Snekka - Mot
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Snekka
Mot (Mika Oli Todistettava)
Finnish Folk Music Institute

cd cover Snekka was the 2004 Kaustinen Folk Music Festival 'Ensemble of the Year.' Based on their debut CD Mot, it is apparent why. Snekka have a knack for creating elegant, fully realized compositions, whether delicate or rock-oriented. Each tune is distinctive and remarkably mature for such a young band; further, there is a delicious retro quality to some of their music which, when filtered through the hands of the quintet, emerges as fresh and innovative.

Listen!
Snekka is an 'ideas' band, but they do not come off as dry academics. Surely it takes some discipline to produce music this tightly-scored yet playful, and Snekka hit this mark by being adept at establishing a mood. "Rumien Yo" leads off the set with fiddle-driven, strident folk-rock la Hoven Droven. The dive-bomb bass and relentless drums set the listener up for excitement. On "Hallfastin polska," the band takes the Finnish fondness for polska and converts it into a tribal rite, the pounding percussion offset by the heft and verve of fiddle and accordion.

One never knows what to expect song-to-song, or even within each tune. "Akvaariossa" reminds me of spy music, or some jazzy Finnish noir. "Horsmavalssi" is lovely, the sweep and swirl of strings lending the tune a classic 'deep woods' feeling that is an aural landmark of Nordic music. Snekka amaze us with their control of tempo, from slow to aggressive and back again.

A highlight of the album, "Vuokralainen," shows just how much Snekka can pack into a mere 4:48. Led off by a poem read over background fuzz, the tune quickly drops into dark tidepools of sound that reflect nasty guitar power-chords rippling through the song. Rock driven and spacious, "Vuokralainen" runs through several distinct sections, leaving listeners to marvel again at Snekka's cinematic compositions.

Mot is an auspicious beginning for a dynamic band, and Snekka are a must-hear group for lovers of adventurous Finnish music. - Lee Blackstone

CD available from cdRoots


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