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"According to Jonne, his time in the Lapland was supposed to be some sort of search for his true self, but all he could find was booze, forest, women and funny music and these are pretty much the things that you will find in Korpiklaani's music these days."—Jarkko Aaltonen, interview with Maelstrom magazine
Their origins are rather unique in the genre: most folk metal bands started as metal bands that added folk later; Korpiklaani started off as a folk band and added metal. Specifically, they started as Shamaani Duo, a Sami folk band employed by the Hullu Poro ("Crazy Reindeer") restaurant in Lapland. Jonne Järvelä then retooled the band into Shaman, playing the same folk music as before but with metal instruments and a synthesizer. After recording two albums (and playing as a guest musician for Finntroll), Jonne retooled the band again: they incorporated more metal influence into their songwriting--and Jonne switched from Sami yoiking to metal-style rough vocals in Finnish and English--while simultaneously replacing the synthesizers with traditional acoustic instruments. They also changed their name to Korpiklaani ("Forest Clan"), mainly to avoid confusion with the Brazilian band also named Shaman. It was as Korpiklaani that their popularity outside Finland really took off.
Common themes in their lyrics include drinking and partying, stories from Scandanavian mythology and folklore, and characters from Scandanavian mythology drinking and partying.
As Shamaani Duo
- Hunka Lunka
- Idja (1999)
- Shamániac (2002)
- Spirit of the Forest (2003)
- Voice of Wilderness (2005)
- Tales Along This Road (2006)
- Tervaskanto (2007)
- Korven Kuningas (2008)
- Karkelo (2009)
- Ukon Wacka (2011)
Korpiklaani provides examples of:
- Audience Participation Song: "Vodka", whose ear wormy call-and-response lyrics seem tailor-made for audiences to shout along.
- Bawdy Song: Find an English translation of Kirki (or learn Finnish)
- Drunken Song / Ode to Intoxication: At least one per album.
- Drunken Master: Present in the lyrics of several songs, such as Beer Beer and Vodka.
- Heavy Mithril
- I Am the Band: Back when they were Shaman, Jonne was the only permanent member. The roster has stabilized since Tales Along This Road.
- Indecipherable Lyrics: In some songs.
- Leave the Camera Running: Korven Kuningas' title song and final track is 20 minutes long, 15 minutes of which are distant, repetitive percussion.
- Mascot: Vaari, the antlered man who has appeared on every album cover since Tales Along This Road.
- Non-Appearing Title: Spirit of the Forest, Voice of Wilderness, and Tales Along This Road. Ironically, there is a song called "Spirit of the Forest"... on the album Voice of Wilderness.
- Our Dwarves Are All the Same: "Wooden Pints" is about "little men" who live in the mountains and "really know how to party".
- Wanderlust Song: "Journeyman".