numerous recordings of music from Finland that date back to the
very dawn of the 20th century in fact, the very first Finnish
records were manufactured by the British company Gramophone in
1901. Among the most noteworthy early discs are works by renowned
songbird Aino Ackté. Her first recordings date back to
1902 and 1903, which Gramophone released after purchasing the
masters from French label Zonophone in 1903.
However, us Finns had been independent for a good two decades
before we got our first completely Finnish record label. Founded
in 1938 by the Turku-based Saaristokauppa Oy, the Sointu label
concentrated on producing radio-friendly schlager music. In the
beginning, Sointu made its recordings in the Swedish capital of
Stockholm, but shortly the company moved all of its operations
to the homeland.
Sointu remained the only local label for just two years: In 1940,
during the truce with the Soviet Union soon after the Winter War,
Oy Rytmi Ab was founded in Helsinki partly in cahoots with the
Finnish Broadcasting Corporation YLE. As in Sointu's case, the
main area with Rytmi was schlagers. The shining star of the label
was singer/actor Olavi Virta, Finland's undisputed "tango
king" and our equivalent to the likes of Carlos Gardel and
Frank Sinatra. During his career, "Ola" recorded close
to 600 tunes.
Finnish Accordion Institute,