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Music / Korpiklaani

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"According to Jonne, his time in the Lapland was supposed to be some sort of search for his true self, but all he could find was booze, forest, women and funny music and these are pretty much the things that you will find in Korpiklaani's music these days."
Jarkko Aaltonen, interview with Maelstrom magazine

Korpiklaani are a Finnish Folk Metal band. They, along with Finntroll, are generally credited with the explosion of popularity that the genre has seen since the 00's.

Their origins are rather unique in the genre: most folk metal bands started as metal bands that added folk later; Korpiklaani started off as a folk band and added metal. Specifically, they started as Shamaani Duo, a Sami folk band employed by the Hullu Poro ("Crazy Reindeer") restaurant in Lapland. Jonne Järvelä then retooled the band into Shaman, playing the same folk music as before but with metal instruments and a synthesizer. After recording two albums (and playing as a guest musician for Finntroll), Jonne retooled the band again: they incorporated more metal influence into their songwriting—and Jonne switched from Sami yoiking to metal-style rough vocals in Finnish and English—while simultaneously replacing the synthesizers with traditional acoustic instruments. They also changed their name to Korpiklaani ("Forest Clan"), mainly to avoid confusion with the Brazilian band also named Shaman. It was as Korpiklaani that their popularity outside Finland really took off.

Common themes in their lyrics include drinking and partying, stories from Scandanavian mythology and folklore, and characters from Scandanavian mythology drinking and partying.

As Shamaani Duo
  • Hunka Lunka

As Shaman

  • Idja (1999)
  • Shamániac (2002)

As Korpiklaani

  • Spirit of the Forest (2003)
  • Voice of Wilderness (2005)
  • Tales Along This Road (2006)
  • Tervaskanto (2007)
  • Korven Kuningas (2008)
  • Karkelo (2009)
  • Ukon Wacka (2011)
  • Manala (2012)
  • Noita (2015)
  • Kulkija (2018)
  • Jylhä (2021)
  • Rankarumpu (2024)

Korpiklaani provides examples of:

  • Accent Upon The Wrong Syllable: "Keep on Galloping" uses Ga-lopping.
  • Audience Participation Song: Korpiklaani is Folk Metal's chief band for this, nearly every album has a song that ends up in their live rotation for this exactly this purpose.
    • "Wooden Pints" on Spirit of the Forest
    • "Beer Beer" on Voice of Wilderness
    • "Happy little Boozer" from Tales Along this road
    • "Keep Galloping" from Korven Kuningas
    • "Vodka" from Karkelo
    • "Tequila" from Ukon Wacka
    • Recently, "Rauta", with the repeated chorus of "Iske!" ("Strike!" as a verb, since it's about forging a sword) chanted by the audience.
  • Bawdy Song: Find an English translation of Kirki (or learn Finnish)
  • Broken Record: A definite qualifier for this is "Rauta". During the chanting sections alone, the word "Iske!" ("Strike!",) is repeated thirty-nine times. If you add in everything outside the chanting and include its use in Finnish grammatical cases - "Teidät iski Ilmarinen!" (You were struck/forged by Ilmarinen!), "iskemällä", "iskeäkseen", "iskuista" and so on), the number of utterances of something related to that one word swells to just over ninety.
    • "Vodka" uses, well, "vodka" pretty much every other word. Suffice to say, when Korpiklaani pick a topic for a song, they damn well stick to it!
  • Drunken Song / Ode to Intoxication: At least [read: "a lot more than"] one per album.
  • Drunken Master: Present in the lyrics of several songs, such as Beer Beer and Vodka.
  • Heavy Mithril
  • I Am the Band: Back when they were Shaman, Jonne was the only permanent member. The roster has stabilized since Tales Along This Road.
  • Indecipherable Lyrics: In some songs.
    • Sometimes a stylistic choice, as Jonne is well-versed in a traditional form of Finnish singing called "Joiking", which rarely has cohesive lyrics.
  • Leave the Camera Running: Korven Kuningas' title song and final track is 20 minutes long, 15 minutes of which are distant, repetitive percussion.
  • Lyrical Dissonance: "Ievan Polkka" (yes, that one) is a song about people dancing to polka at a party. Korpiklaani's cover makes it sound like a chant sung by a barbarian army as they ride into battle.
  • Mascot: Vaari, the antlered man who has appeared on every album cover since Tales Along This Road.