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Korpiklaani: Branching Out

They’re best known for songs about boozing, but folk metallers Korpiklaani have a long tradition of writing about the heritage and landscape of their native Finland, as new album Noita shows.

When Korpiklaani roll up to Catton Park in August, two things are pretty much guaranteed. The first: they’ll get a huge crowd (Finnish? Folk metal? Bloodstock? Those things go together better than fry-ups and hangovers). The second: the songs the audience will know best will involve alcohol. Songs such as Beer Beer, Bring Us Pints Of Beer, Wooden Pints, Happy Little Boozer and of course Vodka – the closest they’ve come to having a hit, with the video racking up 15million views on YouTube.

So you could be forgiven for thinking most of the tracks on their new album, Noita, involve drink. But peer through the alcoholic fog and you may find a few surprises...

“There are a few songs about ‘noita’, which is ‘witch’ in English, but not like we nowadays think what witches are, because it’s more like ‘shaman’ or ‘healer’, in a way,” explains Jonne Järvelä, the band’s founder, guitarist, singer and main songwriter. “Because before Christianity, witches were – at least here in Finland – actually kind of like doctors, so they were really good. Then, when Christianity came, it turned into something ‘bad’ or ‘evil’.”

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