Leena Joutsenlahti

Makale is a journey: a road and another road. Endless variations without a theme, melodies soaring over a base note in the lowest depths, aesthetics that have withstood the test of millenia. Poised on the forest path with her pipe is a shepherdess, listening to the echo. Taking her whistle from its pouch she confides to the echo her joys and sorrows. A versatile musician: (almost ten on this record). A matchless teacher of fanciful variation and improvisation.

After completing her studies of the classical recorder, Leena Joutsenlahti was one of the first to apply for the Sibelius Academy's new Folk Music Department in 1983. She soon became known as a member of the Niekku folk music ensemble, later from concerts with many other groups and recordings, in theatre and dance productions. This first disc of her very own contains memories of many journeys.

The life of anyone intrested in ancient folk instruments is not an easy one: the archives are silent, the facts scattered far and wide. There is little to catch hold of. Thus the only alternative is to use one's imagination and to journey into the past, to drink in the archaic features of the Finnish mind. Along the way, the traveller may be astonished to encounter peasant women as musicians. From the cliff faces bounced the melodies heard by Carl Axel Gottlund at Juva in 1815 as the maidens played upon their horns, and as they whistled in the forests. Or as these same lasses set the pace for the dancing at a wedding, while \"the peasant lads drank themselves under the table, a few played cards and a few sang the poems of ancient times\".

And what about Liisa Pessi, a woman of 72 whom A .0. Väisänen met and photographed and whose melodies he jotted down a hundred years later on the Karelian Isthmus, where \"as the sun lights up the evening sky, the shrill dance tunes played by the shepherd's on their horns can be heard kilometres away amid the tinkling of the cowbells\". A firm grasp of the horn and a farseeing gaze: she could be a great-great-grandmother, at least in dreams and music.

The chaos along the road has given way to an ordered musical world: emotion and will, pure and burning, cleansed by the heat. Maybe this world is an unusual one, after the polskas and waltzes of western Finland. Sähköpaimen (Live wire) is like a premonitory dream operating at many levels, a shepherd's nightmare. And although Kariitti and Sähköpaimen may, side by side, seem like two diametrically opposed extremes, they too, on closer hearing, are found to inhabit the same harmonius world. An archaic mindscapes in the modern world. Valssi (Waltz) sums up the whole imaginary journey, the coarse, archive sound of the beginning being moulded by the force of invention into a pure echo of eras past and the joyous asynchrony of instruments in consorts. It is strange how only the very latest music technology seems to be able to capture the most archaic sound of all, to accompany the mind on a journey into the past. The lifelong project of Leena Joutsenlahti to gain an insight into the essence of variation relying solely on the memory, and to appreciate the aesthetics and feel for life of Liisa Pessi and the lasses at Juva has produced music impossible to describe in words. It simply has to be heard!

Heikki Laitinen
Olarin Musiikki
Publishing year: 
Recording year: 

Producer Heikki Laitinen
Recorded by Teemu Korpipää, Timo Väänänen, Janne Viksten
Mixed by Teemu Korpipää, Janne Viksten, Leena Joutsenlahti

1. Pollonesse

Comp. trad., arr. Leena Joutsenlahti, Timo Väänänen.

Leena Joutsenlahti: treble recorder
Timo Väänänen: 21-string kantele

2. Waltz

Comp. trad., arr. Leena Joutsenlahti.

Leena Joutsenlahti: wooden flute

3. Last

Comp. Leena Joutsenlahti, arr. Hanni Autere, Eero Grundström, Leena Joutsenlahti.

Hanni Autere: fiddle
Eero Grundström: harmonium
Leena Joutsenlahti: descant recorder

4. One rose

Comp. trad.

Leena Joutsenlahti: song

5. Road

Comp. Leena Joutsenlahti.

Leena Joutsenlahti: wooden flute

6. Pluus

Comp. Leena Joutsenlahti, arr. Leena Joutsenlahti, Topi Korhonen, Ricardo Padilla, Janne Viksten.

Leena Joutsenlahti: naturscale flute
Topi Korhonen: guitars
Ricardo Padilla: percussion plate and cahón

7. Kariitti

Comp. Leena Joutsenlahti, arr. Leena Joutsenlahti, Anita Lehtola, Minna Padilla.

Leena Joutsenlahti: wooden horn
Anita Lehtola: song
Minna Padilla: fiddle

8. Live wire

Comp. Leena Joutsenlahti, Teemu Korpipää, arr. Leena Joutsenlahti, Teemu Korpipää.

Leena Joutsenlahti: herdman's flute
Teemu Korpipää: sampler

9. Maria's song

Comp. Leena Joutsenlahti, lyrics Jukka Larsson, arr. Leena Joutsenlahti.

Leena Joutsenlahti: song, 15-string kantele

10. Makale

Comp. Leena Joutsenlahti, arr. Leena Joutsenlahti.

Leena Joutsenlahti: wooden flute, harmonium

11. Another road

Comp. Leena Joutsenlahti.

Leena Joutsenlahti: wooden flute