& Värää Raha
Although happiness is a pretty tough thing to quantify we venture to say that tonight’s high-spirited performers might have something to do with it. The boys in this band are all born and raised Laplanders, now living in Helsinki. However, they could also be from the imaginary musical nation of LaplaBalkana. Their citizenship approved by virtue of their successful fusing dance music from both cultures into a riveting and often nostalgic mix. Add to that their freewheeling jaunts into Russian folk, Finnish tango, Gypsy tunes, Polish polkas and folk music from all corners of the Balkans and down to Greece. They actually rock and pop as well, they’ve had a hit in English with «He does not lemmi Me» which shows that what they do to traditional styles, they also do to the englanti language.
Led by their songwriter and crooner Jaakko who cuts an impressive shape as lounge lizard as well, pathos included, they’re fired up by a plethora of instruments but mainly trumpet, bouzouki, accordion, clarinet, contrabass and percussion. Adding more umpahh, tonight, Laitinen and Co. will introduce some famed guests like the Danish-Macedonian clarinet virtuoso Bjonko, the balalaika of Berliner Morgan Nikolay, the violin of Matti Pikanen and percussion by Tuomas Tinken, esteemed luminaries in their own right.
Their fourth and current studio album is «Apparent», following the acclaimed «Jaakko Laitinen & Wrong Money» (2010), «Night in Rovaniemi» (2012) and «Lapland-Balkan» (2013). Nothing to sneeze at were past successes when they traveled south of the border of LaplaBalkana, notably the German hit «Bonaparty» (2015), written by Jaakko and which they recorded with the German band Django 3000. Back home they iced it with the score for the documentary … «Kihnio» and with a prestigious title given for «Finland’s Wildest Live Act.»
Jaakko Laitinen and Väärä Raha, live at El Lokal. Tanssi, tannssi in the tannssihalli by the always jigglin’ Mississihl.