I must confess I was a little sceptical at first about the harmonica phenomenon Sväng dedicating a whole album to the Finnish tango – up until now, their albums have always had an around-the-world-and-back feel, with this unique ensemble fitting themselves perfectly into the style of everything between Finland and Argentina, not to mention the Balkan. But I'm won over quite soon. This record just turns your focus more closely on the genre itself.
Yes, the metre is the same in every tune and the patterns are pretty much presented already in the first tune – 1 2 3 and 4, minor, major, some syncopation and a little beguine. Or are they really?
Digging deeper into the world of tango, without any vocalist or lyrics to focus on, you start to notice the colors and images of different tunes in a new way. I can almost see the profile of Mr. Hugo Diaz (with a very straight posture) in the tango dedicated to him composed by Jouko Kyhälä, while the pioneer of Finnish modern dance Ms. Maggie Gripenberg makes her way over the stage in some of the most surprising musical twists and turns on the album, in Maggien Tango by Eero Grundström. And what a happy ending Arto Järvelä's and JPP's brilliant classic Siltatanssit provides!
The material is well chosen to represent the different characteristics of the Finnish tango, and of course Sväng builds on the story with their own compositions, even giving Eero Turkka the chance to sing. Once more I also take my hat off to the arrangements – the difference is huge between the tunes with no arranger mentioned and the tunes arranged by Grundström or Kyhälä, a welcome reminder of how crucial the role of the arranger is.
SVÄNG: Sväng plays tango
Eero Turkka – chromatic & diatonic harmonicas
Eero Grundström - chromatic & diatonic harmonicas
Jouko Kyhälä – harmonetta, chromatic & diatonic harmonicas
Pasi Leino – base harmonica
Galileo Music 2018