From YLE uutiset:
Värttinä's Tolkien Musical Previews in Toronto
The "Lord of the Rings" stage show, with music co-written by the Finnish band Värttinä, has its first preview performance in Toronto on Saturday. The preview coincides with the release of the nine-member group's tenth studio album.
The multimillion-dollar production, based on J.R.R. Tolkien's novels, includes music by Värttinä and Indian Bollywood composer A.R. Rahman. The dialogue and songs are in English and Elvish, a language Tolkien invented, partly based on his study of Finnish.
The initial preview was delayed by two days for last-minute tweaking. The show runs more than three hours and has a cast of 55.
The official world premiere is slated for March 23 in Toronto. It is expected to open in London's West End a year from now and possibly on Broadway in 2008.
From Karelian Folk to World Music
Värttinä began 23 years ago in North Karelia as a large folk-based youth ensemble. Since then the group has had many personnel changes, with Mari Kaasinen the only remaining original vocalist. Along the way the group has updated its sound and incorporated influences from other cultures so that it is now usually referred to a "world music" group.
Värttinä's new disc, Miero (Outcast), was released at the end of January on Peter Gabriel's Real World Records, distributed by multinational giant EMI. Miero entered the Finnish sales chart at Number 5 this week.
Also in late January, Värttinä was one of the Finnish acts performing at the Midem music conference opening in Cannes, France.
On April 11 in Helsinki, the group starts a tour that will take it to five European countries.
Unfortunately, they won't be coming to central North Carolina - I really enjoyed their concert last year!