Finland: Korpiklaani

Today I would like to present to you a authentic Finnish band, Korpiklaani. Korpiklaani now numbers six members: Jonne Järvelä (vocals, guitar), Teemu Eerola (violin), Kalle “Cane” Savijärvi(guitar), Matti “Matson” Johansson (drums), Jarkko Aaltonen (bass) and Juho Kauppinen (accordion). The band finds its origins in Shamaani Duo, an in-house restaurant folk music band founded in 1993, which released an album before switching from folk to folk metal as the band Shaman. Shaman released two albums (Idja, 1999, and Shamaniac, 2002) before being renamed to Korpiklaani. As Korpiklaani, the band had released 7 albums by 2011: Spirit of the Forest (2003), Voice of Wilderness (2005), Tales Along This Road (2006), Tervaskanto (2007), Korven Kuningas (2008), Karkelo (2009), and Ukon Wacka (2011).

Taking with them the experience of playing folk music in the Shamaani Duo years, the band members of Shaman sung in the Sami language (the Sami people being an ancient ethnic minority of northern Europe) and used a shamanic drum and yoik vocals (you can find a video of traditional yoiking here). Shamans are tribal priests, messengers between the material and spiritual world, and though the archetypical shaman is Siberian, the figure of the shaman actually exist in a variety of different cultures (spanning the width of the globe, from Korean to Native American). The change to Korpiklaani meant the adoption of a style closer to more conventional folk metal. However, according to the vocalist Jonne Jarvela, Korpiklaani’s music is still a bit “too finnish” for Finland as he claims it would be seen as “old people’s music with heavy metal guitars“. Indeed, many “traditional” elements were kept, such as the fast music style of humppa (see this video for an example of humppa). Also, as indicates the meaning of “Korpiklaani” (Forest, or Wilderness Clan), the band has kept a very Finnish attraction to nature (Finland has the largest forested area in Europe, with 86% of the country being covered by forests), which gives birth to unique music videos showing the band members coming out of little huts in the middle of the forest:

For those who prefer something more calm, I recommend music from their Shaman period, such as Odda Mailbmi, Kanohtalavlla or Il Lea Voibmi. If you like the heavier Korpiklaani style, you may want to have a look at Keep on Galloping, where you can admire them playing electric guitars in the middle of a forest (without huts this time), with antlers on the microphone, and protecting the trees with a Finnish voodoo (shamanic?) puppet. Hunting Song is great too, with its snippets from the old Finnish countryside, as well as Vakirauta. Heavy drinking being also traditionally Finnish, you may also find contentment in Korpiklaani’s powerful, lightning-speed drinking song: Happy Little Boozer, Beer Beer and Vodka. Oh, they also made one called Tequila and sung in Spanish, probably for South American fans. Don’t forget Let’s Drink. And Gluc Gluc Gluc. Ah, no, wait, the last one is actually an Italian parody. Well, anyway, you get the idea…