The Finnish folk group Värttinä has been a major player in the world music scene for over 30 years. “Viena” marks their fourteenth album, and it is a beautiful combination of both old and new.
The lineup of singers has always been a constant evolution for Värttinä, from the band’s early days as a 15-singer children’s vocal group to the three-women trio of recent years. Folk singer and ethnomusicologist Karoliina Kantelinen is a new addition to the group. Her voice blends perfectly with the other two singers, Mari Kaasinen and Susan Aho. Continue reading →
Right now I’m more in editing (and rewriting) mode in my work than I am first-draft writing. But no matter what I’m writing, music is my tool for getting me out of daily life mode and into composing and storytelling mode.
Here’s a sampling of what I’ve been listening to lately:
AOMusic – Edge Walkers
Nothing like soothing instrumental music when I just want to let my mind relax. To properly brainstorm, I find that I need to be relaxed–or, at least, not all mentally involved in or stressed about something. The music of AO never fails to pull my mind into the music, and, by extension, pull me into the worlds I’m creating.
Gjallarhorn – Suvetar
Since I’m writing a story that’s loosely inspired by the legends of Finland, it’s almost necessary that I listen to Finnish folk music and/or songs about their mythology. Besides, it’s a cool music video.
Ulla Pirttijärvi – Mattharaku askai
The Sami people of arctic Finland are important players in my story, so I use their music for both research and for inspiration. Ulla’s songs are some of my favorites.
The Two Towers – The Riders of Rohan
High fantasy, dramatic battles, and the Viking-like people of Rohan – what’s not inspirational about this track from Lord of the Rings? Specifically, though, Howard Shore’s amazing score (all of it – not just this track) plain gets me excited about storytelling.
Eivør – Min Modir (My Mother)
Besides the fact that Eivør makes it onto almost any “music favorites” or “currently playing” list, the tribal arrangement of this song is powerful and empowering. Eivør’s voice is otherworldly, and always puts me in a writing frame of mind.
Valravn – Marsk
More instrumental music, this time with a primitive and folk-ish sound. Perfect for conjuring up images of people and places in my fantasy world.