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Saturday, 24 December 2011 23:00

Finland: 'Enkeleitä - Angels' by Saara Aalto - A Review

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In recent months, a new project commenced with international album reviews set to take prominence on ESCflashmalta over the next couple of months.  Securing the professional writing skills of singer/songwriter Jean Claude Vancell is surely a great step forward and we aim to bring you the most recently released albums within the industry in relation to artists within the Eurovision Song Contest. The fifth compilation of tracks will be coming about from a beautiful artist, one who has been aiding our website in recent months hailing from Finland. Her name is Saara Aalto and she was also one of the finalists in the selection process last year actually with the song 'Blessed With Love'.

Artist: Saara Aalto

Twenty three year old Finnish singer songwriter, Saara has composed her first song when she was five years old. A pianist at heart, she continued studying and caught the public’s eye at the 2004 Finnish National selection to the Eurovision Song Contest when she was just sixteen. She moved on to take part in Finland’s Got Talent, High School Musical and the 2008, 2009 (as backing singer) and 2010 Finnish National Selections for Eurovision.

Album Title: Enkeleitä - Angels

Released: 12th December 2011 (Finland)

To start off, I have to say that this album is very well produced and features a great orchestra sound. The tracks sound like they’re coming from a huge movie soundtrack – a Christmas one, of course. The soaring vocals and intricate string sections on the record really do put you in a Christmas mood. Saara’s vocals are both delicate and powerful, striking a balance. Her dynamics are spot-on in every track.

This ten-track album features six tracks of what I can only presume is Finnish, one track in Latin and three tracks in English. Enkeleitä - Angels is not any Christmas album... don’t expect any ‘Last Christmas’ covers! It is a classical take on some beautiful seasonal songs. No large drum sounds, no synths... just magic. I have to admit some songs did transmit some melancholy, but to be fair Christmas is not a joyful time for all of us.

Tracks to look out for:

Walking in the air – This is what I refer to as the snowman song – mainly because it was used in a commercial a few years ago, featuring a flying snowman. I can only describe Saara’s take on this tune as Magic in sound. This is a popular composition, but her vocals make it extremely enchanting. The music is performed to a tee and the dynamics of the orchestra are moving.

Pie Jesu – beautifully sung latin piece. Somehow her interpretation is more contemporary. She lets her voice guide her through it effortlessly. The interpretation is not rigid – something which I find common in classical singers. Saara managed to show her versatility once more.

O Holy Night - I have to mention the beautifully played piano on this track. I can only assume Saara herself played the instrument. The score is written to be played with the utmost simplicity and finesse... very well executed! The choir introduced late in that song adds to the grandeur of this timeless Christmas classic.

Final verdict:

Two thumbs up for this album. It’s a beautifully laid down Christmas album. Saara’s interpretation is haunting in every track (yes I do mean EVERY track) and it did put me in a Christmassy mood. So prepare your egg-nog, indulge in some mince and cuddle up with your loved one in front of a fire (or if you’re in Malta, omit the fire and just cuddle up) and put on this amazing collection of tunes! Merry Christmas to all! Hope this holiday bring you all the blessings you desire!

Source: Album, Saara Aalto Official Website

Last modified on Sunday, 25 December 2011 03:07