionate display of instantly catchy ear hooks that are augmented with a thick brassy bombast that adds a touch of angularity from time to time however the album becomes more complex as it proceeds with the following "Luoja Kutsuu - The Lord Asks For You" generating a more sophisticated flair of progginess which only continues as the other three tracks all clock in around the ten minute mark and engage in some serious labyrinthine compositional zigzagging accompanied by nice instrumental interplay.

With lush folk passages trading off with psychedelic jamming sessions graced by fuzzy guitar soloing and soft brassy contrasts, HAIKARA's debut literally stands in a world of its own which is why it has been deemed on the classic Finnish prog album's to emerge from the 70s and while the band didn't find much success beyond this meager selling debut album, history has been kinder in recognizing its innovative musical motifs decorated with the varying rock, jazz and folk aspects. Out of all the Finnish bands that emerged in the earliest part of the 70s, HAIKARA is by far the most eclectic of the bands but unfortunately never made it to the level of bands like Wigwam who actually found recognition outside of Finland.

This is an album that is perfectly represented by its album cover art. It retains a bit of homegrown folklore as represented by the verdant countryside complete with wildlife but also displays a darker side and like the dragon in the sky a sense of awe that offers unexpected surprises that provide a startling contrast to the more familiar sounds. Lots of really excellent musicianship on this one as the band can effortlessly change from emotive acoustic driven folk passages to bombastically jagged soundscapes that pull out the big guns with heavy uses of frenetic tempos, excess guitar distortion and ample use of unorthodox time signatures. This is a brilliant album for sure and one of Finland's best examples of early prog.

Latest members reviews

4 stars (8/10) Impressive eponymous debut from Finnish proggers Haikara (which means 'Stork' in English). There are tones of Van Der Graaf Generator's "H To He, Who Am The Only One" at times, although maybe not quite so complex. Oh, and with Finnish vocals. You will have to read the excellent review by E ... (read more)

Report this review (#812057) | Posted by ScorchedFirth | Wednesday, August 29, 2012 | Review Permanlink

4 stars There's been so many reviews of this there isn't really a need except to express my own love for this album. The whole thing is wonderful, but especially the last 3 songs, and the final "Manala - Underworld (10:37)" is simply worth the price. Please give this stuff a listen if you haven't as th ... (read more)

Report this review (#417439) | Posted by tmay102436 | Thursday, March 17, 2011 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Haikara were a 70s Finnish prog rock band from Lahti, led by guitarist Vesa Lattunen. They were less known than their contemporary peers Wigwam and Tasavallan Presidentti but they were no less good. Haikara started as a trio but added two players to the roster after a while. Haikara is their fi ... (read more)

Report this review (#229713) | Posted by nikow | Monday, August 3, 2009 | Review Permanlink

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