Despite more than one personnel changes over the years, vocal ensemble Suden aika, which have just released their sixth album Sisaret [Sisters], have always managed to maintain a strong ensemble sound. Therein lies the group’s true strength: their vocal sound is seamless, but the solo moments reveal how different the individual sounds in the ensemble are. Taking turns, each unique voice is featured: Katariina Airas’s delicate vibrato, Veera Voima’s unassuming yet powerful interpretations, Liisa Matveinen’s deep vocal timbre and the group’s newest member Karoliina Kantelinen’s nuanced voice that seems to be able to stretch to almost anything.
The ensemble’s repertoire consists of tunes composed by the singers and set to poems in the traditional Kalevala metre. Matveinen and Voima, with their assured touch, are the two most prolific composers, and the perky title track is composed by Kantelinen and is set to a text from the Komi region.
The album is convincing in its wide range of compositional styles, vocal techniques and arrangements. The Mora harp, kanteles, flutes and percussion instruments are heard exactly where they are needed. Each time I listened through the recording, a new piece seemed to emerge as a favourite, which is a testament to the layered quality of the pieces. The listener keeps discovering something new time after time.
A twelve-track album with twelve highlights – not a bad score!
SUDEN AIKA: Sisaret
Katariina Airas - vocals, Mora harp, flute
Karoliina Kantelinen - vocals, kantele, flute, percussion
Liisa Matveinen - vocals, kantele, percussion
Veera Voima - vocals, flute, percussion
Laika Records 2017
Translation: Hanna-Mari Latham