Monday, March 25, 2019

Heli Keinonen ‎- "Ajettih Da Tšiganaiset" [1966]

Artist: Heli Keinonen
Title: Ajettih Da Tšiganaiset 7''
Genre: Folk, Singer-Songwriter
Country: Finland
Release date: 1966

Track List:
  1. Ajettih Da Tšiganaiset
  2. Ruskie Neitšyt, Valgie Neitšyt
I found out about Heli Keinonen because of Kriminaaliset Metsänhaltijat,who sampled one of her songs on their album "Valkoinen Terrori". There's next to no information about her in English, but I managed to find some info in Finnish and Russian - not much anyway, but enough to conclude that she was and still is an outstanding and controversial person.

So, Heli Keinonen was born April 5th, 1943 in Joensuu, Finland, and became famous in mid-1960s as a singer of traditional Karelian songs. In particular, the second song off this 7'' vinyl became a big hit that's still performed by many folk singers in Finland. She released a few more 7'' singles during the second half of 1960s, but they weren't as successful as this one. Later in 1970s, she became involved in radical politics (if I understood the Finnish sources correctly, it happened after she married some well-known undergrond writer and activist) and started to sing political songs, the best known of which is "Kuolemaantuomitun Hyvästijättö" - the one that was used by KM on "Valkoinen Terrori". During the 1980s, she worked in Sudan where she eventually decided to convert to Islam, although sources say that she never followed the Islamic dress code and generally didn't take it too seriously. As of late 2009, she was teaching Arabic language in Finland, although she's most likely retired by now.

Regardless of some questionable life choices, this 7'' shows that she certainly was a good singer. Here's one more Karelian folk song (according to the description, it's about a girl and a boy meeting at well) performed by Heli live on YLE TV in 1967. The melody reminds me of some Russian and ukrainian folk songs, and the language sounds like Finnish with slightly different phonetics and some random Russian words thrown in:

No comments:

Post a Comment