Though they have only been around for three years, the quartet Suistamon Sähkö have grown into quite a phenomenon, especially in the realm of folk music and folk dance (though actively reaching out to new audiences as well). Their roots are to be found in the artistic doctorate of accordionist Anne-Mari Kivimäki, but their second album shows that the band is more than just an experiment in combining Karelian vibes with electronic dance beats.
The band is clearly finding its own style, where the lyrics are still based in Karelian landscapes and Finnish history, but with a more political content than before. Suistamon Sähkö’s second disc is more deeply rooted in rap culture and its tendency towards social commentary. One of the most powerful songs is dedicated to Tampere and the Finnish Civil War of 1918, with an outspoken message against hatred in our own times. An interesting connection is built between the wave of migration to Suojärvi in Karelia in 1922 and today’s world with startups and Slush. The lyrics are mostly quite free in structure, often pouring out in long flowing sequences. Sometimes I found myself missing a chorus or something repeated where one could join in.
Though the music works well enough on disc, I definitely recommend enjoying the band in a live performance, where vocalists Reetta-Kaisa Iles and Tuomas Juntunen are really able to show off their dual professions as both dancers and musicians. The musical core is provided by Kivimäki and Eero Grundström (Sväng, Maria Kalaniemi, etc.), the latter now also showing his skills with the mic.
SUISTAMON SÄHKÖ: Etkot, pectopaн ja etnoteknoa
Kihtinäjärvi Records/Nordic Notes 2018