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World Music CD Reviews Europe

SANTTU KARHU AND TALVISOVAT

By MARTY LIPP
Published May 31, 2006

Hyvastit Karjala
Hot Igloo

The people of little-known Karelia were split between Finland and the former Soviet Republic, fracturing an already-disappearing culture that lived amid frozen lands. With the demise of the Soviet Union and worldwide interest in regional music, we hear from Talvisovat via the Karelian capital Petrozavodsk. The group claims to be the first making music in the native language, but the Swedish-Finnish band Hedningarna explored the area in its Karelia Visa. Still, give the poor country its props—it can’t be easy garnering an audience when you’re rocking out in a dying tongue. Talvisovat describes itself as “ethnofuturistic rock,” though truth be told the folk elements fade after the first couple tracks and reappear only occasionally. The group does write some good rock, however, and lead singer Santtu Karhu has a distinctive deep rasp reminiscent of serious thras