Éditions Seteun

The Quiet Past and the Loud Present :

The Kalevala and Heavy Metal

Hannu Tolvanen

Summary : The first edi­tion of epic poem Kalevala was publi­shed in 1835. After its publi­ca­tion Kalevala has been a huge ins­pi­ra­tion for Finnish artists in dif­fe­rent genres. Finnish heavy metal bands found the Kalevala in the begin­ning of 1990’s, and during last fi fteen years there has been an expan­sion of Kalevala-ins­pi­red metal. These bands use either lyri­cal or musi­cal refe­ren­ces to archaic tra­di­tion. The two exam­ples of music of Ensiferum and Insomnium show how tra­di­tio­nal music is used in heavy metal. Also, the visual appea­rance of the bands has got infl uences from mythi­cal past of Finns. The images have many refe­ren­ces to visual arts : pain­tings, pho­to­graphs. There are many rea­sons for the appea­rance of Kalevala tra­di­tion to the heavy metal scene. One is obviously the inter­na­tio­nal models, refe­ren­ces to Middle Ages and Vikings. And the emer­gence of world music in the middle of 1980’s and the inter­na­tio­nal suc­cess of Värttinä have made the atmos­phere more accep­ta­ble for tra­di­tio­nal music. Also some things in Finnish music edu­ca­tion have had their impacts. For exam­ple the kan­tele was taken to music edu­ca­tion in pri­mary schools, star­ting in the middle of 1980’s.

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Thèmes et/ou mots-clés
Kalevala –