Tenhi – Valkama

Tenhi - Valkama



4.0/5 Pros

  • Very characteristic sound
  • Intense listen Cons

  • Certain similarities between the songs

Melancholic folk rock from Finland: it took the band Tenhi more than a decade until they released their new album Valkama. As my knowledge of the Finnish language is really limited, this review is like a blind flight through the musical landscapes the Scandinavians create in these fifteen tracks. Nonetheless, I just had to give it a try. Release date is 9th June 2023.


Tenhi – About the Artists

Tenhi is a melancholic folk / neofolk band from Finland. They have already been founded in 1996. The founding members were Tyko Saarikko and Ilkka Salminen. Saariko is still member of the band and is its lead singer, guitarist and piano player. I found different band lineups unfortunately – I guess that the current one is Ilmari Issakainen Tuukka Toivanen, Jaarko Hiippö and Paula Rantamäki.Valkama is the first album of the band since twelve years, when they released Saivo.


Tenhi – Valkama – Track by Track

The standard version of the album consists of 12 tracks and lasts 70 minutes. There is also a 15 track deluxe version of the album.

1. Saattue

More than eleven minutes – the Scandinavians are indeed doing epic music and open Valkama with a massive track. Thus, Saattue (“Convoy”, all translations done by Google Translate). Tyko Saarko feels so warm, trustful from the very first moment he is telling the story of the song. Saattue is beautiully developing over time, featuring a folk-alike instrumentation and very atmospheric backing vocals. This first one feels so simple, but is such a beauty – even if you have no chance to understand the lyrics.

2. Kesävihanta

The concept of Valkama is the concept of the band: folk music, dominated by acoustic style instrumentation. The sound is taking you into another world, like a beautiful tale. And you feel a strong urge of understanding which story the band is telling you in this one. The high, fairy-alike background vocals are the most characteristic one of this song.

3. Valkama

The title track is in third position of the album. It starts with a strong presence and feels very hymnic from the very beginning. The sound of Valkama is very melodic. Later in the song, the over seven minute recording has quite rocking parts. The song feels very symphonic.

4. Rintamaan

Rintamaan translates to “To the Front” comes with a marching rhythm. The flute elements are a lovely catch. The song is opening for a block of three tracks which are comparably short, four minutes or less. The vocal range is impressing.

5. Rannankukka

The fifth song feels very dramatic. Tenhi are often classified as a dark folk band – and this one is not too light, definitely. If this one is not scaring you too much, give it a listen and enjoy.

6. Laineinen

The harmonium is one of the key instruments used by the Finnish band – and Laineinen is one of its gala songs on the album. The gala is rather short, though. A very deep, intense listen – the album feels like classical music for people who rather like folk sounds and Nordic tales.

7. Hele

After the rather short songs, Hele is presenting an epic sound. I prefer some other options out of the longer recordings in here – but it is a nice listen.

8. Ulapoi

Ulapoi is a very melodic song, which comes with a Medieval touch and some really nice piano and violin parts. In other sections, the bass drum and a tambourine are going for a very present, almost stomping rhythm. Very entertaining five minute listen.

9. Elokuun linnut

The second single release on this album is about the “Birds of August”. The song feels comparably pop-ish, very melodic and does not have that many breaks. The piano is taking the leading role on the instrumental side.

10. Sydämes on tiel

“The heart is the way” opens with a happy sounding flute theme. Overall, the tenth track spreads quite a lot of positive energy. The sound feels like spring and summer to me. However, the second half of the track also has some very powerful, slightly frightening elements.

11. Veden elein

The acoustic guitar leads the second last track of the album. Apart from the very present backing main theme, there are not too many characteristic elements in the song. However, the Gregorian choir alike vocal part at the very end of the song stays in your mind.

12. Aina sininen aina

The almost seven minute Aina sininen aina closes the album. The song starts rather slow with some female backing vocals. Overall, the track feels like a seven minute fade out to me.


Tenhi – Valkama – Spotify

Here is Valkama on Spotify:


Tenhi – Valkama – My View

Valkama is indeed an intense listen. Have a good glass of red wine and maybe some cheese while you are listening to Tenhi – this is not a beer-and-chips album. The more I got into it, though, the more I enjoyed it.


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