There are many sides to Maija Kauhanen. This is old news to anyone who knows her bands, but her debut album shows that it only takes one talented musician with her kantele, percussion and versatile voice to create an impressive musical journey. Well, almost: the producer Colin Bassin, of course, put the final touches to the album.
Many of the tracks develop slowly, such as the opening track Tarinaisi (Fairy Tale), not throwing all its cards on the table right away. Sinisilmä (Blue Eyes), with rhythmic kantele-playing, is pop enough to enter the radio waves, and mystic Alttarille (To the Altar) would make a wonderful duet with Pekko Käppi. If it’s not clear by this point, the title track Raivopyörä (Rage Wheel) shows how impressive she is as singer as well. She plays all the instruments – and, by the way, she masters the palette all by herself live as well.
It might sound gimmicky and show-off, but when it’s done well enough, the method of creating the sounds becomes secondary. The compositions, deeply rooted in tradition, are catchy and fascinating.
This could well be a future classic in Finnish folk music.
Raivopyörä won the Emma Award 2017 in the folk album category. Maija Kauhanen received the Award of the Newcomer of the Year at Finland’s first Ethnogala on 7 November 2017. Read more about the winners and nominated artists and groups here.
Maija Kauhanen's concert calendar can be found here.