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Joose Keskitalo
En Lähde Surussa Anna Rahkonen , January 21st, 2019 14:04

The Finnish singer-songwriter mixes dark Nordic tones with warm folksiness

On Finnish singer-songwriter Joose Keskitalo’s ninth album, En lähde surussa, he pairs a lush, folksy instrumentation with very Finnish lyrics full of cryptic mentions of death, apocalypse and romance. His raw, jazz folk melodies are rhythmic and tactile – and at times they’re reminiscent of the traditional Finnish tango.

Each song features a warm earthiness. The instruments rattle and shake with life as the rosy glow of Keskitalo’s voice blankets over each tune. Many feature a comfortable lively intimacy – that feeling you have when the party’s gone on too long, and everyone’s having a drunken solo dance or contemplating their mortality. On ‘Nyt on sinun aikasi’, his lyrics gallop along with harmonica and saxophone, maintaining a gentle buoyancy. ‘Murtaudun suojan läpi’ is richly textured, with twinkling flutes cascading through. The album closes with ‘En lähde surussa’, a meandering almost-lullaby that concludes the album with a cavernous, dreamy finish.

After starting out in the 00s as part of Paavoharju, a psych-folk collective of ascetic Christians, and receiving loads of accolades for his solo work, Joose Keskitalo has just about mastered his craft. En lähde surussa is another brilliant exercise in connecting his enigmatic language with deeply visceral folk settings.