Album Review of

Written by Joe Ross
September 5, 2022 - 10:10pm EDT
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Formed in 2016, Tuultenpesä is a Finnish/Swedish flute ensemble whose moniker means “Wind’s Nest.” Specializing in folk wind instruments, they got their start from a collaborative effort between Finnish ensemble Wind on Wind and Swedish Zephyr.  On Vindstilla, their music features an array of historical and contemporary flutes, recorders and whistles, joined by one member Leena Laitinen’s vocals on four tracks: “Omväg lång” (A Long Detour),” Lumisade” (Snowfall), “Sisot” (Sisters) and “Kråkan” (The Crow).

The group’s other members are Kristiina Ilmonen, Mimmi Laaksonen, Göran Månsson, Kirsi Ojala and Jonas Simonson. Each brings considerable skill with traditional and modern instruments, along with experience as composers, arrangers and teachers.  For example, Göran Månsson, from Haverö in mid-eastern Sweden, inherited musical talent from his ancestors and his background as a percussionist imparts a rhythmic, percussive effect to his playing, especially on seven tracks where he plays the contrabass recorder such as “Drops,” “Pollonesse & Polonäs,” and “Vis Visa & The Wise.” Ojala’s mouth harp is only employed on one track, “Sisot” (Sisters). I’m surprised the artists didn’t layer in some other instruments they can play such as piano, harmonium and percussion.

Vindstilla opens with a short traditional prelude, “Viseslaget” that features only three of the instrumentalists playing D high flutes. It’s a rather shrill introduction, and I must admit to being more taken by those tracks that incorporate bass and contrabass recorders. The use of overtone flutes on “Light Winds” and “Vi’ du koma?” (Will you come?) provides an eerie effect. Other tracks such as “Monsoon,” “Omväg lång” (A Long Detour) and “Tulvii” (Flooding) create varied moods through the use of such instruments as offerdalspipa, flauto d’amore, or månmarkapipa. I hope they’ll expand their website to explain more about the differences in their diverse collection of wind instruments. 

Basing their repertoire on Nordic and Finno-Ugric folk music traditions, Tuultenpesä is known to feature polskas, runo songs, shepherd songs, hallings and other dance pieces. “Haveröpolskor” is an example of two traditional dance tunes from the deep forests of middle Sweden. This album, however, emphasizes original impressionistic pieces especially composed to create refreshing magical soundscapes on their palate of sonic colors.    

While employing austere tones of dozens of different flutes and pipes, the consonance of their notes can be meditatively floating, airily swaying, entrancingly pulsating, or provocatively swirling. Repetitive rhythms, modal melodies, multiple melodic layers and improvisation conspire to create new tones and aural fields. Tuultenpesä has appeared at various festivals in Finland, Sweden and Germany, and audiences have been touched by the beauty of their music, as well as the joy, dedication and eccentricity of the performers. Feeling and expressing sounds and rhythms of nature, this flute ensemble speaks, with floating and flowing grace, directly from their hearts to ours. (Joe Ross, Roots Music Report)