Check out HOME OF THE WIND, the forthcoming documentary about Moonsorrow's first 20 years of history, based on this biography. Crowdfunding campaign starting in May!

24 July 2010

The origin of "Matkan lopussa"

Today we're taking a break from the biography. I hope you find this short article interesting or, at least, curious. However, there's still a lot that can be said about this traditional song, so if you know Russian or Finnish or just know better about the song, please feel free to leave some comments! (No need to be registered anywhere.)

"Matkan lopussa", meaning "A journey's end", is the last song of Moonsorrow's third album Kivenkantaja (2003). The lyrics were written by Ville Sorvali, but the music is traditional - not Finnish, as one could think, but Russian. The first known version was a Russian hussar mazurka from the 18th century, but the lyrics are unknown, and actually only the melody of the chorus was borrowed in later versions. There's also a romance whose melody is based in this one: it's called "Fragrant clusters of white acacia" (Белой акации гроздья душистые), and was transcribed as sheet music for the first time around 1902. Its lyrics talk about the loss of youth.

During the Russian Civil War (1917-1923), this song was used under the title Смело мы в бой пойдём, with the same melody but obviously a different character, as this is a war song. It was actually used by both sides, but some lines were different; there even were versions with minor differences within the same side (for example, a "white" version starts saying "listen, grandfathers" and another one says "listen, brothers"), but all of them said pretty much the same. This is the Red Army version:
Слушай рабочий Война началася Бросай своё дело В поход собирайся Припев: Смело мы в бой пойдём За власть Советов И как один умрём В борьбе за это
Listen, workers, the war has begun. Leave what you're doing (?) and go on campaign. Chorus: Boldly we will go into battle for the power of Soviets, and as a single person die fighting for it.
And this is the White Army version:
Слыхали, деды, Война началася, Бросай свое дело — В поход собирайся. Припев: Смело мы в бой пойдём За Русь святую, И как один прольём Кровь молодую.
Listen, grandfathers, the war has begun. Leave what you're doing (?) and go on campaign. Chorus: Boldly we will go into battle for the Holy Rus (=Russia), and as a single person spill young blood.
The Finnish version is pretty much the same as the older Russian one, the romance: the melody is identical and the lyrics are an approximate translation of the original. Note that Finland was a part of the Russian empire at that time, so it's not strange to find this song there too. This version is called "Valkoakaasiat", which means "White acacia"; you can read the lyrics in the first comment of this entry. Here I'm posting some of the versions I could find:
Tamara Lund, 1962
Instrumental acoustic guitar version by a band called Steelers
Moonsorrow arrangement with title changed to "Matkan lopussa", lyrics by Ville Sorvali
A Russian film called Дни Турбиных - Days of the Turbins, dating from 1976, showed a different version of Белой акации гроздья душистые (the romance) - so different that it's even hard to find parallelisms in the melody. It's actually called "Целую ночь соловей нам насвистывал..." - "A nightingale was singing for us all night long". So don't confuse both versions. You can find many more versions on YouTube: Finnish and Russian, older and newer, by different singers... etc etc. Have fun! Thanks a lot to Bogdan, who gave me the basis to start with, and to Óðinn, who clarified several points I wasn't sure about.

13 July 2010

Chapter 5.2

I just changed the song of the previous post, as I had mistakenly added an unrelated one.

In the last chapter we were saying that, during the recording of the fourth album, Henri revealed the supposed album tracklist, which consisted of twenty-one titles, each more insultant or disrespectful. Here’s the original thing plus the translation/explanation, thanks to Viking Metaller from the forum:

- copyright (c) Moonsorrow 2004 -

01. Kuolema taidehomoille... ja muille - Death to the art gays...and others.
02. Puutarhurin painajainen - Nightmare of the gardener
03. Myin lapsesi Jammu- sedälle - I sold your kid to uncle Jammu (finnish child-raper)
04. Vitun runkkarit ja muut - Fucking wankers and others.
05. Saatanan lehmä - Satans Cow
06. Homo Jeesus - Gay Jesus
07. Saatanan saksalaiset, teistä ei oo mihinkään - Goddamn German people, you are worthless.
08. Shitter Limited on maailman paras bändi (feat. Vitummoista pörinää) - Shitter Limited is the best band in the world. (Feat. Lots of fucking buzzz)
09. Vapauttakaa Matti Nykänen - Free Matti Nykänen (finnish ex-ski jumper hold in prison for stabbing)
10. Matti Vanhanen on homo joka ei kestä viinaa - Matti Vanhanen (then prime minister of Finland) is gay who cant deal with booze
11. Juutalaiskysymys? - Jewish question?
12. Morjens!!!! - Hello There!!!!
13. Anna pillua Jonne Aaron - Give me some pussy Jonne Aaron (finnish extremely gay "goth" singer in the band Negative)
14. Vitun verhoilijavitunmestari - Fucking curtainmakerfuckmaster
15. Perspillu ja hyvät vitut (puh runku) - Assfuck and nice pussys. (dunno whats "puh runku" ment to mean)
16. Se hyvä biisi - The good song.
17. Kumipaskiainen - Rubber asshole
18. Hakaristi on oikeesti kaunis - Swastika is actually pretty.
19. Bjarne Kallis työnnä risti vittu perseeseen - Bjarne Kallis pull a cross up your fucking ass. (the former spokesman of the Finnish christian democrat party)
20. Ime meisseliä Silikoni- Janita - Suck some chisel silicone-Janita.
21. Outro: Viikset - Outro: Moustache

Very Moonsorrow… yeah, right. A few days later, Ville was proud of the stir the tracklist had caused in the internet. In next entries they told how they spent their days recording, but they didn’t put too much effort in pretending,

Breaking news!
and did things like mentioning always the same two or three titles, saying “…we recorded two test takes (two songs = thirty minutes)…” (this was actually previous to the publication of the tracklist) or even that sentence that says “taking a step forward (backward?)”. Among fans, the response was varied, from the half-sceptical-half-surprised ones to the ones who just laughed and never believed it. Concerning media, I imagine many ignored the news, but many others swallowed the bait and even seemed to swallow it anxiously, the mighty Blabbermouth among them. Because, of course, everything turned out to be an immense lie. In the last entry of the diary, when they had finished recording, Henri, moderate as always, wrote: “Very many of you readers suck. How come? Well, how the HELL could you be so stupid that you actually believed in our "tracklist"? It was made to piss anyone off, including the internet "media", which proves that it´s still nothing but a crappy excuse for so-called journalism (excluding some). Even some Finnish "medias" believed it, which is the most stupid thing ever. Please, feel free to be embarrassed.” After that he revealed the actual information on the album: it would be called Verisäkeet (Bloodverses), would last about 65-70 minutes and would have four songs plus an outro. Concerning the lie, it must be said that, even before they entered studio, Spikefarm’s future releases list showed the real title. When the truth was revealed,

Quorthon (1966-2004)
some media just published the news (like Blabbermouth), but others considered it “a joke with which Moonsorrow wanted to draw attention” (like

On the 7th of June, Bathory’s mastermind Quorthon was found dead in his home in Oslo. This was a tough commotion for extreme metal; Moonsorrow always cited Bathory as their main influence, and joined the mourn by dedicating him the chorus of “Matkan lopussa” (“A journey’s end”):

Once will the worldly curtain
fall before all men.
O' hear me sing this one last song
echoing through the heavens.
- RIP Quorthon

On October 22nd they participated in a Bathory tribute gig in Turku, playing songs of his viking era. And then the year 2004 ended.

Matkan lopussa

Chapter 5.1 - Index - Chapter 6.1

04 July 2010

Chapter 5.1

Chapter 4.2 - Index - Chapter 5.2

Fifth chapter:
The big lie

The band started the year 2004 with a concert in Helsinki on January 3rd and a subsequent break of almost three months. During the previous year they had done only eight concerts, as well as in 2002. Right, they released a lot of stuff, but they weren’t the most active band touring-wise. In spring they started to write again and to play some gigs. April 30th would become an important day in Moonsorrow’s history, as they played outside Finland for the first time ever. The chosen place was the Croatian city of Osijek.

Dead-serious in Croatia
Two days later they played a festival in Budapest (Hungary). Ville, tell us something please? “In Croatia we had a strange show with no lights on the stage (!) and in Hungary we played our biggest concert so far (for 2000 people). We also spent some extra days in tropical Budapest, which was fun.” Besides, the Budapest gig was special for another reason: they did a jam session with local heavy metal band Kalapács, all of them dressed with the t-shirt of the other band, and also that day Moonsorrowers had decided to wear corpsepaint. The photos suggest that it was something worth seeing. Some months later they went to Oslo, and that’s all they played abroad that year.

During the following months they finished the composition of what would be their fourth studio album. And one day came where they revealed its title in

Moonsorrow and Kalapács
their website: it would be called Raah Raah Blääh. This made everybody surprised, because such a nonsense title didn’t fit Moonsorrow at all, or what they’re about. Then they started to say that they had planned to change their sound, as they thought they had exploited the epic themes and progressive structures to the maximum, and considered it was time to evolve towards other sounds. Towards grindcore, to be precise. In April, the news in their official website said: “The band has started to write the new album "Raah Raah Blääh" at the infamous Ragnarök Audio studio. Album will be recorded after summer once again with Ahti Kortelainen at Tico Tico studio in Kemi, Finland.” So they did, and on August 29th they had written the first entry in their studio diary. The given title had provoked many reactions, but Henri’s comment on September 2nd was the talk of the internet fan community during several days; it said: “We have now decided to publish the tracklist of "Raah Raah Blääh" officially. As you folks

Dark-us Eurén
propably know, this album is going to be a bit different release, as we thought not repeating ourselves musically and lyrically. So, no more overlenghty boring songs and epic shit, but some seriously pure aggression, hate and even some politics. (!!!!) Some of you might think it´s not acceptable for taking a step forward (backward?) but might I remind you that it is us who decide the direction of the band, not you. Live with it or start listening to Åkercocke.” The tracklist is too long so it will appear in the next chapter. See you next week, my loyal fanatics!

1065: Aika (2003 master)

Chapter 4.2 - Index - Chapter 5.2