In 1987, the Finnish press of Soviet-Karelia wrote about a young guy who was becoming popular on the underground scene of Petrozavodsk. Santtu Karhu (alias Aleksandr Medvedev) was raised by his grandmother in the old Karelian ways - despite Soviet oppression -, before becoming a student in literature and then the first rock singer in the world using Karelian language with the lyrics of his songs. This was his own political stand. Karelians number about 75,000 in Russia.
It took some more years before Santtu's band, Talvisovat (Winter Clothes), had gigs outside Russia and started making records. They found a warm interest and support in Finland where Finnish National TV made several documentaries about Karelian culture starring Santtu and his bands.
This is a five-piece band who explore the poetry and popular folk music of their Karelian homeland, and create their own style, mixing folk type jigs and reels with progressive rock arrangements in a style similar to Covus Corax, early Jethro Tull and Fairport Convention. Santtu Karhu describes his music as “Etnofutiristic Rock”. Their album Hyvastit Karjala (Hotigloo, 2003) was sold out in Finland. The lyrics are in Karelian.
Santtu and his band are regularly on tour in Finland and Scandinavia.
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