Antti Paalanen - Meluta
A shaman, a magical weaver of ancient healing spells...
No, not all Finnish accordion players of recent times can be called that, but I just had to try and see what that kind of opening line would look like, because I'm somewhat at a loss for words. So I will start by borrowing a few from my Finnish colleague Jyrki Kallio, writing about "Class of 99," the 15th anniversary concert to celebrate The Common Folk Club in Tampere.
"Preceded by Puhti's boisterous song "Sipiläs," our space was then invaded by the noisy 3-row squeezebox of the grand vizier himself, Antti Paalanen. Having contemplated the characteristics of his instrument thoroughly, he has arrived at a clear answer of his very own. In the hands of the man from South Ostrobothnia the accordion is manhandled in a manner that hammers intensive shamanism into wolfram carbide, in a furnace of growling, throat-bellowing and progressive surrealism. The man and his accordion dove hand in hand into waters so deep that upon surfacing, having spent his last lungful of oxygen, the listener has the sense of having visited the furthermost frontiers of unexplainability."
Unexplainability may not even be a word in English, but in Finnish, "selittämättömyys" sums it up perfectly.
"Class of 99" was only the second time I've experienced Antti Paalanen, so I have some catching-up to do. This is his third album and the first on a "major" label -- major in a roots music sense, since Rockadillo has been bringing Piirpauke, Wimme Saari and others to all parts of the globe for a long time.
Paalanen has been very busy for years, both studying for a doctorate at the Sibelius Academy and playing in many different bands, most notably in Hehkumo with Puhti's Anne-Mari Kivimäki and Pauli Hanhiniemi, a Finnish rock star turned rootsy.
The first thing you need to see and hear is his energetic video visualization of some tracks. "Meluta (We Wanna Make Some Noise)" goes a long way in explaining it all. "Kraftsman" can be said to be more of the same, with occasional softer spots. "Breathe" from his previous effort Breathbox, is slightly calmer, but still quite breathless.
RootsWorld depends on your support.
Contribute in any amount
and get our weekly e-newsletter.