A girl band which just happens to play traditional folk tunes from Ostrobothnia instead of something more mainstream. The four women of Enkel tell us tradition is their superpower, their take on this genre is a very welcome one. First of all, the quality in itself is high, everything is very well played and sung.
But what I like the most about Enkel is how they treat tradition. Combining two melodeons with kantele and viola, they pretty much abandon the basic roles in today’s traditional pelimanni band, with no separate bass-and-chords section at all. This means they are naturally pushed towards a fresh take on the repertoire, and the result is a set of very freely breathing tunes with a lot of air in the arrangements. While still sounding like 21st century music, it's actually a jump back in history, to the times when pelimanni tunes were mostly performed by solo players.
What especially steals my heart is their interpretation of the sung tunes. Although the lyrics shed light on the hard life of women while offering some erotic spices as well, Enkel is never pushing it. The songs are delivered in a straightforward yet smooth manner. It feels very refreshing somehow – and when it comes to women's rights, it is interesting to hear these issues presented almost whispered. It certainly makes you listen even more carefully.
ENKEL: We are Enkel
Leija Lautamaja – accordion, vocals
Miia Palomäki – accordion, vocals
Maija Pokela – kantele, vocals
Iida Savolainen – viola, vocals
Nordic Notes 2018