Thursday, 31 October 2013

Buena Vodka Social Club

by Leningrad Cowboys

On this all-original album, Leningrad Cowboys sound great — even without Alexandrov Ensemble. Maybe not all songs are everybody’s shot of vodka, but they all are worth sampling. If I may advise, don’t buy the MP3 album, get the real thing, if only for the exclusive explosive cocktail recipes. For example, here’s the song:

And here’s the recipe:

Take 50 liters of quality vodka and pour it into a bathtub, crash 5 balalaikas and throw them in. Sprinkle some gunpowder on top and dive in naked with a few yellow rubber ducks. Take a water pistol, fill it and enjoy! After a few drinks, call your neighbors and ask them to visit. Remember to repeat three times everything you say... Nothing’s better than a confused neighbor.
You’ll never drink alone.

Saturday, 26 October 2013

Na Afriki

by Dobet Gnahoré

After listening to Na Afriki, I went to check some of her live videos on YouTube. What an amazing woman: composer, singer, dancer, percussionist. Dobet left school at 12 to study theatre, dance, music and singing with her father and his fellow artists. She is now on the top of my “to watch” (live!) list.

This song, Djiguene (Woman), is sung in Wolof. On this album, Dobet also sings in Dida, Fon, Guéré, Lingala, Malinke and Xhosa.

Na Afriki

  1. Dala (sung in Dida)
  2. Djiguene (sung in Wolof)
  3. Issa (sung in Malinke)
  4. Inyembezi zam (sung in Xhosa)
  5. Télo dé (sung in Dida)
  6. Khabone-n’daw (sung in Wolof)
  7. Jho avido (sung in Fon)
  8. Yekiyi (sung in Malinke)
  9. Ma poô (sung in Guéré)
  10. Pygmées
  11. Palea (sung in Dida and Arabic)
  12. Pillage (sung in Lingala)
  13. Loubou (sung in Dida)
  14. Massacre (sung in Dida)
  15. Mousso Tilou (sung in Malinke)

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Ian Paice On The Drums

by Ian Paice

He played with The Velvet Underground, Gary Moore and even Sir Paul. Enough memoir material by any standard. But for me, as probably for about everybody else, he always was — still is — the Deep Purple drummer. There never was DP without Ian Paice.

You’d think there should be plenty of DVDs around showcasing Paice’s talent. Well... (drum roll please...) no. But there is at least this one.

On The Drums is a curious collection of Paice-related bits and bobs. Released by Edel in 2008, it looks like a European repackaging of 2002 American DVD Not for the Pros. In contrast to what Amazon says, this DVD is region-free (not region 2). The picture quality could have been better; the sound is OK for the most part, but I wouldn’t mind having subtitles.

Ian Paice’s Drummers Guide

The “main feature” is a fifty-minute documentary where Paice travels the world visiting the musical instrument factories: Pearl in Japan, Paiste in Switzerland (hey, I just learned another Finnish word!), Pro-Mark and Remo in America. He demonstrates just a little bit of his technique but clearly not enough to be considered an instructional. The film is interspersed by snippets of Deep Purple archive footage. I find them rather distracting; luckily, you can choose a viewing option without these clips.

Abbey Road Session

...contains two cool instrumentals, Paicesetter and Dustbins. Paice is accompanied by Colin Hodgkinson on bass and Miller Anderson on guitar. I did not realise Paice is left-handed until I watched this! Now if the entire DVD was material of this quality, I wouldn’t hesitate to give it five stars.

Roadie’s Eye View

This section has several songs or fragments filmed during Deep Purple’s 2001 US tour, with a twist: the camera, for a change, is focused on Paice. Ted the Mechanic, Lazy, Knocking At Your Back Door and Highway Star are shown in their entirety, but the highlight is the middle section of Fools, which is not even a drum solo and still is mind-blowing. But why on earth didn’t they show the full Fools?

Drum Clinic

That could have been really interesting... (short drum solo please...) if any part of it lasted more than ten seconds, that is. What we have here is just some short promo for Australian TV. Total waste of time.

Ian Paice Interview

Another bit filmed for Aussie TV. Rather more entertaining than the “drum clinic”. Paice, apart from being simply the greatest rock drummer alive, appears to be very nice (and humble) bloke.

Retro Mix

A montage of old and new(ish) Deep Purple clips set to Paicesetter. Please ignore it and watch the Abbey Road Session again.

Friday, 18 October 2013

Aina uusi aalto

by Maria Gasolina

In good old Soviet times, you simply were not allowed to publicly perform popular songs in a foreign language. That is, not in Russian, Belarusian, Ukrainian, Uzbek and so on. I guess Bulgarian was still OK. Polish was already suspicious. English, of course, a big no no.

So this is what VIAs would do: sing cover versions of well-known Western songs with (usually) Russian lyrics.

Back then, I thought of it as something unique to USSR. How I was mistaken. Now every morning I listen to a Finnish radio station and hear quite a lot of Anglo-American pop and rock sung in Finnish. Maria Gasolina is one of the bands that specialises in this art. And when I say “art”, I mean it.

By their third album, they became truly versatile, expanding their repertoire from mostly Brazilian pop to, well, other “international” pop: from Carimi’s Ayiti bang bang to Femi Kuti’s Beng beng beng. Good taste in choosing the material, great arrangements, and a pleasure to listen to, from beginning to end. Still, my favourite tracks come from Brazil: Nykyaika, Susta huolimatta, Teemalasit... When it gets cold and dark, like now for example (it was snowing this morning!), a ray of Brazilian sunshine is just what the doctor ordered.

In Brazilian Portuguese slang, “Maria gasolina” means a girl who only dates motorists. Why did they choose this expression to name the band? Who knows. Maybe they don’t take themselves too seriously. Or maybe they just like the sound of it.

  1. Nykyaika / Maracatu atômico (Jorge Mautner / Nelson Jacobina)
  2. Marcia baila (Catherine Ringer / Frédéric Chichin)
  3. Voi että / Que pena (Jorge Ben)
  4. Teemalasit / A Rita (Chico Buarque)
  5. Länkkärifilmi / Ayiti bang bang (Richard Cave / Mickael Guirand)
  6. Öisin / تنگ غروبه (Tange ghoroobe) (Dariush)
  7. Susta huolimatta / Apesar de você (Chico Buarque)
  8. Vahvaa heikkoutta / Naturträne (Nina Hagen)
  9. Hellimmin / Carinhoso (Pixinguinha)
  10. Barikavilyn asemalla / Barikavily (Erick Manana)
  11. Beng beng beng (Femi Kuti)
Maria Gasolina
    Taneli Bruun: tenor and soprano sax
    Kalle Jokinen: guitar
    Lissu Lehtimaja: trumpet, vocals
    Mikko Neimo: drums
    Matti Pekonen: bass
    Essi Pelkonen: alto sax
    Aarne Riikonen: percussion, sampler
    Sanni Verkasalo: flute, clarinet
    Alexandra Babitzin: chorus (2)
    Valtteri Nevalainen: vibraphone (3)
    Mikko Ojanen: synthesizer (5, 6)
    Panu Syrjänen: bass sax (4)
    Finnish lyrics by Lissu Lehtimaja
    Arranged by Maria Gasolina except 9 arranged by Ilppo Lukkarinen
    Recorded and mixed by Panu Syrjänen, Mikko Ojanen and Taneli Bruun
    Produced by Maria Gasolina, Gasolina Records 2010

Sunday, 13 October 2013

Pasqua Villa Borghetti Bardolino Classico 2012

My, it is getting cold here. Cold, as in below 0 °C cold. Which means that, for example, I have to drain the water tank in sauna. Which also means that the beer season is almost over. And so, for the first time in two months of our life in Finland, we’ve ventured to the nearest Alko shop.

It was really painful to see some of my favourite Spanish wines so exorbitantly priced. At times, three times as expensive as in Spain.

The trick, for me at least, is not to look at Spanish wines at all, but concentrate on French and Italian ones instead. I already mentioned that Italian wine was rather expensive in Corralejo. And look, I found this nice bottle of Bardolino, just under €8. That makes me feel, if for a short while, slightly better. Although of course it is still a daylight robbery.

The label info, as it often happens, is lost (or reinvented) in translation.

Proveniente da vigneti nella zona collinare del lago di Garda sud-orientale, è un vino fresco, con deliziosi aromi fruttati, che ricordano marasca e ribes, di medio corpo e sapido al palato. Si accompagna a piatti tipici della cucina veronese como risotti, luccio con polenta o coniglio in umido.
Bardolino indicates the vineyards located in south-eastern shore of Lake Garda. This is a clean, crisp, light ruby red wine, with delightful aromas of wild cherry and blackcurrant and a fresh acidity on the palate. Pairs well with first course dishes, such as risotto, fish soups and white meat entrées.
Oh, I wouldn’t mind the rabbit stew with it! In fact, that’s exactly what I’d be considering to consume in Corralejo this time of year. (Sadly, pike wasn’t on offer in Fuerte.) But, for the benefit of English, who obviously will be shocked by the gastronomical use of their fluffy pets, an alternative is found... which is not even close.

More photos of red wine @ Shutterstock.

Saturday, 5 October 2013


by Rhythm Funk Masters

So what’s “Arctic” doing in the title? I don’t really know. Maybe it is to indicate that Finland is close to Arctic? But I can’t honestly say I hear anything specifically Finnish or Nordic here. If somebody played it to me and said that it is a 1970s recording of an obscure American band, I would probably believe it. The keyboards definitely sound vintage 1970s. As it happens, Afro-American-Arctic is a 2007 album by an obscure (but great nonetheless) Finnish band. And, as far as my (not very thorough) research shows, it is the only album recorded by Rhythm Funk Masters. Which is a bloomin’ shame, because after listening to it for half a dozen times, I want more of them! Just listen, and you will want too.

I post here the complete credits: funk should know its heroes.

  1. Enormous Introduction
  2. Gogo
  3. Nudinuff
  4. Non Compos Mentis
  5. Radio Bembe
  6. Latin Bantu Lounge
  7. Bushman
  8. Frantic Activity
  9. Highway
  10. Arctic Rainforest
Rhythm Funk Masters
    Mikko Pöyhönen: drums
    Jarkko Toivanen-Myllärniemi: bass
    Mikko Kosonen: guitar
    Jukka Heikkinen: keyboards
    Aleksi Ahoniemi: tenor sax, soprano sax, flute
    Timo Lassy: baritone sax, flutes (7)
    Mikko Pettinen: trumpet
    Jay Kortehisto: trombone
    Tero Rantanen: percussion, conga solo (5)
    Aarne Riikonen: percussion
    Juuso Hannukainen: percussion, tama solo (9), djembe solo (2)
    Fernando Da Silva: the voice (1)
    Aleksi Oksanen: djembe (1, 2, 4)
    Terhi Valmala: kenkeni, sangban, dundunba (1, 2, 4)
    Jukka Uljas: tenor sax solo (2)
    Teijo Jämsä: drums (7)
    Abdissa Assefa: percussion (7)
    Eero Savela: flugelhorn (7)
    Tapani Rinne: bass clarinet (10)
    Composed by Jukka Heikkinen except 1 by Jukka Heikkinen / Jarkko Toivanen-Myllärniemi and 3 by Jukka Heikkinen / Sami Saari
    Recorded at Sumo, Helsinki by T-Mu Korpipää and Jukka Heikkinen
    Mixed at Sumo by T-Mu Korpipää except 7 by Jukka Heikkinen
    Mastered at Finnvox by Pauli Saastamoinen
    Artwork and photo by Jani Tolin at Alfons Helsinki
    Produced by Jukka Heikkinen