Värttinä is the crown jewel of Finnish folk/world music
with a history already more than 30 years old (the group began as
a children's project in the village of Rääkkylä in
1983). Their international breakthrough followed the release of
album Oi Dai in 1991. In an illustrious musical career, Värttinä
has recorded for such labels as Nonesuch, Realworld, Rockadillo
and Westpark Music, and collaborated with A. R. Rahman in composing
the music for the theatrical adaptation of The Lord of the Rings,
which played in Toronto in 2006 and London in 2007.
Värttinä's trademark has always been razor-sharp harmonies
sung by powerful leading ladies, currently the founding member Mari
Kaasinen with Susan Aho and Karoliina Kantelinen. Viena is Värttinä's
thirteenth studio album and its music was inspired by the trip the
group made to the Viena Karelian folklore villages in Russia, where
they had unique encounters with the last surviving "rune singers"
in the region. These singers are the last living connection to an
ancient culture that is thousands of years old, and out of which
Kalevala folk poetry tradition was born. During their journey, Värttinä
enjoyed remarkable nature experiences, which have also inspired
the album (as the natural world informs so much of their repertoire).
The Viena album is a tribute to Värttinä's Viena Karelian