The Mystic Revelation of Teppo Repo, an ensemble created for a student project by wind player Otto Eskelinen in 2013, are now releasing their fifth album. Today, the band has of course progressed far beyond a mere project, yet it remains, regrettably, known only to a select few. On the other hand, the label (Helmi Levyt) is nothing if not dedicated to cult material.
The band was inspired by the musical heritage of Teodor ‘Teppo’ Repo, a herdsman musician who became known in Finland in the 1930s. On the band’s very first album, Repo’s heritage was given a wholly original new incarnation, merging influences from dub reggae and old-school hip-hop, not forgetting electronics. Eskelinen and bass player Eero Tikkanen soon added percussionist Arwi Lind to the ensemble.
Those elements can still be found in the band’s music, but there is now even an element of electronic aesthetics in the powerful acoustic mix, and more to the point, there are no tunes by Repo on the disc reviewed here. The melodic arcs are firmly rooted in the tradition, but otherwise there is a wealth of influences from around the world, including jazz.
Joined by a couple of guest artists, this trio has once again produced a visionary album with a great deal of variety. The swing is often infectious – one longs to dance at a live gig performed by this band! And by the way, Eskelinen’s expressive music-making on a variety of instruments can also be heard on his recently released solo album Pindarin sävel (Helmi Levyt).
THE MYSTIC REVELATION OF TEPPO REPO: OI TE KAMUISET
Helmi Levyt HELMI-140, 2020
Translation: Jaakko Mäntyjärvi