Pekko Käppi, champion of the jouhikko bowed lyre and singer, has ventured into a rough rock idiom with his band K:H:H:L and gained much attention beyond the folk music scene. But as if to remind us of where his core is, in the same year as K:H:H:L’s third album he released a solo album on which he mainly performs traditional songs all by himself. With everything else removed, the most distinguishable elements of his music remain: his unique voice and brilliant jouhikko playing. The album has been recorded in the spirit of early field recordings – on a reel-to-reel recorder in a living room. This is an interesting premise, as the method captures the time and the space in a way that studio recordings do not.
The songs Käppi has chosen for this collection (the name of which hints that a follow-up is likely) are songs he has sung and performed for years. True to his aesthetics, there are many songs in which the lyrics are dark or even brutal. Lighter moments include a speedy version of Hevonen se heiniä [Horse and hay], a hilarious song in the rekilaulu tradition that is loved by many Finnish folk musicians.
Some K:H:H:L fans may find this album too traditional and plain, but for many others it is a lovely intimate moment with the musician.
PEKKO KÄPPI: Finnish folk songs vol.1
Helmi Levyt HELMI-125, 2019