Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Värttinä again

Nothing to do with books, but just a current enthusiasm: Värttinä, a distinctly feminist Karelian folk-rock trio. I gather "Värttinä" means "spindle" - although personally I think "distaff", with its double meaning, is a translation more in the spirit of these deeply cool ladies who sing modern arrangements of material from women's Finno-Ugric singing traditions.

Knowing the translations helps understand the choreography. With Tauti (above), they're miming pain, and later relaxation, because "tauti" = "disease": the song is a traditional charm to cure illness. Nahkaruoska (below) = "leather whip". This isn't a fetishy thing but a "girl power" song about a philandering husband going through all the farm girls in town. His wife decides it's got to stop, so kicks him out, sending him on his way with a leather whip - "Nahkaruoska" - and hitting him with a cane ("vivi" = "whack"). I just love that Charlie's Angels pose at the end. It's their outro number: the "Kiitos" they say at the end = Thank you".

- Ray

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