Varttina: Music from Another World

The whole group poses outside The Princess of Wales Theatre in Toronto. i i

The whole group poses outside The Princess of Wales Theatre in Toronto. Hanna-Kaisa Hamalainen hide caption

itoggle caption Hanna-Kaisa Hamalainen
The whole group poses outside The Princess of Wales Theatre in Toronto.

The whole group poses outside The Princess of Wales Theatre in Toronto.

Hanna-Kaisa Hamalainen

Three from 'Miero'

Listen: 'The Enchantress'

J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings is back in the spotlight. A musical version of the famous saga is now on stage in Toronto. The score was co-composed by Bollywood's A.R. Rahman and the Finnish musical group Varttina.

Mari Kaasinen and her fellow vocalists at Alexander's Theatre in Helsinki.

Mari Kaasinen and her fellow vocalists at Alexander's Theatre in Helsinki. Hanna-Kaisa Hamalainen hide caption

itoggle caption Hanna-Kaisa Hamalainen

Varttina's three female singers and six male acoustic musicians have been together for more than 20 years. The group recently released their 10th recording, called Miero. Their lyrics are rooted in ancient poems from the Karelia region of Finland.

Their vocals draw from the region's traditions of women's voices. And their music incorporates some exotic instruments, including the bouzouki, nyckelharpa and guitalele. The result sounds like mysterious incantations from an ancient tribe.

Mari Kaasinen and musician Janne Lappalainen tell Liane Hansen about the folk traditions associated with Varttina's music and why the group emphasizes female vocalists.

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