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andrewcsmith on 10/22/2010 at 11:45AM

Kiila Remix Contest!

Old Väinämöinen himself (the one on the left, with the sword and the huge white beard). Painting by Akseli Gallen-Kallela, out of copyright.

Remember that 30-second runo-song from Monday that featured Pekko from Kiila singing a capella in Finnish about Old Väinämöinen himself? When you heard that, did you think, “Hey, I bet that would go great with some beats by _______ with _______’s french horn licks over the free-funk fantasias of _______”? Because we heard you. (Yes, we heard you thinking.) Pekko has kindly recorded a new, longer version of the runo-song, and we’re holding a remix contest starting now.

Here are the basic steps:

  1. Create your new masterpiece using either the aiff, flac, or mp3 versions of the track. You can use outside samples, as long as they’re licensed under a license similar to (or less restrictive than) this track. (Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike—try using the FMA search box and under “Filter Results by Use” check “modify, adapt, and build upon”)
  2. Upload the masterpiece using the “submit” tool on the album page.
  3. Kiila and the ISSUE Project Room / FMA Curatorial Team judge the entries.
  4. Win a signed LP of Kiila’s newest album Tuota tuota with an mp3 download!

The contest will be over in two weeks, on November 5, conveniently one day before the end of Minor Musics: Finland.

Note that all entries must be shared under a similar license to Kiila’s (that is, “Share Alike”). So, as good as these remixes are, don’t go trying to pitch them to Kanye or anything (without getting Kiila in on the deal).

Kiila’s going to be playing next weekend at ISSUE Project Room as part of our series Minor Musics: Finland, and they’ll be guest-blogging up until their concert. Below, I’ve posted the new mp3 of the track-to-be-remixed and an mp3 of Kevätlaulu from Tuota tuota, which Pekko & Juho discuss in their second guest post. There’s some heavy insight into Finnish styles in there (stuff like “hexachord” and “melodic thing”) so for those of you planning to throw down some remixes, read up:

National-Romantic issues of Kiila

Part II: The musical point of view

So, there are some essential musical features too associated with the fore-mentioned runo-song tradition. In the Vienna Karelia region, where the runo-song tradition survived the longest, the scales of the songs were usually close to major or minor pentachord (or hexachord at the usual most). There are certain amounts of variation of the melodies, so the melodic “thing” is put in many different ways.

The case of Kevätlaulu:

Kevätlaulu is heavily syncopated. First three words (eight syllables though: 224) forms one melodic line (A) and the last four words (also eight syllables: 2222) another (B). Also the fundamental (here d’) is reached only in the end of the verse. The melodic reach is one octave. The scale is d'e'f'g'a'c''d'', so a "pure" d-minor scale is lacking the b'.

Here’s an example of a really basic runo-song melody:

The main thing here is, that usually there's only an AB-structure, which is repeated all the way through the evening and hundreds of lines. The melodic line starts and ends with the d’ and there aren’t huge melodic jumps downwards (like in "Kevätlaulu") and no syncopation whatsoever.

However, there might be a sudden similarity on more general – but maybe trivial – level. If we forget about the stuff in the textlines of Kevätlaulu, we will discover that there's a similar AB-structure in the melodies. In Kevätlaulu it could be shown numerically as 8574 4355 // 8574 432 321 (where 8 is equivalent to d'', 7 = c'' and so on). The melodic sructure of the runo-song is 1166 5353 // 4533 2311. What we'll discover immediately is that the endings are really similar:

32 321 (Kevätlaulu)
32 311 (the runo-song)

Also, the A-part is left “hanging” in a way in both songs: in the runo-song there’s 53-movement and in Kevätlaulu there’s 55-movement. So, once more put, the AB-endings would be in both examples:

Kevätlaulu 55-21 and the runo-song 53-11 – what do you say?

Written by Pekko Käppi & Juho Kaitajärvi of Kiila

MINOR MUSICS:FINLAND is made possible through the generous support of the American-Scandinavian Foundation; the Consulate General of Finland; ESEK, The Finnish Performing Music Promotion Centre; and Luses, the Popular Music Committee of the Foundation for the Promotion of Finnish Music.

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