in Reviews

Exquisite beauty and fun

by Fiona Talkington

Have the legendary Värttinä produced their best ever album after over 30 years together? Viena, their thirteenth studio album, marks a return to their roots which grew out of the excitement of visits back to Karelia to hear, and be inspired by the last surviving runo singers.

Audiences throughout the world are well rewarded in the outstanding quality of the performances and the variety and thrill of the material. There’s a real sense of connection back to Värttinä’s early days when they were children performing traditional music in the village of Rääkkylä, but their decades in the music business have also given them the scope and experience to explore many musical paths along the way all of which feed into a sense of permission to celebrate their sound and enjoy being themselves. Listen to the stunning and riotous “Kanaset” for example, bristling with energy: this is Värttinä at their very best. The fiery, spitting, snarling vocal spells are still there, bewitching and intoxicating as ever, and the band, which has been through many changes over the years, provides exquisite beauty and fun.

If the die-hard Värttinä fans put Viena up there with the best, newcomers to one of the finest bands anywhere will find this exceptional CD a compelling place to start.

KHY Suomen Musiikki KHYCD075