Kalevala Records was a fictional Finnish label conceived by Bill Drummond and Mark Manning. Named after the Finnish national epic the label was established to release a series of 7″ singles and albums by equally fictional bands and artists inspired by their novel Bad Wisdom.
Failing to find any real Lapp punk or Arctic soul acts like the ones they described in the book, Bill & Z1Mark Manning’s alter ego ‘Zodiac Mindwarp’ invented the acts and hired musicians and singers in Helsinki to record the songs at Finnvox studio in Helsinki in late 1996, including the project’s producer Janne Louhivuori on guitars, Anssi Nykänen on drums and Harri Rantanen on bass, while J-P Virtanen played keyboards and Mongo Aaltonen performed drums.
While the original plan was to record a couple of cover songs in Finland and pad out the album with original songs the duo had heard on Finnish radio, the recording sessions went so well that Bill and Mark decided to continue more songs with the same lineup and bring in additional singers like Veeti Kallio acting and performing as the lead singer of The Fuckers, and Hannu Leidén who would take on the guise of The Blizzard King, while background vocals on several songs were contributed by Finnish folk music group Angelit.
During 1997, six singles where officially released through Liverpool record shop Probe Records, each of them limited to 500 copies. However, both the soundtrack and Puurtinen/Bruuk’s full-length album were canceled due to poor reception of the singles in the Brisith press which considered the Kalevala singles as a practical KLF joke only.
The Tragic Tale Of Kristina Bruuk
Perhaps the most mythical of the Kalevala artists was the tragic character of Kristina Bruuk, performed and portrayed by Aija Puurtinen, lead vocalist of the Finnish band Honey B. & T-Bones. Originally brought in as a background singer, the duo liked her performance so much that they decided to let her record a whole song, Candy. After the track received somewhat fame in English underground scenes, Bill and Mark contacted her again to sing a new song, Supermodel, and decided to create the fictious character of Kristina Bruuk, an Estonian artist and ex-model who had moved to Finland to start a promising but critically failed career as a singer songwriter.
A full album, Between Heaven And Helsinki, was recorded in late 1997, and Puurtinen even did a live performance as Kristina Bruuk at the Finnish Institute Of London on Finland’s Independence Day. However, with the Kavelala project coming to a sudden halt all plans for a full release got canned.
According to sleeve notes written by Bill the album got shelved after Kristina Bruuk had fallen out with both the session musicians and record label boss Hannu Puttonen. It’s perhaps only fitting for and adding to the fictional and ill-faited career of Kristina Bruuk that her album, of all things, went unreleased.
The character of Kristina Bruuk allegedly committed suicide on December 31st, 1999. Her story is probably best told in a radio play broadcasted on Resonance FM on 24th March 2017.
Possible Future Releases
While the Bad Wisdom soundtrack remains unreleased to this day, Between Heaven And Helsinki is expected to finally get a physical release in 2021.
Another song by Kristina Bruuk, Pleasant Valley Sunday, was released as a B-side of a split single on Finnish record label Flycatcher in March 2021. Whether this is one of the original tracks or a completely new recording is unknown at this point, though it has been announced as a new single on Bruuk’s Twitter account.
Tracks & Formats
Artist biographies are taken from the original Kalevala press information. All artists and band members listed in the biogs are fictional. It’s worth pointing out that none of these actually link the singles to the Bad Wisdom soundtrack or the book itself.
Dracula’s Daughter: Candy (KALA 001)
|7″ Single / 1997|
Paivi Talvernsaari (guitar/vocals) – video artist
Aija Vanska (bass/vocals) – Helsinki film festival cordinator
Marja Kirjava (organ) – contemporary art gallery curator
Leena Tornkvist (drums) – 70’s funk DJ
Ask them their biggest influence they tell you without hesitation Kristina Bruuk (guest vocal on “Candy”) Andy Warhol and the young british art scene. Before signing with Kalevala the girls have released two english-speaking EP’s on their own label. These recordings were only available in few selective book shops and art galleries in Finland and Scandinavia. To see Dracula’s Daughter playing live is a very rare priviledge and usually only in selective art events and private celebrity parties. The girls are not interested in gigging and touring in particular.Kalevala Press Release
The original title printed on the label, Supermodel, is crossed out and replaced with Candy, the former being an unreleased song by guest vocalist Kristina Bruuk. Both artists were portrayed by Finnish singer and musician Aija Puurtinen.
The Fuckers: Sexy Roy Orbison (KALA 002)
|7″ Single / 1997|
|A||Sexy Roy Orbison|
|B||Sexy Roy Orbison (Version)|
The Fuckers is made of:
Billy Fuck (vocals)
Nasty Fuck (quitar)
J.J. Fuck (bass)
Sick Fuck (drums)
Not like Dracula’s Daughter The Fuckers are gigging all the time (276 shows in Finland and Scandinavia in last 12 months!) The guys like to play at beer festivals (do you have cider festivals in UK?) and have a 100% record of turn up at these shows in particular. Maybe they will become as big as Green Day. What do you think?Kalevala Press Release
Gimpo: Gimpo (KALA 003)
|7″ Single / 1997|
Gimpo is formerly veteran of UK war with Argentine in Falklan Islands and has made film of top UK rave band K Foundation.
We hope to make record deal with Gimpo for moer material but he is tricky guy to get commitment! Lets cross fingers since we think this is very talented guy and maybe huge rave act in Finland and Scandinavia.Kalevala Press Release
The Daytonas – Faster Gimpo Faster Kill! Kill! Kill! (KALA 004)
|7″ Single / 1997|
|A||Faster Gimpo Faster Kill! Kill! Kill!|
|B||Faster Gimpo Faster Kill! Kill! Kill! (Version)|
Hank is father to Aija Vanska from Dracula’s Daughter and was introduces to UK film maker Gimpo at Helsinki film festival in 1996. The single “Faster Gimpo Faster! Kill! Kill! Kill!” is written to honour Gimpo.Kalevala Press Release
The Blizzard King – Break On Through (KALA 005)
|7″ Single / 1997|
|A||Break On Through|
|B1||Strangers In The Night|
|B2||In The Ghetto|
This guy is mysterious. He lives on a small island where he make compositions and mend his fishing nets (oh yeah! He also find time to do his other job of fisherman but Kalevala hope not for to long now!)
This guy is very deep and thinking. He does not making music for money he says “Music is no for buy and sell. Music is for survival”. This huge guy is captivating presence. His voice will haunt you.Kalevala Press Release
Break On Through is a cover version of The Doors’ song; Strangers In The Night is a cover of the same song famously sung by Frank Sinatra; In The Ghetto is a cover of the song written by Mac Davis and performed by Elvis Presley which previously got sampled on The KLF’s Chill Out.
According to the single’s liner notes this is an extract from ‘The American Trilogy’, probably suggesting that another two singles by The Blizzard King exist in Bill & Z’s fictional universe.
Aurora Borealis: Aurora Borealis (KALA 006)
|7″ Single / 1997|
|A||Aurora Borealis (Part 1)|
|B||Aurora Borealis (Part 3)|
It take many months of persuading these hermit people to the recording studio and so we “handle with care” their rare records and do not try to exploit to much the potential.Kalevala Press Release
Various: Huono Viisaus (KALA 007)
|Unreleased Compilation LP / 1997|
|A1||Aurora Borealis: Oscar’s Dream|
|A2||The Blizzard King: In The Ghetto|
|A3||Kristina Bruuk: Supermodel|
|A4||The Fuckers: Teenage Virgin Supermodels Eat Shit|
|A5||The Daytonas: Gimpo M P H|
|A6||Draculas Daugher: Candy|
|A7||The Blizzard King: Strangers In The Night|
|A8||The Blizzard King: Break On Through|
|B1||The Fuckers: Sexy Roy Orbison|
|B3||Molten Rock: Immigrant Song|
|B5||Aurora Borealis: Aurora Borealis|
|B6||Gormenghast: Light House At The Top Of The World|
Huono Viisaus (commonly refered to as the Bad Wisdom soundtrack) was scheduled to follow but got cancelled due to the poor reception of the previous singles by the British music press. The compilation would have included new songs by previous Kalevala artists as well as contributions by two new bands, Molten Rock…
They make their recordings live in their gang club house. “Recording studio is for girls!” say Molten Rock.
They play always so long back anybody remembers the classical Led Zeppelin “Immigrant Song” and youth in Finland believes it Molten Rock who write the song in the original! Ha ha!Kalevala Press Release
… and Gormenghast.
Peter Darklord, a legend in his own life, still lead the band today. Still heavy under the influence of Nietzche (philosopher), Wagner (classical composer) and The Kalevala (Finland’s most national and epic story).
“Gormenghast is no just music, it is philosophy of life” say Peter Darklord.Kalevala Press Release
According to Discogs only six test pressings of this LP are known to exist. A bootleg CDr including all 14 songs was released by Positive Void in 2001. Another earlier bootleg includes the previous singles only and lacks the tracks exclusive to the proper compilation.
Huono Viisaus is (of course) the Finnish translation of Bad Wisdom, while the Gormenghast song’s title Light House At The Topf Of The World is a subtle nod to the book’s subtitle.
Kristina Bruuk: Peter (KALA 008)
|Unreleased 7″ Single / 1997?|
Kristina nearly become famous model but heroin addiction and periods as alcoholic (of which she is OK now to talk) brings years of obscureness with now and again dark and soul-bearing records for various record labels. She is now resident in Helsinki the past twenty years where she build a big cult following with art and student communnity and appear on occasion to give informal concerts withmaybe only one quitarist to accompany.
Guest vocals on “Candy” by Dracula’s Daughter gives Kristina another chance for success. A new LP will be released in December and concerts in UK in negotiation.Kalevala Press Release
Kristina Bruuk: Girl From Nowhere / Between Heaven And Helsinki (KALA 009)
|Unreleased LP / Dec 1997?|
|A3||I Am Glass||3:35|
|A6||I Died On MTV||3:27|
|A7||Muse And Comfort||5:58|
|B1||Do I Collapse||3:29|
|B4||Lost In Soho||3:07|
|B5||Che Guevara’s Eyes||3:16|
|B6||It’s Just A Party||5:10|
The LP got recorded but never made it beyond test pressing state once the Kalevala label project was halted by Bill and Mark. Name and length come from studio DAT tapes, according to which the album should be called Girl From Nowhere, while the official biography mentions the title Between Heaven And Helsinki. It can be assumed that both titles refer to the same album.
The album was scheduled to be re-released on Berlin label Martin Hossbach in 2020. The song It’s Just A Party actually appeared briefly on the label’s Bandcamp page in September but got pulled down again shortly thereafter. Since then it is apparently handled by a publisher from the UK, but no updates have been posted on the matter.
2 thoughts on “The Kalevala Singles”
This might be of interest re: Kristina Bruuk
It certainly is – nice find!