Sami Kukka

Folk Music from Another World

Intimate and minimalistic musical nuances are not the first thing that crosses your mind when thinking about rock festivals. However, Ilosaarirock Festival offers them in balance to all the boogie and raging rock – with pride and zest, of course.

Sami Kukka is a long-time studio professional whose first solo album was released over twenty years ago, in 1988. The small-scale production was rapidly swamped by music produced with more fashionable sounds, and disappeared almost completely. But thanks to a few enlightened listeners who kept enthusing about Kukka, the album wasn't fully forgotten. However, the next Sami Kukka album Vettä kuusta (Water from the Moon) wasn't released until 2002.

A few years later another album Kuolema tekee tuloaan (Death Is on Its Way) was released by tiny indie label Helmi Levyt, already responsible for releasing several great albums. With this album, Sami Kukka's name started appearing in magazines and on everyone's lips. Who is this mysterious character whose folkish songs seem to come from another world and speak a language of their own? Who dares to pull a Nick Drake act in Finnish and only concentrate on the essential? Sami who?

His latest album Menen veteen (I'll Go into the Water) offers some more answers. The slowly matured album was created by teamwork. The songs were recorded in many different sessions with different musicians (such as Samuli Kosminen and Pekka Kuusisto) in very homely circumstances. The result is engaging, and diving into its mysterious mellowness is a pleasure.

At Laulurinne, the singer-guitarist-songwriter Sami Kukka creates his warm, subdued atmosphere with percussionist and the founder of Helmi Levyt, Arwi Lind and Pekko Käppi, the master of the jouhikko or the Finnish bowed lyre. This is going to be a unique festival experience, embrace it!

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Sami Kukka