Sunday, December 5, 2010

Finnish Cultural Assimilation Lesson # 33 - Rautalanka

Yet another installment in my series designed to assist the immigrant to Finland in their quest to assimilate themselves into the host culture.

Listen to the radio for an hour in Finland and you'll hear Rautalanka or music with its roots in Rautalanka at least a few times.

Rautalanka (iron wire) has its origins in the music of The Shadows from Britain and The Ventures from the U.S. Rautalanka is distinguishable by its clear melodies, upbeat tempo, and heavy use of tape echo effects with minimal overdrive and virtually no fuzz.

The melodies of rautalanka tend to be in minor keys and being based on Finnish and Slavic folk tunes, can be a bit heavy on the melancholy.

The golden age of Rautalanka in its purest form - two electric guitars, one electric bass, drums, no vocals - was from 1960 to 1963. Rautalanka forms the basis for much of popular music in Finland. Iskelmä (also know as schlager), a type of Finnish popular music often features Rautalanka guitar. The melodic Finnish heavy metal that the world has come to know has its roots in the rautalanka style.

Some Rautalanka videos for your enjoyment.

The Sounds - Emma

Emma as played by The Sounds was the first true Finnish Rautalanka hit.

The Strangers - Kolme Kitaraa (Three Guitars)

The Strangers were the first rautalanka group in Finland. This clip is from the clip from the 1963 film Launtai Leikit which was directed by Mauno Kurkvaara.

An example of Rautalanka guitar style in iskelmä-type popular music:

Topi Sorsakoski & Agents - Olet Rakkain (cover of And I Love her by Lennon/McCartney)

This song features the guitar of Esa Pulliainen, most likely Finland's greatest guitarist.

An example of Rautalanka metal:

Viikate - Leikatun Konjakin Salaisuus (The Secret of Cut Cognac) (cut cognac refers to Jaloviina, a much-consumed Finnish alcohol product)

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