There used to be such a thing as Finnish bagpipes, but the instrument sank into obscurity for 200 years until Petri Prauda (also known as a player of stringed instruments in Frigg, Hyperborea, etc.) had the notion of re-creating it with instrument builder Yrjänä Ermala. Accordingly, Hausjärvi beat marks the recording debut not only of the band named Päre but also of the Finnish bagpipes – and a groovy debut it is, too.
This is a disc of delightfully pompous acoustic stadium folk that without any doubt will have people dancing. Described as all-natural ethno-disco, the repertoire consists of repetitive kantele and jouhikko tunes and fiddle melodies from both Finnish-speaking and Swedish-speaking regions of Finland.
Everything is bound together by the band’s watertight ensemble work and particularly the rich sound world of the rarer instruments: not only Prauda on the bagpipes but also Tapani Varis on the jaw harps, folk clarinet (liru) and overtone flute, Piia Kleemola on the violin and octave violin, Jarmo Romppanen on the ten-string mandola. Everything floats over the percussion kit intricately managed by Oskari Lehtonen.
Hausjärvi beat by Päre was worth waiting for – after two centuries the bagpipes ride again!
Translation: Jaakko Mäntyjärvi
Zebo Records 2016 ZBR01