The Music of Kalevala

Have you ever heard of the epic of Kalevala? Did you know that J. R. R. Tolkien used it as his inspiration for the tragic love story of Túrin Turambar and his sister Nienor in Silmarillion?

Today I’m talking about Kalevala, a collection of Finnish mythology, at Debra Kristi’s blog as part of her brilliant Immortal Monday series. I tell the myth of Louhi, the Sorceress of the North. Head to Debra’s blog to read the story.

To give you a taste of what the Finnish language and some of our music sounds like, I wanted to share with you three songs I really like. Two of the songs are played with kantele (also called kannel), our national instrument.

In Loituma’s Eriskummallinen Kantele (Strange Kantele), a woman sings her version of the origin of kantele and kantele plays in the background. In Kalevala Väinämöinen built the first instrument from the jaws of a giant pike. But according to Loituma, kantele was made from sorrow. And indeed, much of the Finnish music is melancholy, especially the old folk songs.

In the next one Mitsuko Sato plays a song with a concert kantele that has 38 strings.

For the last song I wanted to include something more modern. Here’s Aamutähti (Morning Star) by CMX, my favourite band. (For a random detail, CMX stands for Cloaca Maxima, the Roman sewer system)


What do you think of folk music? And do listen to music sang on a different language? I’d also love to hear some music recommendations. Any genre is welcome 🙂


  1. Jennette Marie Powell
    Aug 21, 2012

    Thanks for sharing some cool culture with us!

    Mostly what I know of Finnish music is Nightwish and Humppa. 😀 That’s about it, LOL!
    Jennette Marie Powell recently posted..My Town Monday: The Road, Nature, and HistoryMy Profile

    • Reetta Raitanen
      Aug 23, 2012

      *laughs* Oh my, where did you learn about humppa? That’s one music type I’m not particularly fond of. But older people like to dance to the tune.

  2. Karen McFarland
    Aug 22, 2012

    What fabulous music Reetta! I especially enjoyed Mitsuko Sato. Yes, I do enjoy listening to folk music. Thank you for sharing this music from your homeland. 🙂
    Karen McFarland recently posted..Olympics or Surfing?My Profile

    • Reetta Raitanen
      Aug 23, 2012

      Thank you, Karen. Kantele played solo sounds really beautiful to me too.

  3. Coleen Patrick
    Aug 22, 2012

    That string music is very beautiful! Thanks for educating me today Reetta. 🙂
    Coleen Patrick recently posted..Love to the Tenth DegreeMy Profile

    • Reetta Raitanen
      Aug 23, 2012

      My pleasure, Coleen 🙂

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