Folk you!

{mosimage}For the 13th time, over 3,000 people got together in January with 77 folk bands and 36 folk dance groups for a 24hours folk-cruise. Folklandia could be your sweetest dream…or your worst nightmare!

900 performers coming from six different countries – Finland and Sweden of course, but also Denmark, Great Britain, Hungary and Russia – singing playing and dancing from 7,30 in the afternoon, the time the ferry leaves from Turku, to 4 pm the following day. Thankfully, for the organizer Pispalan Sottisi, the term folk comprises quite a lot, from old fashioned Finnish violin music to popular melodies from Eastern Africa to Scandinavian Tex-Mex.

Folklandia-cruise takes place the second weekend in January and is usually full-booked almost a year beforehand.. This year it was on the 11th and 12th of January. The amount of people getting down form buses and gathering at the port was quite astonishing, considering also that most of them were definitely young, a lot of them teenagers.

The organizers provide everybody with a detailed program of the festival, giving additional info about the performers. Nevertheless their amazing variety makes you feel a bit in trouble when it’s time to choose what to go and see, just as if you were in front of a buffet table, hungry enough to feel like eating everything, but with just a normal-sized dish in your hand.

From Carelian dimension to Swedish delight
So, in order to taste a bit of everything, the evening started with Bill Hota and the Pulvers, who have been defined as the Sex Pistols of Finnish folk music, mainly because of their lyrics. Interesting but not really exciting, the more so since the roughness of the lyrics is not entirely perceived by the ear of a foreigner!

Much more interesting were the Folkswagen, who sing theirs personal folk rock in three languages, Finnish, Russian and Carelian. The group was founded some 8 years ago, their music a sort of Eastern country music clearly influenced by their ‘social’ interest in Russia and Carelia. The lyrics deal with lost Russian girlfriends and today’s hang over, or bitterly describe Finnish vodka-tourism. The singer, Timo Munne, looks your ordinary next door guy but when singing turns into a sort of charismatic figure, supported by a band who’s certainly professional and passionate. Not to be missed are the soviet pins on the singer’s vest!

A short run to another deck allowed you to get familiar with Ranarim from Sweden, or as they pointed out Skåne. Beautiful female voices – the two singers perform as if they’ve been on stage for ever – and actually the band has toured extensively in Europe and oversea – energetic and enthusiastic musicians turn the short set into a lively, powerful and very enjoyable spectacle.

The Yön tanssit again showed how the word folk can assume the most different meaning: from the local folk groups of amateurs to the hilarious Absolut Finland, two dancers clad in suites right from Starsky and Hutch describing Finland and its custom and tradition in a satyrical and entertaining way

Early morning hours were devoted to more rockish bands: not so memorable Celtic influenced Dagàn, and Pohjannaula, whose rock is flavored with ‘sciamanist influences’.

When the last band finishes, at 5.30 am, nobody would bet that in a couple of hours musicians would start performing again, in every corner available, while the audience rushes to the buffet restaurant, the cafes and the duty free, eager to get their cans of beer before getting back to Turku.

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