DALINDEO-SLAVIC SOULS.

DALINDEO-SLAVIC SOULS.

The Dalindèo story started back in 2003. That’s when composer and guitarist, Valtteri Laurell Pöyhönen, decided to found Dalindèo. They were no ordinary band. Instead, Dalindèo decided to recruit some of Finland’s top jazz musicians.

Joining him in the rhythm section were drummer Jaska Lukkarinen and Pekka Lehti on double bass. They were augmented by the horns of saxophonist Pope Puolitaival and trumpeter Jose Mäenpää. Adding a percussive twist was percussionist Rasmus Pailos. They became Dalindèo.  Since then, Dalindèo have released a trio of albums. Three  however, will become four, when Dalindèo release Slavic Souls on the 22nd April 2016. Slavic Souls will be released by BBE Records, and is the next chapter in the Dalindèo story, whic began in 2003. 

Ever since they founded in 2003, Kalindèo have toured extensively. They’ve played over 150 concerts in Finland, and in twelve other European countries. This allowed Dalindèo to hone their skills, and gain a reputation as one of Finland’s top jazz groups. No wonder. Kalindèo are a Finnish jazz supergroup. That’s no exaggeration. However, it took time.

Originally, Kalindèo’s music was a fusion of Brazilian and jazz. However, before long, Kalindèo’s music began to evolve into the post modern style they describe as cinematic jazz. Kalindèo have been pioneers of this style of music. They’ve drawn inspiration from everyone from Henry Mancini and Lalo Schifrin, to Duke Ellington, right through to the films of Finnish cinematographer Aki Kaurismäki. This unique, and eclectic fusion of influences has inspired Kalindèo’s to make groundbreaking music.

Two years after Valtteri Laurell Pöyhönen founded Kalindèo, they released their debut 12” single Poseidon in 2005. It was released on the Finnish label Ricky-Tick Records, which would become home for Kalindèo for the next five years.

A year after releasing their debut 12” single, Kalindèo returned with their sophomore single Go Ahead. Released in 2006, word was spreading about Kalindèo. They were already a familiar fixture in concert halls and festivals in Finland. So it made sense for Kalindèo to release their debut album, Open Scenes.

Open Scenes, Kalindèo’s debut album was released in 2007. It was well released to critical acclaim by critics. Superlatives weren’t spared. One critic went as far as to use the b word. “The trusty Finnish sextet goes once again about the business of brilliance” Another critic remarked that: “Young Scandinavia continues to offer welcome relief from the furrowed brows of much American jazz. This Finnish sextet are a case in point” Suddenly, Kalindèo were hot property. However, still, Kalindèo were content to do things their way.

With Kalindèo’s star very much in the ascendancy, it seemed that Kalindèo were in no rush to release the followup to Open Scenes. 2008 passed, without Kalindèo releasing any new music. Then in 2009, Kalindèo released two singles, including The Vintage Voyage-EP and New Creation, which featured Bajka. For fans of Kalindèo, this would keep them happy until the release of their sophomore album in 2010.

Soundtrack For The Sound Eye was released by Kalindèo in 2010. It was their final release on Ricky-Tick Records. However, what a swan-song Soundtrack For The Sound Eye proved to be. 

Soundtrack For The Sound Eye was released to the same critical acclaim as Open Scenes. Reviews heaped praise on Kalindèo’s latest offering. It was variously described as: “a party for your ears” and “essential.” One critic went as far as to say compare Dalindéo to a “Ferrari.” So, it’s no surprise that other record labels were getting ready to swoop.

By 2013, Dalindéo had been making music for ten years. They were almost veterans of the Finnish jazz scene. They constantly toured and were a familiar face not just in Finland, but a dozen other European countries. This had its advantages. Word was spreading about Dalindéo, who had been constantly honing their sound. By now, they were one of the biggest names in Finnish jazz. This was the perfect time to release Kallio.

Having signed to Finnsh label Suomen Musiikki, Dalindéo released the third album of their ten year career. This was Kallio. It was released in 2013 to widespread critical acclaim accompanied. Critics and cultural commentators hailed Kallio the best album of Kalindèo’s ten year career. One hailed Kallio a future classic. Others called it variously joyous and cinematic.

Released in March 2013, Kallio reached number thirteen on the Finnish album charts. This made Kallio one of the highest ranking jazz albums in the history of Finnish music. For the next six weeks, Kallio were a fixture of the Finnish album charts, and before Finnish long, radio stations. After this, Kallio embarked upon a tour of the major Finnish festivals. However, the highlight was Kallio winning an Emma Award for the Best Jazz Album of 2013. By then, Dalindéo had ambitions beyond Finland.

Kallio had been a huge success within Finland. However, the six members of Dalindéo wanted their music heard further afield. When they played live, their cinematic jazz sound was winning friends and influencing people. So, they needed a label that could release Kallio worldwide.

This is where BBE Music came in. They signed Dalindéo and released Kallio in March 2015. At last, Dalindéo’s cinematic sound, which references everything from the soundtracks of Henry Mancini and Lalo Schifrin, to the swing of Duke Ellington, right through to the surf guitar of Dick Dale. That’s not all. Another major influence are the films of Finnish cinematographer Aki Kaurismäki. Occasionally, there’s a nod to the edginess and tension of Quentin Tarentino’s movies. All this played its part in the sound and success of Dalindéo’s third album, Kallio. It became Dalindèo’s most successful album. However, Dalindèo weren’t going to rest on their laurels.

Far from it. They began work on their fourth album Slavic Souls. It features ten tracks penned by bandleader Valtteri Laurell Pöyhönen. These new songs were recorded and mixed at E-Studio, in the Finnish capital of Helsinki.

At the E-Studio, Dalindèo’s rhythm section featured drummer Jaska Lukkarinen and Pekka Lehti on double bass . They were augmented by the horns of saxophonist Pope Puolitaival and trumpeter Jose Mäenpää. Adding a percussive twist was percussionist Rasmus Pailos. Bandleader and arranger Valtteri Laurell Pöyhönen played guitar, baritone guitar, Casio organ and analog synths. Joining Dalindèo were a few friends.

This included Finland’s premier coloratura-soprano singer Anna-Kristiina Kaappola, who features on Avalanche and Tell Me. Trombonist Heikki Tuhkanen plays on Slavic Souls and Tarantella Finlandese.The other guest artist is Olli Haavisto, who plays pedal steel on Bolero for Miss B. These guest artists played their part in what’s a very different album from Dalindèo…Slavic Souls.

Dalindèo literally combined disparate musical genres and influences on Slavic Souls. The bands describe Slavic Souls as a “ surf jazz Tango extravaganza.” Everything from contemporary jazz is combined with traditional Finnish Tango music and even northern schlager. For those who haven’t been introduced to schlager, it’s a a type of easy listening which was and still is, spopular in Germany and the Nordic region. In the case of northern  schlager, it’s been inspired by both Nordic and Slavic folk songs. There’s also a psychedelic sound to Slavic Souls. Sometimes, the darkness descends and music becomes moody, broody and gloomy. Other times, the music is atmospheric. Occasionally, there’s a sense of melancholia during this Dalindè’s fourth album Slavic Souls. It has a lot to live up to, given the success Kallio. Are Dalindèo up to the challenge?

Opening Slavic Souls is Avalanche, where straight away, the marriage of surf guitar and Finnish tango can be heard. Valtteri becomes the Finnish equivalent of Dick Dale. It’s a potent and heady brew. Meanwhile,  coloratura-soprano singer Anna-Kristiina Kaappola adds beautiful, elegiac vocals. They drift in and out, soaring above the arrangement. When they drift out, its all change, and a contemporary jazz sound emerges. Warm horns bray, adding an almost melancholy sound while the rest of Dalindèo are flowing arrangement. Later, the arrangement slows down, adding to the sense of melancholy; while Anna-Kristiina Kaappola’s vocal continues to an ethereal beauty. Then Dalindèo briefly up the tempo, as the track reaches a crescendo. It’s more than whets the musical appetite, as a genre-melting feast unfolds.

Straight away, Johnny’s Nightmare  is best described as a cinematic surf jazz. However, this being Dalindèo, curveballs will be thrown. A brief burst of a vocal and howling horn emerge from the arrangement. From there, a raffish, cinematic track emerges.  It sounds as if from another age. It’s essentially a fusion of jazz and surf guitar combine seamlessly. They’re at the heart of the cinematic sound, while bursts of a a howling, wailing horn add an element of drama and theatre. Hooks certainly haven’t been spared, and as the tempo builds, the rhythm section power the dance-floor friendly arrangement along. The horns and surf guitar play leading roles in what sounds like the perfect soundtrack to a costume drama Surely a television or film company will want to use this track?

Drummer Jaska Lukkarinen gets his chance to shine as Slavic Souls unfolds. He powers his drums before the horns and percussion join in and play their part in this slice of Finnish tango. However, it takes a twist. Valtteri Laurell Pöyhönen adds  his trademark surf guitar. When it drops out, jazz and tango combine, before the surf guitar returns.  It’s soon replaced by braying horns. Every instrument is introduced, and drops out at just the right time. The brisk arrangement is like a jigsaw, with all the pieces falling into place. That’s down to bandleader Valtteri Laurell Pöyhönen who arranged and produced Slavic Souls. Not many could combine Finnish tango, jazz and surf guitar, but he does with style and aplomb.

Wistful and atmospheric describes the introduction to Once Upon A Time In The North. This soon changes. The tempo changes, and arrangement becomes brisk. At the heart of the arrangement are the rhythm section and rasping horns. Still, though, there’s a wistful sound. Partly that’s to do with the horns. However, when they drop out, and the percussion, rhythm section and guitar combine with sci-fi sounds it still remains. That’s the case as the track becomes a brisk tango, before taking on a jazz tinged sound. Constantly,  Dalindèo change direction and spring musical surprises. As they flit seamlessly between musical genres, the horns and guitar contribute to this wistful, ruminative sounding track that’s perfect for losing yourself in.

Highway Lost is another tracks with a cinematic sound. Early on, it has a haunting, moody sound that wouldn’t sound out of place in a modern day Spaghetti Western. Percussion ensures the arrangement almost gallops along. It’s aided and abetted by the rhythm section, haunting synths and subtle horns. Then the arrangement is stripped bare, and just Valtteri Laurell Pöyhönen’s guitar remains. It adds to the atmospheric sound. So do the rasping horns. By then, it’s all change. After this, the arrangement takes on a jazzy sound. Up steps saxophonist Pope Puolitaival and he delivers a musical masterclass. He unleashes a blistering solo. This spurs Pekka Lehti on double bass on. He too, delivers a flawless solo, as he powers the arrangement along.  The members of Dalindèo are enjoying opportunity to showcase their individual skills, before uniting and playing as one on this genre-melting, musical roller coaster. It’s variously atmospheric, haunting, moody and joyous. Quite simply, it’s a musical roller coaster.

The tempo drops on Tell as a lone, surf guitar plays. Soon, it’s joined by the bass and coloratura-soprano singer Anna-Kristiina Kaappola. She sings slowly and deliberately, her classical training shining through. Her diction, delivery and timing is perfect, as her vocal soars above the arrangement. Meanwhile, the percussion and rhythm section play with care and tenderness. They don’t want to overpower the vocal. When the vocal drops out, keyboards play before the horns and percussion and rhythm section sweep the arrangement along. All the time the tempo and drama is increasing. Having built up the drama, the vocal returns and the tempo drops. Soon, the vocal soars powerfully yet elegantly above the arrangement. Always Anna-Kristiina Kaappola is in control, as she and Dalindèo become the musical equivalent of yin and yang on this masterful musical marriage.

As a surf guitar plays on Leaving Lalibela, drums pound and and sci-fi add a futuristic sound. Soon, keyboards and rattling percussion are added. So are melancholy horns. Meanwhile the surf guitar and pounding drums nail a hypnotic 4/4 rhythm. Later, a shimmering surf guitar join the sci-fi sounds in adding to the atmospheric sound, jazz-tinged arrangement. By now, the track sounds as if it belongs on a lost noir soundtrack recorded by Dick Dale and Miles Davis. Atmospheric, moody, hypnotic and cinematic, it’s another evocative track that allows the listener’s imagination to run riot.

From the opening bars of Hips and Curves, it’s a truly irresistible track. The unmistakable sound of the surf guitar and Hammond organ combine, while the rhythm section and percussion power the arrangement. Washes of shimmering surf guitar and blazing horns punctuate the arrangement. Drummer Jaska Lukkarinen pounds at the drum, while scorching horns  add to the joyous, celebratory sound.  So does a sultry saxophone. Rolls of drums seem to encourage Dalindèo  as the track heads to its memorable crescendo. By then, Hips and Curves sounds as if it would be part of the soundtrack to London in the swinging  sixties.

Tarantella Finlandese continues the celebratory sound. There’s a nod to Herb Albert’s Tijuana Brass, while the surf guitar is reminiscent of the king of the surf guitar, Dick Dale. A chiming guitar, percussion and the rhythm section  are encouraged on by the occasional holler and yell. Soon, though, rasping horns are added to this “surf-jazz Tango extravaganza.”  The genre-melting arrangement swings joyously along, with Valtteri Laurell Pöyhönen dawning the role of a modern day Herb Albert.

Bolero For Miss B closes Slavic Souls,  Dalindèo’s forthcoming fourth album. It’s a much slower Latin influenced track. However, the surf guitar adds a wistful, cinematic sound. Soon, washes of pedal steel and keyboards are added. They sit above an arrangement where the guitar and percussion dominate. Stealing the show is the crystalline, weeping guitar. Everything else plays a supporting role. This includes the rhythm section, percussion and Hammond organ. They leave the field clear for the guitar as it shimmers, glisten and weeps, and in the process, tugs at your heartstrings on another memorable cinematic track. It’s  a memorable way to close Slavic Souls.

Earlier I wondered if Dalindèo could live up to their third album Kallio? It was the best album of their career. Dalindèo  had set the bar high. They described Slavic Souls as a  “surf jazz Tango extravaganza.”  Usually, a flowery description like this is mere marketing hype. However, Dalindèo deliver on their “surf jazz Tango extravaganza.”

To do this, Dalindèo combine everything from contemporary jazz to traditional Finnish Tango music and even northern schlager. There’s also a psychedelic sound to Slavic Souls. Sometimes, the darkness descends and music becomes moody, broody and gloomy. Other times, the music is atmospheric. Occasionally, there’s a sense of melancholia during Dalindèo’s Slavic Souls. However, other times, the music is irresistible, joyous and celebratory. For much of Slavic Souls, Dalindèo’s cinematic sound shines through. It’s been part a key part of Dalindèo’s sound since 2003, and plays an important part in Slavic Souls. It’s an album that somehow, manages to be all things to all people. That however, isn’t surprising.

Dalindèo feature six of Finland’s top jazz musicians. They’re also versatile and capable of seamlessly switching between and fusing musical genres. That’s apparent throughout Slavic Souls. However, Dalindèo had three secret weapons on Slavic Souls.  

This was a trio hugely talented guest artists. Finland’s premier coloratura-soprano singer Anna-Kristiina Kaappola joined trombonist Heikki Tuhkanen and pedal steel player Olli Haavisto. They play their part in the sound and success of Slavic Souls, which is the best album of their twelve year career.

Indeed, Slavic Souls, which will be released by BBE Records on 22nd April 2016 should be a career defining album from Dalindèo, and introduce their music to a much wider audience. Slavic Souls, Dalindèo’s “surf-jazz Tango extravaganza,” is a veritable musical feast,  that’s fit for a King or Queen.

DALINDEO-SLAVIC SOULS.

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