Jaakko Laitinen & Väärä Raha
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Jaakko Laitinen & Väärä Raha

Helsinki, Central Finland, Finland | Established. Jan 01, 2014 | INDIE

Helsinki, Central Finland, Finland | INDIE
Established on Jan, 2014
Band World


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Third time is the right time and the truth is, if you haven't noticed it yet, that Jaakko Laitinen & Väärä Raha is one of the most unique orchestra's of our country. Of course Balkan influences are popular nowadays, but no one is melding it with Finnish iskelmä and kupletti like these boys from Lapland. The final secret must be the lush music that is combined by the texts sang by Laitinen's natural authority. The lyrics represent the highest elite in the Finnish music. - Soundi

"While the big name Balkan bands are trying to reinvent themselves with gypsy guitar encounters and other collaborative efforts, the Lapps continue to give us what we want: heartfelt soulful Balkan blues, albeit sung in Finnish." - Muzikifan

5/5 (full points)

"Tradition respecting lyrics are taken by Jaakko Laitinen's serious interpretations to extremely emotional dimensions. And what's the problem of throwing yourself to big emotions as the orchestre seems to be improving it's run album by album like the famous proverbial pig." - Ylkkäri

"The secret of the orchestra is not only the Laitinen's husky Olavi Virta incarnation and his secretly wise lyrics, but also the musical diversity. Recycling the basic elements of Balkan music and getting stuck to them would by eventually extremely boring. When four of the five musicians are composing, the soup is spiced with many kinds of ingredients and ways of music making. The band has history in hip hop, soul, jazz and progressive music. The band's attitude is more like rock-band's and my laptop's musicplayer is naming album's genre 'country & folk'." - Desibeli

Many bands spend their careers shining their diamond without results, but Jaakko Laitinen & Väärä Raha made it perfectly with their third album. It will be interesting to see, where they head from here. - Rumba

Album of the week. - Folke - Sveriges Radio

"Best live music in Finland" - desibeli.net

JLVR won the award with two other bands. - Yle

Hailing from Lapland, Jaakko Laitinen & Väärä Raha manage to infuse both old and new world elements into their self-titled debut.

The big Balkan horns are what first drew me into their songs, there's something about this style of brass work that brings to mind lost European mountain villages *and* the whiskey fueled American old west. There's other East-meets-West elements as well: the Roma rhythms, the cross-cultural mandolin... but what really puts Jaakko Laitinen & Väärä Raha into their own category is that they're more interested in subverting the tango than they are reinventing the waltz or polka. This take on South American sultry-ness infuses these songs with a sexy dance groove that's hard to beat.

This CD is worth a few dozen listens, at least. - sepiachord.com

Wait, stop the presses! I've just received a last-minute arrival for my best-of 2010 list! Okay, so maybe that's a bit hyperbolic of me, not to mention premature since I really did just get their CD over the weekend, but I really do love love love the sound of Finnish crooner Jaakko Laitinen & Väärä Raha. A bit of tango, a bit of Balkan folk and a crooning frontman who reminds me a bit of a young Rodney Dangerfield with the way he lets his hair and tie lay slightly askew; that adds up to something really great in my book. This is music for parties, dancing and drinking, as much as it is also fit for grand, weepy ballads, though we shall stick with the former for the time being. I am only left to wonder: is this the tip of the iceberg? Is there more contemporary Finnish tango I should be listening to? What are the other crucial records of the genre I should have? - itsatrap.com

Singer Jaakko Laitinen and the band Vaara Raha might originate in Finnish Lapland, but their hearts are in the Balkans. Jaakko Laitinen is a crooner in the old style, suave and sophisticated, and, through he sings in Finnish, his sense of longing on the topics of love, life, happiness and of course, drink, come shining through any language barriers. The musicians (on drums, acoustic bass, accordion and trumpet) play it fast and fiery, no doubt from the need to generate heat on those long, cold Finnish winter nights. The songs, mostly original, mix in bits of gypsy rhythms, Russian romances, Balkan beats and even Finnish tangos. This recording is short and sweet—36 minutes of escape from the far frozen north. - Driftwood.com

This is life... Listen and enjoy...!!!" - jazzrytmit.com

Such a living energy is rarely heard on a record - Keskisuomalainen

"Listening to this, the heart desires to love and the feet want to
dance." 5/5 - Helsingin Sanomat

"This band is like a merry vagabond, who first steals your booze, then
loves your woman, and after getting caught in the act, sells you back
the booze and flashes a rogue-like smile on top." - Lammaszine.fi

"It is nordic, but it's not crispy-dry like winter. These ten songs
rather sound like an emphemeral and warm summernight somewhere there up north, near the polar circle, beside the 1001th lake."

Translated by K.M. Kalvet - Eesti Päevaleht

"The band is continuing on their way of their totally own mixture of
balkan beats, east european longnings, and a hint of finnish tango
legends. This time the aim is set high, and the album is a very
consistent one without any weak links. The title song "Yö
Rovaniemellä" - Night in Rovaniemi - gives glimpses of finnish
temperament, and on greek-influenced "Lehti Tuulessa" - a leaf in the
wind -, a 9/8 dancing meter is treated with ease."

Translated by Tuomo Kuure - VodkaBeat.blogspot.com

"The band is tighter than ever, and the arrangements have a new kind of
dynamics that reach beyond the other side of a live performance. They
are really taking the most out of the music, using their maximum power
precisely when it is needed."

Translated by Tuomo Kuure - Lapin Kansa

"This music is not superficial. It is made of people dancing and
sweating in the long summer nights, deepest feelings that come from
the ever changing life. There is humor, love and joy of expression.
Booze runs on the streets, horns play their music, and feeling of
longing is eerywhere."

Translated by Tuomo Kuure - NRGM.fi

"Being a band that enjoys their time on the road, their musicality has
developed to a new level and even the most complex rhythms are in
tight control. Lead vocalist Laitinen has acquired more power and is
ever more convincing at his spot. He indulges into extreme emotions by
taking a role of a merry vagabond with a feeling of real sincerity,
closer to himself than ever."

Translated by Tuomo Kuure
- Keskisuomalainen



Jaakko Laitinen & Vr Raha - 2010 (Helmi Levyt)
Y Rovaniemell - 2012 (Helmi Levyt)
Lapland-Balkan - 2013 (Playground Music Finland)


Sivutien kautta - 2010 - (Helmi Levyt & Hear records)
En saa rauhaa - 2011 - (Helmi Levyt)
Onnenthti - 2012 - (Helmi Levyt)

Tiemme kenties (2012) - (Helmi Levyt & Goodpie Bakery)
Ihmehyrr (2013) - (Playground Music)

Songs on collections

Tanssit suuren men yll - 2010 - (Laatu-tuote)
Lira lyssna - Ljudspr till #5 2010 - (Lira Musikmagasin)
Balkan Fever Helsinki - 2011 - (Helmi Levyt & Balkan Fever ry)

2012 Boom Shakalaka presents: Baltik Bass vol 2. Maasto Records
2013 Arctic Paradise The WOMEX and LIFEM edition cd (Songlines)



We come from Lapland, from small towns called Salla, Inari and Rovaniemi. Our music is a specialty marinated in many soups. In it, you may hear echos from Balkan gypsy music, romances and old Finnish humppa. Our band consists of vocal, trumpet, bouzouki, accordion, double bass and drums. The songs are mainly our own compositions, with love and its bitter beauty as a main theme in lyrics, including other key elements of life, like mortality, the deceptive glow of memories, the swaying earthly happiness and the inexorable vanity of our ambitions. Joy and sorrow are engaged in our melodies and rhythms, just like in life itself.

Jaakko Laitinen & Vr Raha was established in 2009 after which we have gained the reputation of the wildest live show in Finland with our more than 300 gigs altogether. Also we have toured abroad in Baltic States, around Scandinavia, Germany, Ukraine, Turkey, Russia, Kazakhstan and Macedonia. Our three albums have been praised by the critics and the eponymous debut gave us a national Radio hit in Finland. Second album got the prize of Best Finnish Folk Album of the year 2012 and our freshly released third album just got us first time for the World Music Charts Europe.

Jaakko Laitinen & V채채r채 Raha

Jaakko Laitinen - vocals

Jarkko Niemel채 - trumpet, bouzouki, altohorn, backing vocals

Marko Roininen - accordion, backing vocals

Tuomo Kuure - contra bass, backing vocals

Janne Hast - drums

Band Members