November 15, 2018
Folk metal band Korpiklaani started with folk music before turning metal. The roots of Korpiklaani can be traced back to a Sami folk music group under the name of “Shamaani Duo”, an “in-house restaurant band” created by Jonne Järveläin in 1993. An album of folk music, Hunka Lunka, was released under this name before Järvelä relocated and “Shamaani Duo” morphed into “Shaman”.
Shaman incorporated use of original Sámic music elements, and lyrics were sometimes in that language. The band had a unique entrancing atmosphere created by a monophonic synth that contrasted with the acoustic guitar, shamanic drum, and traditional vocals.
In 2003, Shaman morphed into Korpiklaani and the music took on a more conventional folk/metal style. The synth was replaced with traditional folk instruments and the traditional vocals were dropped. The lyrics related more to alcohol and partying. Many Finnish bands play music about alcohol, it’s a cultural thing. It’s probably a way to deal with the long, dark winters.
The name means “backwoods clan” in Finnish, a fact that may not prove useful but is nonetheless interesting.
Photo by Peero Lakanen.