Kalevala were a Finnish art-rock/psych band from Helsinki that was active for nine years, starting in 1969. In 1972, the band debuted with the popular People No Names album on Finnlevy. Between 1975 and 1977, the band released two further albums on Hi-Hat.

Members: Juha “Lido” Salonen (guitar, bass, vocals), Beaver Aitto-Oja (drums, 1969), Remu Aaltonen (drums, vocals, 1969-71), Albert Järvinen (guitar, 1970-71), Matti Kurkinen (guitar, 1971-75), Alf Forsman (drums, 1971-?), Harri Saksala (vocals, 1971-?), Sakari Kukko (saxophone, flute), Markku Luukkanen (drums), Ari Vaahtera (bass, 1974-78), Zape Leppänen (vocals, 1974-78), Raimo “Klenkka” Karima (keyboards, 1976), Heikki Hiekkala (keyboards, 1977-78)

Kalevala formed in 1969 and initially featured guitarist Albert Järvinen and drummer Remu Aaltonen. Both departed in 1970, later surfacing in retro-’50s rockers the Hurriganes. Guitarist/composer Matti Kurkinen (b. 1951) and singer/saxist Harri Saksala joined Kalevala in 1971. Saksala hailed from psych-rockers Apollo and appeared on Paroni Paakkunainen’s 1971 release Plastic Maailma.

In 1972, Kalevala debuted with People No Names on Finnlevy. It was produced by Jukka Hauru and features eight Kurkinen originals, including “Lady With the Veil,” “Escape from the Storm,” “In the Net,” and the title-track. Keyboardist Olli Ahvenlahti guests on piano and electric piano. Saksala wrote the lyrics, which were translated to English by Wigwam‘s Mats Huldén.

Kalevala briefly disbanded in 1973, during which Kurkinen joined Eero Koivistoinen‘s Music Society, appearing on the acclaimed Wahoo!

In 1974, Kalevala regrouped with a new rhythm section and two vocalists: Limousine Leppänen and (multi-instrumentalist) Lido Salonen. The band’s second album, Boogie Jungle, appeared in 1975 on Hi-Hat. It features nine cuts, including “Snow Bill,” “Boogie,” and “Capseller.” The songs are credited to Kurkinen and Salonen. Wigwam vocalist Jim Pembroke, who sings backup on five tracks, is credited with “words.” His bandmate Jukka Gustavson plays clavinet on one track. Soon after the album’s release, Kurkinen died at age 24 in an auto accident.

Kalevala soldiered on for two more years with Salonen as the principal guitarist. In 1976, they issued the single “Playground” as a preview for their self-produced third album Abraham’s Blue Refrain, released on Hi-Hat in 1977 as Kalevala Orchestra. It features 10 originals, mostly credited to Salonen and Pembroke, including “Panamanian Red,” “Forever Train,” and the two-part title-track. The band broke up the following year.

In 2016, Finnish archivists Svart Records issued a seven-song Liisankatu Studios performance by Kalevala (broadcast 7/4/73) as number 07 in its Pop Liisa series.


  • People No Names (1972)
  • Boogie Jungle (1975)
  • Abraham’s Blue Refrain (1977)

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