Finnish folk-singer Sami Kukka almost fell into obscurity all because of bad timing. Twenty years ago he entered a musical landscape which wasn’t quite ready for him yet.
The Finnish folk singer released his debut album in 1988 to lukewarm reception and didn’t get the recognition he deserved. His minimalist acoustic songs drowned in the sea of overproduced music of the time.
But times changed and so did the musical landscape. In 2007 he appeared with a record called Kuolema Tekee Tuloaan. This time around he was received with open arms, praised by critics and garnered attention from the younger generation of folk artists and fans alike. On this record he worked with the brightest star among the younger generation of Finnish folk artists, Joose Keskitalo, amongst others. Since then he’s been a rising star. He is now getting the attention and visibility worthy of this kind of music royalty. This year sees the 20th anniversary of his self titled debut album, which was re-released in CD format earlier this month. Both aforementioned records have been put out by Helmi Levyt, the banner carrier for contemporary Finnish folk/lo fi/experimental music.
You have to slow down when you listen to Sami Kukka, he forces you to move in his speed. It’s impossible to not be moved by his tender voice and heart-warming songs. The beauty lies in the melancholy, in the realisation that death is around the corner. The brilliance lies in making the bleakness appear in such vivid colours.