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Tellu Virkkala, Ville Kangas, Rasmus Lyberth, Kristian Blak
Piniartut (The Hunters)
Tutl (

cd cover There is power in united diversity, and the joint product of four talented artists from three countries all spread across the northern latitudes, named Piniartut ("The Hunters"), is outstanding and ageless proof. Tellu Virkkala and Ville Kangas from Finland, join Rasmus Lyberth from Greenland and Kristian Blak from the Faroe Islands, to integrate traditional music from their respective Nordic homelands using hunting and fishing as the focus. On paper the varied styles, motley of traditional timbres but also continental instrumentation seem a risky venture. However, the male/ female, young/old vocals, mora harp, spoken word, bouzouki, violin, piano, organ, double bass, throat singing, percussion, sound effects and electric guitar are a spectrum of complimentary effect throughout ten tracks. In fact, unless the players and orchestra are imagined as one band, from one place, it is difficult to account for the uncanny unity of what happens here.

The songs defy categorization and idiom. They are acoustically descriptive, often subdivided, littered with sturdy tunes and enclosed in an expansive harmonic envelope. What resonates in this atmosphere is an ancient call, a simple human virtue, long declining if not totally forgotten in most industrialized places: that of pure being. But the enormous blessing of a record like Piniartut does not stop there. While traditional music heard on any CD from somewhere else in the world is always a resource-saving alternate to tourism, the Piniartut quartet create an even wiser aesthetic object that offers glimpses of this and something beyond it. As a whole it represents a mythic place one cannot physically visit; as a marriage of three folk sound-worlds, it can only be seen by the imagination. To the clean ear, "The Hunters," a suite of songs and recitations, feels like a movie made of sound; wild, elemental, honest, wondrous, vast and human - the uncorrupted sort. Piniartut is that rare case where a pluralism of essential lore and innovative studio assembly come together to create the best experience a recording can offer and for which no other musical event can substitute; a beautiful living retreat to a place you've never been and hopefully have not yet forgotten.- Steve Taylor

CD available at cdRoots

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Audio: "Vekka" / (p)©2001 Tutl Records, Faroe Islands, used by express permission

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