Veloce Live in Helsinki

One reason to not like traditional music is that often its performers give weary, watered-down interpretations, which bleach out all colours. Not the case with this Finnish ensemble, which features four female vocalists that are equal parts Buffy Sainte Marie and Diamanda Galas, while these sirens are joined by a six-piece acoustic band whose dexterity and attention to detail is impeccable. The Finnish music would not be alien to fans of the Celtic forms, sharing with it violins, the accordion and manic percussion. Tribal and ritualistic elements are especially strong, due in no small part to the four-voice chorus giving them life. A smattering of original pieces highlights the group's ability to weave in a pop chorus to confound expectations, and except for an a cappella piece early on, energy levels seldom drop below a low boil throughout the concert. Perhaps this was a strategy to keep warm - Finland in December, you know? (Northside)