UMEÅ. A week ago the the popfolk group Väärt, with its roots in the counties of Norrbotten and Västerbotten, released a second album, Palla Orka . As was the case with their first album a couple of years ago, Sommarfågel (Summerbird), the reviews have mainly been upbeat.
– It’s always nice to read the reviews if they’re favourable towards you, says the bands lead-singer Pär Isling Poromaa.
They´ve written songs about the bridges of Haparanda and about a life of walking in arctic circles and about being ”29 until I die”. Väärt’s latest contribution to the music scene is definitely more grave and melancholy than their debut production. Palla Orka is in fact reeking of northern gloom.
– When we did the first one, Johan (Airijoki) and I lived in Malmberget, Lapland, a different place, which perhaps made the whole approach more youthful. Since then, there has been some water under the bridge, and we have moved on, got a bit older and this time perhaps written a more profound piece.
The band´s homebase is now in Umeå. Maybe for Pär, moving a bit southwards, away from the roots in the mining town of Malberget and the Torne Valley, is one of the reasons for the groups change of direction, towards a more melancholy route. But according to the songwriter, their special brand of popfolk, with an electronic touch to it, will take yet another leap away from their present path of slow wistfulness.
– If this one was more contemplative, the next record will be built on power and energy, reveals Pär Isling Poromaa. But it will take time before we´ll enter the recording studio, our aim is to have a lot of songs to choose from, and we have already written a few, confesses Pär.
The band had their release party at classical Scharinska in Umeå last Friday. A couple of hundred music lovers turned up to listen to Väärt, Popterror and Frida Selander. The two latter covered a couple of Väärt songs, which according to Isling Poromaa was unusual but flattering.
– The whole event was like an explosion and a good night out.
FACT FILE: The Group members are Pär Isling Poromaa (vocals/words), Johan Airijoki (guitar, harmonica and backing vocals), Frida Johansson (violin, piano and vocals) Love Kjellsson (electronics, drums and guitar). In addition on this new album, Marcus Falck (from the folkmusic band JP Nyström) plays the tramp organ. Axel Andersson (from the reggaeband Glesbygden) has produced the record that is released by Westpark Music.
Post cover illustration: Album cover by Studio Parallell, photographer Alexandra Ellis Andersson.
Broarna i Haparanda from the Palla Orka album:
Video from Väärt’s album Palla Orka: