Monday, March 9, 2009
V/A - "Finnischer Tango" (1998 Trikont)
The first time I remember hearing Finnish tango I was as a lad sitting out on my aunt's balcony at her apartment complex in Turku. The melancholy sounds were wafting out from another apartment across the way and I sat there, transfixed. This was not the music I was accustomed to hearing in Finland, but it was a quintessentially Finnish sound. What I heard as a kid out on the islands to the west of Turku was more Swedish and polka influenced, more upbeat. But these sad sounds spoke to my lonely Finnish soul. Years later I went in search of some CDs for my very own and was overwhelmed by the sheer quantity of artists and releases. By then I knew of the "Finnish Frank Sinatra", Olavi Virta and picked up a few of his CDs (from a numbered series well into the fifties as I recall). But a comprehensive, concise compilation eluded me.
Back in the States I resumed my search via internet and found this comp - from a label in Munich, Germany of all places. It contains selections spanning the years 1915(!) when tango first swept the world through 1996, just as they were putting together this comp, apparently.
Tango arrived in Finland and never left. It mutated into a minor key and became the backing for crooners' tales of heartbreak and loss. It truly became "The Blues of Finland". It reached it's peak of popularity during The Winter War with Russia just prior to the outbreak of World War II and declined - but never disappeared - during the British Invasion Rock'n'Roll years. Then a resurgence happened: young artists started appropriating their parents' music and giving it a rock twist in the Seventies and beyond (to best effect by Rauli Badding Somerjoki and Topi Sorsakoski & Agents, included here).
The traditional orchestrated and accordion-heavy tangos live on to this day, and there is an annual Tango Festival every summer.
In many ways this release reminds me of a Finnish version of the O Brother, Where Art Thou? soundtrack, exposing a whole new audience, world-wide, to a quintessential music, this time from Finland. And it's every bit as good as that record.
Get it HERE!
As a bonus I have included a 14-page PDF of the CD's excellent booklet, featuring background, biographies, and translated lyrics - Enjoy!
Watch a lovely little Super8 tango film:
Arctic Finnish winter, small pub & tango. Kaamos is the time of the winter when the sun does not rise at all. Film by Hannu Nieminen
01. Siks’ oon mä suruinen (Olavi Virta)
02. Pieni sydän (Harmony Sisters)
03. Tanko laulu (Ilvari Kainulainen)
04. Liljankukka (Henry Theel)
05. Elsa, kohtalon lapsi (Martti Innanen)
06. Kaiken vaihtaisin tangoon (Markus Allan)
07. Satumaa (Reijo Taipale)
08. Itämaista rakkautta (Pauli Granfelt)
09. Tyttö tiskin takaa (Lasse Santakankaan Yhtye)
10. Syvä kuin meri (Lasse Santakankaan Yhtye)
11. Itämaista rakkautta (Topi Sorsakoski & Agents)
12. Laulu suomalaisesta maalaiskunnasta (Rauli Badding Somerjoki)
13. Hyljätty tanssilava (Kari Kuuva)
14. Ich mit meiner Braut im Parlamentspark (M A Numminen)
15. Rautalankatango (Brita Koivunen)
16. Tango pelargonia (Kari Kuuva)
17. Kohtalon tango (Eino Grön)
18. Täysikuu (Olavi Virta)
19. Valkea sisar (Georg Malmstén)
20. Unohtumaton koti (Olavi Virta)
21. Unikuva (Annikki Tähti)
22. Vain yhtä pyydän (Olavi Virta)
23. Kotkan ruusu (Arja Saijonmaa)
24. Pilvet karkaa niin minäkin (Markus Allan)