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936623.  Sun Sep 02, 2012 4:01 am Reply with quote

The Kalevala is the nationa epic of Finland. It was compiled by Elias Lönnrot in the 19th century from the folk-lore of Finland and Karelia. Karelia is a an area within Russia between the White Sea and the Baltic which is inhabited mainly by Finnic speakers.

It is written in trochaic tetrameter and the same meter later inspired and was used for "The Song of Hiawatha". This meter is sometimes known as the Kalevala meter and is apparantly quite common for folk tales amongst northern people.


Miele/ni mi/nun te/kevi,
aivo/ni a/jatte/levi
lähte/äni / laula/mahan,
saa’a/ni sa/nele/mahan,
suku/virttä / suolta/mahan,
laji/virttä / laula/mahan.
Sanat / suussa/ni su/lavat,
puhe’/et pu/toe/levat,
kielel/leni / kerki/ävät,
hampa/hille/ni ha/joovat.

MASTERED by desire impulsive,
By a mighty inward urging,
I am ready now for singing,
Ready to begin the chanting
Of our nation's ancient folk-song
Handed down from by-gone ages.
In my mouth the words are melting,
From my lips the tones are gliding,
From my tongue they wish to hasten;
When my willing teeth are parted,
When my ready mouth is opened,
Songs of ancient wit and wisdom
Hasten from me not unwilling.


Should you ask me,
whence these stories?
Whence these legends and traditions,
With the odors of the forest
With the dew and damp of meadows,
With the curling smoke of wigwams,
With the rushing of great rivers,
With their frequent repetitions,
And their wild reverberations
As of thunder in the mountains?

I should answer, I should tell you,
"From the forests and the prairies,
From the great lakes of the Northland,
From the land of the Ojibways,
From the land of the Dacotahs,
From the mountains, moors, and fen-lands
Where the heron, the Shuh-shuh-gah,
Feeds among the reeds and rushes.
I repeat them as I heard them
From the lips of Nawadaha,
The musician, the sweet singer."

This metre does get a bit tedious after a while but if you stick with it it becomes hypnotic.

The Kaleval was the inspiration for music by Sibelius and was claimed by Tolkien as one of the sources of "The Silmarillion". The Kalevala's wizard Väinämöinen can be seen reflected in Gandalf and Tom Bombadil.

An American science fiction writer called Emil Petaja wrote a series of books based on the Kalevala. "The Saga of Lost Earths", "The Star Mill", "The Stolen Sun" and "Tramontane: Outcast of the Stars".

There has also been a number of paintings based on the Kalevala, notably those of Akseli Gallen-Kallela.


Lemminkäisen äiti (Lemminkainen's Mother)

If you want to know what it is about, check the Wiki synopsis or read the thing.[/img]

936627.  Sun Sep 02, 2012 4:14 am Reply with quote

Very interesting.

Karelia is a an area within Russia
It doesn't appear to be completely within Russia at the moment.

936660.  Sun Sep 02, 2012 8:05 am Reply with quote

Since the emergence of an independent Finland, I don't think it's ever been entirely in Finland or entirely in Russia / the USSR.

The Soviet part of Karelia was established as an SSR in 1941, under the name Karelo-Finskaja SSR. It has been suggested that this name was chosen so that it could incorporate the rest of Finland if the Soviets annexed it at a later date.

But by 1956, this was becoming awkward. Theoretically at least, SSRs had the right to secede from the USSR - and the Soviets were becoming anxious that the Karelo-Finskaja SSR, with support from NATO, might seek so to do. So the Karelo-Finskaja SSR was abolished, and its territory was incorporated into the RSFSR (i.e. Russia).


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