I love them so much. I'm surprised they don't have that many plays here. My favorite album is a tie between Vihma and Ilmatar. But I also love Iki and Seleniko. I'm proud to say for a brief time I was one of their top listeners :D
I usually find myself listening to them with other Scandinavian folk bands (e.g. Loituma, Garmarna), or with more medieval folk type artists like Medieval Baebes, Alyth McCormack, Loreena McKennitt, and Clannad. Hila Plitmann and Eric Whitacre occasionally fit as well, especially on their work on Paradise Lost.
You know what is funny, I generally don't find I listen to anything else with Värttinä. I listen to Värttinä by itself, not mixed with other artists. Somehow I can't make anything else fit with them. What do people listen to on playlists with Värttinä?
Hard to name only 1 album... I'd go for Oi Dai before Kokko. I love this band, have seen them live a few times. Their happiness and strength are contagious, people that see them for the first time quickly get a very good impression and a need to dance along. I only regret that the guy playing the fiddle acted as an asshole when we asked him to sign two of the CDs.
Frankly, I would start with the latest record, Miero, as it seems to be the most accessible. If you like that, then go backwards. I would go to Kokko and then Aitara, myself. Just a question of my own taste. You really can't lose with any of their records. :)
Luuttuaja: Ah well that would make sense now wouldn't it. :) Thank you for the clarification. These are very spunky girls. I like their punchy but friendly aggression. I don't mean this in any kind of negative way, but from the pictures and the music the girls remind me of watchdogs--jumping up to see who is arriving in camp--defiant but friendly and yet concealing the potential to unleash real power on those with ill-intentions. Very amusing and fun.
@kaiserzeitgeist: During their first two albums ("Värttinä" and "Musta Lindu") Värttinä members really were very young, so it's no miracle they sounded like kids back then! From "Oi Dai" onwards they had a different line-up and the members were young adults.
I've given cursory listen to nearly all their albums so far and this music is really impossible to forget or to discard. If I had one criticism that comes to mind it pertains to the earlier albums where sometimes the voices sound almost indistinguishable from childrens' voices. Not that that is bad, but it can be a little distracting sometimes. On the other hand, there are many vocal passages which possess such childlike conviction and sincerity that they can almost make one cry. A band I am sure to listen to for the rest of my life. :^)