[PREMIERE] Kieli – Palavu

Kieli is the moniker of multi-instrumentalist, singer-songwriter and composer Elin Pöllänen. Signed to Cognitive Shift, Kieli’s debut album, From Summer to Spring is a record inspired by her roots in Swedish, Finnish and Karelian culture. The latter being a distinct culture with its own traditions, language and dialects found in both Finland and Russia. The album was birthed from a difficult period in Elin’s life as she cared for her father in his final years, as she explains, “amidst the fear, music really became the most attentive and merciful language that I could use to communicate with myself and explore my emotions so that I stayed resilient and open to life”. Ahead of the album’s release this May, today Elin is sharing the first track from the record, Palavu.

Photography by Maja Johansson – https://www.majajohansson.se/,

Included on an album of sometimes weighty subject matter, Palavu is something of an inspirational moment. Sung in both English and Livvi, an endangered Karelian language, the track dreams of a brighter future for us all, the potential for a world built around empowerment, community, and resistance to oppression. Despite its global ambitions, Palavu stems from a more personal origin, as Elin explains, “I was inspired by a particular family tradition: on Maundy Thursday, we invite people over and gather around the bonfire and visualise what kind of world that should grow out of the ashes”.

Musically, Palavu is a fabulously atmospheric piece, with ringing piano chords, adorned with skittering almost home-made sounding percussion and textures of accordion and kanteles, a traditional Karelian instrument that sounds somewhere between a zither and a harp. Dancing amongst the music like a body rushing through a forest is Elin’s graceful vocal, bringing to mind Joanna Newsom or Lowly’s Soffie Viemose, it’s an instrument both precise and undeniably beautiful in its swooping tones as she flicks between languages at will. For all the darkness, this song above all sounds of hope, as Elin recalls, “in our home, integrity, love and joy reigned, and routines became sacred rituals…I really hope the album can offer people a place to rest, move, mourn, or even rejoice, like it has done for me”.

From Summer To Spring is out May 26th via Cognitive Shift. For more information on Kieli visit https://www.instagram.com/kielimusic/

Success! You're on the list.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s