In Celebration of the Human Voice - The Essential Musical Instrument
The Finnish word Rajaton translates as "boundless" - a word that so accurately describes the way this six-voice a cappella ensemble approaches music. Regularly performing over 100 concerts and workshops each year, Rajaton exposes audiences to the kind of diversity of repertoire, singing style, and stage presentation that has made them a phenomenon on the world stage.
Performing at concert halls, churches, jazz and choral festivals, this distinct group of musicians approaches all styles of music with the same level of commitment and integrity, making it difficult to imagine an audience that Rajaton could not inspire, or a type of music Rajaton could not make its own.
In their native Finland, Rajaton is a bona fide pop phenomenon, successfully bridging the gap that often exists between classical and mainstream convention. The group has released 11 different albums. In 2003, Rajaton rose to n:o 2 on the charts with their album Joulu ("Christmas") which has to date sold double platinum in Finland. Building on the momentum of this mainstream success, in 2006, the group recorded Rajaton sings ABBA with Lahti Symphony Orchestra, an album which topped the charts in Finland and sold platinum in a month.
Deeply connected to their Finnish heritage, the group returned to their choral and cultural roots with their album Maa in 2007. Like most of their repertoire, this album featured original music written by members of the group. Immediately following its release, the album garnered awards for Top World/Folk Album as well as Top World/Folk Song of the year by the Contemporary A Cappella Society of America (CASA), securing Rajaton's place among the world's leading a cappella ensembles.
In 2010 Rajaton celebrates 13 years of music-making with one double platinum, three platinum and eight gold records in Finland to their credit. Their latest album, Tarinoita, is yet another significant milestone in Rajaton's story, as it is their first fully self-produced album, released in October, 2010, by their own label Boundless Records.
Ever seeking new artistic challenges, the group has grown immeasurably through collaborations with other a cappella artists, including The King's Singers and The Real Group, as well as productions with film directors and choreographers. But it is perhaps their deep passion for choral art, their generosity of spirit and their sheer enjoyment of singing that has won the hearts and acclaim of audiences and critics everywhere. Their energy - infectious; their ability to entertain and inspire - Rajaton!
The voice is boundless.
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Review: In our imaginary top drawer of a cappella ensembles who have shown us, again and again, sheer vocal talent, whimsical cutting edge arrangements, effortless harmonies, sublime leads and exquisitely crafted recordings, we search around, past several well-played Real Group CDs, to happily find a handful of albums by Finnish mixed-voice sextet Rajaton. One of the first ones to blow us away, despite its dearth of English lyrics, was "Joulu," the group's hugely successful Christmas album. Well, it's been a long wait, but we hold in our hot little mittens "Jouluyo," Rajaton's second holiday CD, with seven new and seven familiar Christmas songs, in both Finnish and English! Our favorites are of course the English selections, a joyous, surprising "Hark the herald angels sing," a moving, bluenote "The little drummer boy," and Soila Sariola's arrangements of Stephen Hatfield's haunting, magical "Lullay" and Howard Blake's "Walking on Air." But don't miss the songs with Finnish titles like Kurt Noack's "Tonttuparaati," Jussi Chydenius and Einari Vuorela's soaring "Kuu Hohtaa," Leri Leskinen and Timo Liiskinen's "Taivaanvalkea" and many others. "Oi jouluyo" gives Finnish lyrics to the classic "O Holy Night" and "Tuo armon valkokyyhky" is Michael Praetorius' "Lo, How a Rose e'er Blooming." "Tonttuparaati" is an amazing Finnish medley of several Christmas tunes, we picked out "Wooden Soldiers on Parade" and others whose titles escape us for the moment. We'll just say that "Jouluyo" is a magical collection that delights on so many levels-don't miss this one! Generous full-color liner notes have all lyrics and info.
Songlist: Tonttuparaati, Kuninkaat kulkevat, katsokaa!, The little drummer boy, Me kaymme joulun viettohon, Kirje Joulupukille, Lullay, Kuu hohtaa, Taivaanvalkea, Walking in the air, Oi jouluyo, Tuo armon valkokyyhky, Hiljainen jouluyo
Tuuti, tuuti poiuttani
Review: With 10 wonderful albums and a live DVD among our personal Vocal Jazz favorites available on Singers.com, we are always thrilled to see and hear a new Rajaton release! This Finnish three man/three women a cappella sextet has a clean, perfect sound that brings to mind groups like Sweeps winners Idea of North, Sing-Off Champs Nota, Sweden's The Real Group, Rockapella and M-Pact. There ar 12 songs here, 6 in Finnish ("Onni," "Vainamoisen Veneretki," "Satakieli Monrepoossa," "Tuuti, Tuuti Poiuttani," the surreal soundscape "Surma," the poignant "Kaivo" and the gentle folk tune "Laulua Lopettaessa." Although we don't speak Finnish, we particularly enjoy these cuts, all the more lovely and powerful because they are in the singers' native tongue. Other favorites are "The Lament (of My Heart)," "Aurora," "Uphill," "I Need You to Turn To" and "Glass House." Rajaton paints with delicate sound, perfectly in tune and harmony, and each album is a surprising, stunning masterpiece. Treat yourself to "Terinoita" by Rajaton, one of our all-time favorites, and clearly one of the best a cappella ensembles in the world!
Songlist: Onni, The Lament (of my heart), Aurora, Uphill, Vainamoisen veneretki, Satakieli Monrepoossa, I Need You to Turn To, Glass House, Tuuti, tuuti poiuttani, Surma, Kaivo, Laulua lopettaessa
Review: Rajaton (which actually means "Boundless" in Finnish) is a world-class Finnish vocal jazz septet, and this is their second CD (their first, "Nova," is also excellent). They sing jazz renditions of their own and others' original compositions, Finnish folk songs and poetry put to music. The two Finnish folk songs, "Armahan kulku" and "Kaipaava" are sung in Finnish, the rest are in flawless English. Following the tradition of brilliant Scandinavian vocal jazz groups, Rajaton's sound is bright and clean, harmonically complex, spirited and perfect. The colorful liner notes contain all the words, and lovely photos of the group. Eleven songs: "Butterfly," "Un-Wishing Well," "The Lark In the Clear Air," "We Walk In a Fog," Lennon/McCartney's "Lady Madonna," "Dobbin's Flowery Vale," "Summer Song," "Poison Tree," "You Can't Stop Me," and the two folk songs. A breath of fresh, jazzy air from Finland!
Songlist: Butterfly, Un-Wishing Well, The Lark In The Clear Air, We Walk In A Fog, Lady Madonna, Dobbin's Flowery Vale, Summer Song, Poison Tree, You Can't Stop Me, Armahan Kulku, Kaipaava
Review: "Joulu" contains new and old Finnish Christmas music in Finnish only. All the liner notes and song titles are in Finnish, but the music speaks for itself quite eloquently. On this double album the first disc is a studio album with six new songs and five new arrangements of well known Christmas carols. Three of them are known globally: Jingle Bells, Christmas Song (by Mel Torme) and Silent Night. The second album was recorded in a church and contains both classical Finnish Christmas choral pieces by Sibelius, Madetoja, Palmgren and others and contemporary music as well as new arrangements of two traditionals. The three men and three women of Rajaton have a bright, smooth, confident, infectious sound that leaves us wanting to hear more. From the vocal trumpets on the opening cut "Joululaulu" and marvelous vocal percussion on "Pukki tietaa," to the sweet, soaring "En etsi valtaa, loistoa" and "Jouluhymni," each song is a perfect, harmonic jewel. We have been very impressed with previous Rajaton CDs, and "Joulu" is another recommended winner! Nice full-color individual photos of the group in the liner notes.
Songlist: Jouulaulu, Tonttu, Tahtilaulu, Ketun joululaulu, Pukki tietta, Kulkuset, Varpunen jouluaamuna, Talvi-iltana, Joulun neiet, Jouluyo, juhlayo, Joululaulu, Seimeen syntynyt, Jeesuslapsen joululahjat, Jeesuksen seimella, Ja neitsyt pikku poijuttansa, Joululaulu, Toivioretkella, En etsi valtaa, loistoa, Hiljene, maa, Vuotaa armo, taivaan ilo, Jouluhymni, Heinilla jarkien kaukalon
Review: Rajaton (boundless) is an a cappella mixed sextet (3 women, 3 men) based in Helsinki, Finland, founded in 1997, that primarily performs music written especially for the group. Their CDs are elegant, intelligent, poised and confident masterpieces that recall the breezy perfection and song selection of The Real Group. As with early RG CDs were all or mostly sung in Swedish, and it didn't bother us a bit, "Kevat" is all in Finnish and again we hardly notice-focusing instead on the innovative vocal percussion and background vocals. 11 finely-crafted tunes, some favorites: the bluesy, rhythmic "Lunta," the salsa-flavored "Kertosakeen nainen," the dramatic, stunning "Sydan ei vastaa," the precisely-arranged harmonic gem "Jos sanot," the delicate "Kauniimpaa" and the moody "Hopeaa hiuksillaan." But "Kevat" is to be listened to first for enjoyment, and subsequent times to appreciate how such a full, rich, expressive sound is created by these 6 human voices. Being amazed is also acceptable!
Songlist: Kivinen tie, Lunta, Ala mene pois, Kertosakeen nainen, Venelaulu, Sydan ei vastaa, Jos sanot, Nalkaiset linnut, Kauniimpaa, Katosimme kauneuteen, Hopeaa hiuksillaan
Review: Finnish a cappella ensemble Rajaton, returns to their Finnish folk roots, releasing their 8th CD on the occasion of their 10th anniversary. The Finnish word "Maa," which can be translated as earth, country, dirt, land-complements the return to their roots theme. Here are 12 lovely songs, all in Finnish and all composed and arranged by group members. "Nouse lauluni," which translates "Rise up, my song" (the beautiful full-color liner notes thankfully contain English translations of all the lyrics), "Oin ja paivin," (By night and by day), "Tasangot," (The plains) and "Villihanhen laulu," (Song of the wild goose) are immediate favorites; subtle and mysterious, soft at first and building to crescendos, sweet and heartbreaking. Knowing the translated lyrics is interesting but not really necessary-the feeling of these tunes, the melancholy, longing and depth of these poems touches and moves us. The music for the final track, "Valse triste" was written by the great Finnish composer Jean Sibelius who died 50 years ago, the recording also honors Finland's 90 years as an independent nation. Sibelius' piece is performed wonderfully, in fact we felt the need to listen to each of these 12 vocal gems again to fully appreciate "Maa."
Songlist: Nouse lauluni, Oin ja paivin, Tasangot, Villihanhen laulu, Tuuti lasta, Talvilaulu, Hiljaisuus, Ikovoi, ihminen, Hiljaa, Pakkanen, Kevat saapui, Valse Triste
Review: We don't quite know why, perhaps it's the good beer, but those Scandinavian countries sure know how to produce wonderful a cappella vocal jazz groups. Rajaton (Finnish for boundless) are a highly talented septet whose members are experienced choral singers with diverse musical backgrounds, most of whom studied singing either at the Sibelius-Academy or at the Pop/Jazz Conservatory in Helsinki. 1999 winners of the Grand Prix at the Tampere Choir Festival they sing jazz versions of Finnish folk songs, poetry and original compositions and are of a world class caliber. We like this recording very much and the arrangements and quality of singing are exceptional. English lyrics included in the liner notes.
Songlist: Laksin Mina Kesayona Kaymaan, Mita Kaikatat, Kivonen?, Purrelle Tuulta, Kutsu, Yolla Euroopasa, Me Kuljemme Kaikki Kuin Sumussa, Haahymni, Tahtitarha, Oi Aika Ihanin, Kulkue, Piene Tarina, Pyhat On Pihlajat Pihalla, Armmottoman Osa, Lintu Lauleli Lehossa, Nova
Review: We have heard (and appreciated) many of the songs on "Out of Bounds" by Finnish mixed sextet Rajaton on previous releases. For example, the haunting Irish folk tune "Dobbin's Flowery Vale," the sassy, funny, latin-beat "Un-Wishing Well," "We Walk In A Fog" with its flawless faux horns, a manic cover of Lennon/McCartney's "Lady Madonna" and a gorgeous, floating "Butterfly" are all from the group's 2nd CD "Boundless," but these are not merely reissues. "Dobbin's," the wordless opening cut, has been re-arranged to touch us on an even deeper level, and Swedish Jazz legends The Real Group guest star on "We Walk In A Fog,"-and it's as good as you can imagine. "Vanishing Act" was recorded in Finnish as "Kivinen tie," "Salty Water" as "Venelaulu" and "Snow" as "Lunta" on "Kevat;" all feature spanking new English lyrics. Even the harmonic gem "Mita kaikatat, kivonen?" from "Nova" gets a fresh treatment. New songs include Anuna's Michael McGlynn's "The Wild Song" (originally written for Rajaton, but recorded first by Anuna), Mia Makaroff's jazzy pop "How Little" and a marvelous Sting cover, "I Was Brought to My Senses." If you were possibly kept from falling in love with Rajaton because they weren't "accessible" (you didn't understand Finnish), you are now free to hold in your hand a collection of this amazing group's finest works in perfect English, complete with the harmonies and arrangements that have been blowing us away for five previous CDs (and one hot DVD) now. Enough said!
Songlist: Dobbin's Flowery Vale, Un-Wishing Well, Butterfly, We Walk In A Fog, Vanishing Act, The Wild Song, I Was Brought To My Senses, Lady Madonna, Salty Water, Snow, How Little, Mita Kaikatat, Kivonen?
Review: 'Rajaton' in Finnish means 'boundless,' a good description of the talent of this vocal jazz septet! 'Sanat' is the third excellent CD to reach us, and most of the songs are again in Finnish, with four in perfect English, 'Were You There,' 'Nearer My God To Thee,' 'Didn't My Lord Deliver Daniel' and 'Weary In Well-Doing.' The group got together as music students at the renowned Sibelius Academy or at Helsinki's Pop/Jazz Conservatory, and almost immediately began performing live and winning major awards. Their repertoire on previous CDs consisted of their own and others' original compositions, jazz versions of Finnish folk tunes, and poetry put to music. 'Sanat' focuses on another dimension of the group, their deep Christian spirituality. Their sound remains fresh and spirited, harmonically complex; with incredibly perfect bell-like tones. The extensive liner notes present the words in Swedish and English. 'Sanat' is a beautiful CD, the best yet from yet another amazing Scandinavian vocal group!
Songlist: Aurikolaulu, Were You There?, Benedic Anima Mea Dominoi, Stabat Mater, Vain Taivasta Kukkaset Katsovat, Kaikki Maat, Te Riemuitkaate, Iltavirsi, Torramat Do Noebaengil, Nearer, My God, to Thee, Didn't My Lord Deliver Daniel?, Weary in Well-Doing, Pia Desideria
Head Over Heels
Review: What a great idea! Rajaton is one of Finland's most highly regarded vocal ensembles and it's only natural that they should want to sing the repertoire of the biggest musical group to ever come out of the region. ABBA songs are well suited for interpretations by vocal groups and the collaboration with the world-class Lahti Symphony Orchestra really pays dividends. Perennial favorites such as "Dancing Queen", "Waterloo" and "Mama Mia" are given a fresh treatment and these and other ABBA songs are already showing their timelessness and enduring charm. A Scandinavian treat!
Songlist: Dancing Queen, Chiquitita, Money, Money, Money, One Of Us, Voulez - Vous, Does Your Mother Know, Head Over Heels, Mamma Mia, Gimme Gimme Gimme, The Winner Takes It All, Thank You For The Music, Fernando, Waterloo
Don't Stop Me Now
Review: Rajaton, our favorite Finnish mixed-voice sextet, has been blowing us away for 9 recordings now, proving with each release exactly how amazing they have become as vocalists. "Rajaton Sings Queen" follows their critically acclaimed "Rajaton Sings Abba," also with the Lahti Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Jaakko Kuusisto. There are just a couple of a cappella tunes here, "Under Pressure," composed by Queen and David Bowie, and "Don't Stop Me Now." We of course prefer Rajaton's a cappella recordings, but let's make ourselves clear-we have been lovers of Queen since they first began performing in London in the early 1970s. The vocal brilliance of lead singer Freddie Mercury and guitarist Brian May, and their ability to pen deathless anthems like "We Are The Champions" and "Bohemian Rhapsody" have lifted them into the rarefied atmosphere of Rock superstars. And we have heard countless tribute albums and dozens of cover versions of Queen hits. All of them lacked the same thing that Queen has lacked since the untimely passing of Freddie Mercury, that is, Freddie himself, a performer who could fill stadiums. So now, finally, we hear a tribute album by Rajaton, whose vocal talents are right up there with Mercury's, and we have something! Just listen to the magnificent "I Want It All," "Killer Queen," "A Kind of Magic," "You Take My Breath Away," "Who Wants To Live Forever," the thrilling "Bicycle Race" and "The Show Must Go On." Rajaton's compatibility with the wonderful Lahti Symphony Orchestra was forged with the 2006 Abba album, and here both groups are hitting on all cylinders. Hearing "Bohemian Rhapsody" gave us a tingle up the back of our necks very similar to the one we first got listening to Queen's 1975 magnum opus "A Night At The Opera" through a friend's pricey stereo headphones. Rajaton's excellent English, which allows us to understand all the lyrics perfectly, is an unexpected treat. "Rajaton Sings Queen" is a powerful, magical recording by one of our top contenders for best a cappella group of all time!
Songlist: Bohemian Rhapsody, I Want It All, Killer Queen, A Kind Of Magic, Somebody To Love, You Take My Breath Away, Under Pressure, Innuendo, We Are The Champions, Who Wants To Live Forever, Don't Stop Me Now, Bicycle Race, Love Of My Life, The Show Must Go On
Review: We've been raving about Finnish mixed sextet Rajaton for their first 5 CDs now, their bright, smooth, poised sound only leaves us wanting to hear more! "Joulu" is a live concert, recorded in Helsinki in 2003, 17 tunes from their Christmas CD "Joulu," which features new songs and new arrangements of traditional Finnish Christmas songs. Watching the six on stage, first dressed all in white and later in the show in matching black and silver outfits, we have to say that their show is as elegant and impressive as any a cappella show we've seen. Some favorites are "Joulu" are the wonderful vocal trumpets on the opening cut "Joululaulu," the exquisite, high-flying "En etsi valtaa, loistoa," "Kulkuset," "Lumisade," the vocal percussion gem "Pukki tietaa, and the only song in English, Lennon/McCartney's "Lady Madonna," (great solos and some mean air-guitar) one of 5 bonus tracks. The solo talents of each of the six are seamlessly presented, for instance with the group walking in a circle and the next in line stepping into a breathtaking solo as another finishes. We of course don't understand Finnish, but we understand poise, and harmony, and blend, and the magic that a talented ensemble at the height of their creative powers can create. And with this DVD we are blessed to be able to watch them do it instead of merely listening!
Songlist: Jouluaulu, Tonttu, Lumisade, Talvi-iltana, Joulun Neiet, Jouluyo Joulayo, Heinilla Harkien Kaukalon, Ja Neitsyt Pikku Poijuttansa, En Etsi Valtaa, Loistoa, Arkihuolesi Kaikki Heita, Pukki Tietaa, Kulkuset, Varpunen Jouluaamuna, Ketun Jouluaulu, Joululaulu, Tiernapojat, Tahtilaulu