Pagan sounds from the depths of the Finnish forests! Pauanne rediscover the long-lost non-Christian tradition of Finnish folk music. The trio, fronted by Kukka Lehto, has searched through Helsinki’s music archives and unearthed exciting material from the early 20th century – a rich treasure of ideas! Their repertoire includes powerful curses as well as long-forgotten shepherd’s songs. In the eyes of the institutional Church, this folk music tradition is full of sin. After all, it doesn’t even shy away from making fun of the vicar’s boring sermon. Pauanne’s self-titled debut album is full of surprises; these tunes are rough around the edges and full of disrespect and have little in common with a more familiar nostalgic and jovial type of folk music.
Kukka Lehto (violin, keyboards) and Tero Pennanen (keyboards) are in charge of composition and arrangements. The experienced trio surprises with occasional glimpses of progressive rock, such as in the beautiful “Susiraja”. Janne Haavisto on drums and percussion provides the rhythmic backbone to the music.
The historical material used in these songs was collected by Kukka Lehto and Tero Pennanen. But Pauanne do not live in the past: The gentle “Rauta” bears some resemblance to Gotan Project’s lounge style and tracks like “Siihen Laihin Eläny” are somewhat reminiscent of Martyn Bennett, a Canadian-Scottish musician who brought traditional Celtic music into the here and now. The accompanying video is about a historical witch trial in 17th century Finland. One Helka Niilontytär was accused of performing pagan rituals in the woods. If you’re into spine-chilling films, you will enjoy this, as will feminists and feminists in the making.
On their first album, the Fins are influenced by old and new approaches. “Traditional beliefs know many practices that, today, seem exotic, to say the least. And given modern science and the ready availability of information, one would think that these beliefs should have died out by now. One would be wrong. You can pick up any magazine and you will find them very much alive in horoscopes and pieces about alternative healing methods. As you know, the wizard’s iron fence in old tales is supposed to protect us from all evils. And that is still the case today with border fences and walls”, explain Pauanne.
You can read about the traditional tales that inspired the musicians in the extensive booklet that comes with the album. And the three-piece is very proud to play instruments that, a century ago, were seen as sinful by the institutional Church.
With their debut, Pauanne won the prestigious newcomer award at Etno-Gaala in Helsinki earlier this year!