Most people's knowledge Finnish music could at best be summed up in the work of Jean Sibelius, or maybe Einojuhani Rautavaara -- but then there's Kaiku. A sextet of three female singers who sound like a cross between the Roches and the Swingle Singers, are accompanied by three guys on percussion, cello, and accordion. They were formed in 2004 in New York (where else would one form a Finnish group?) by Jaana Kantola and Paula Jaakkola -- then members of a group called Akapella -- who decided to strike out on their own with a third singer, Erja Vettenranta. Cellist Christopher Hoffman came aboard next, followed by accordionist Rob Curto and percussionist Scott Kettner. They named the group Kaiku, which is Finnish for "echo."
Their sound, mixing three female voices of striking range with a mix of Finnish lyrics (drawn from folk songs and epic poems) and vocalese, recalls not only the Swingle Singers, but Kate Bush multiplied by three, or Petra Haden without the overdubbing, and is delicate, witty, fierce, and warm, by turns and sometimes all at once. Regular, "official" gigs at locales such as the Cornelia Street Cafe in Greenwich Village and the Brooklyn Academy of Music cafe followed, along with appearances on local television and WBAI-FM radio. In early 2005, they issued an EP of their music on CD, and as planned, an album should be on its way.