Friday, January 23, 2015

Iron Maiden: Värttinä and "Neitonen"

Step outside of being human for a moment. Imagine that you are some being of an alien race who is studying humans, a kind of Jane Goodall from the planets who is spending time with the humans on earth, learning their ways and socializing with them. Of course, you watch their mating rituals and given that you are an alien, you have technology that allows you to read the chemical balances inside human bodies. So, you are well aware of the chemical changes that take place when one human becomes attracted to another, and when two become attracted to each other. You are also aware that humans have a drive to match up, to experience these chemical differences, and then to mate in the process of procreation, and that the actual coupling is apparently very, very good in most cases.

And then you examine their customs and beliefs, and the big social prohibitions against mating and procreation before certain criteria are met such as being of a certain age and whether a social and religious contract called marriage or something like it has been entered into. And you try to reconcile - how do some humans resist the chemical changes caused by hormones, which rage and scream against the prohibitions against copulation, while others fail?

I guess that's what I wonder when I read the translation of the lyrics to this song, Neitonen, by Värttinä:

The maiden had waited for a perfect suitor.
She dreamed of her soul mate--
a son-in-law for her family
to stand by her side and embrace her.
Many a hard year she waited,
not marrying even for gold and silver.
Now she has a man to her liking--
knowing what she found,
she found what she knew...

I think it would be difficult, especially if you have many suitors, to resist the temptation but then again. The lyrics said it was hard for her to go without companionship and help, but her waiting led her to a soul mate. We often sing of battles fought physically, and when love has conquered. Rarely do we sing of the mental and emotional battles against our own urges other than when we fail, and rarely do we sing about conquering love until we are ready for it.

Värttinä is a Finnish folk group founded in 1983 by sisters Sari and Mari Kaasinen, who had performed together reading poetry in the 1970s. In 1983, the sisters formed Värttinä and entered a youth arts contest with their poetry reading. They made it into the finals that first year, and the next year changed to singing and won the event. They brought on some male members in 1985 and entered the Kaustinen Folk Music Festival, becoming known as the group that sings high and loud. Many children in their hometown were now eager to join the band, and finally Värttinä had to establish a new group for the youngest children to join. In 1987, at the Kaustinen Folk Music Festival, they were chosen "Ensemble of the Year," and in 1988 they released their first album. In the early 1990s, they moved to Helsinki and began training at the Sibelius Academy and perfecting their skills. The band first performed traditional Finnish folk songs, but in the mid-1990s began playing its own original compositions. Over the years the band has had many forms and lineup changes, and is currently made up of three female vocalists and three acoustic musicians. They have performed worldwide to international acclaim and have released 14 albums, including 3 compilation albums and one live CD. Neitonen, is from their 1998 CD Vihma.