Pristine Finnish forest folk.
Finish folk quartet Kardemimmit have been creating beautiful folk music for well over a decade but I had only just found all of their albums being placed onto Bandcamp. ‘Midnight Sun’ is their most recent release from 2018, re-released this month on Bandcamp. If you haven’t heard the glistening beauty of Kardemimmit before then I have to introduce you to their main instrument of choice.
Ladies, gentleman and others, I give you a Kantele.
A Kantele, to my untrained ear, is like a Finish hybrid of a harp and an autoharp. They come in different sizes and Kardemimmit uses several alongside their voice to create their pixie faun folk. At times like in tracks such as ‘Tailwind’ and ‘Glass Hail,’ the Kantele sounds like a harpsichord and a harp combined. Elsewhere it is like a heavenly zither. As they dual and combine to create lush rhythmic patterns and melodies, the music builds and rises. This works beautifully in tracks like ‘Outlander’ where the vocal quartet power their angelic voices like a tiny choir over the plucked strings.
In other areas of the album, Kardemimmit chooses to play things more ethereal. ‘Brides Dance’ plays with vocal and Kantele resonance to create an endless echo effect that is both beautiful and relaxing. The title track mixes with the more folksy barn style to give you a beautiful heroes journey theme you could hear in any fantasy film or novel. The album concludes with the most ambitious track ‘Lilac Road’ where that heroic journey is translated into a heartwarming struggle. I felt like I was listening to a Finish Loreena McKennitt. There is so much heart, pride and emotion in just that one track, it is worth the price of admission alone.
Thankfully the whole ‘Midnight Sun’ album is stunningly glorious from beginning to end. Not only have I discovered a new instrument that I find hugely expressive and full of range, but four ladies who can rock them and sing out with their hearts on their sleeves. Effortlessly moving from the quietest rustles in the forest to triumphant bellows from the mountain rocks, this is a band not to sleep on. Easily one of my favourite discoveries of 2021 to date. Go forth and discover Kardemimmit.
Recommended track: Myötätuuli – Tailwind
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