Listen: Värttinä – Katariina

I had a Celtic music phase when I was in college.

I would listen to Clannad, Altan, Talitha MacKenzie, Mouth Music — I liked the sound of Irish and Gaelic being sung.

I signed up to be on the mailing list of Green Linnet, a label specializing in the genre. For a little while, the label expanded into world music and signed the likes of the Klezmatics and Värttinä. My introduction to both bands was on a Green Linnet sampler, and I ended buying the former’s Jews with Horns and the latter’s Aitara from Green Linnet’s mail order catalog.

Both albums occupy permanent spots in my collection.

Aitara, at the time, was described as Värttinä’s "rock album". The dynamic vocal chemistry of the ensemble’s vocal quartet meshed terrifically with Scandinavian folk instruments and a rock rhythm section. On paper, it looks like a crossover nightmare, but the energy of Aitara makes up for it.

"Katariina" is the first track off of the album.

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