Finland had some really good bands that could give quite a few other European bands a serious run for their money. Bands like Tassavallan Presidentti and Kalevalla and artists like Jukka Tolonen were held in high esteem in the progressive rock, blues and jazz/rock worlds. Wigwam, who were formed in 1969, was formed by English ex-pat and vocalist/keyboard player Jim Pembroke. Their style of music encompassed blues, jazz, rock and even a touch of folk, although the featured number was one of their heaviest tracks, with some really good guitar riffing. They toured the UK in an effort to promote the album, but the tour met with a lukewarm response and sales of the album weren't quite as good as they would have hoped. Disillusioned, they returned to Finland and finally disbanded in 1978, having released about eleven albums. They reformed in the early nineties and released a very good album called " Light Ages ".
  
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Biography by Chris Nickson
Wigwam have the rare distinction of being the only '70s band from Finland to have made any impact outside the country, as well as being an incubator for the country's top prog musicians — the only catch was that the anticipated massive breakthrough never happened. The group came together in the late '60s, when drummer Ronnie Österberg, expat English singer/keyboard player Jim Pembroke, guitarist Nikke Nikamo, and bassist Mats Hulden, all of whom had been in Blues Section, decided to form a new band. They drafted in keyboardist Jukka Gustavson, and Wigwam was born. Their first album, 1969's Hard'n'Horny, had Gustavson's work on one side, Pembroke's on the other. For their second album, Tombstone Valentine, both Hulden and Nikamo had vanished, having experienced disputes with the producer, American scenester Kim Fowley. But the record did see the debut of virtuoso bass player Pekka Pohjola. While well received, it still didn't sell many copies, which was also true of their next disc, Fairyport. Following that, both Pembroke and Pohjola made solo albums, leaving Gustavson to put together the next band effort, the dark and prog-ish Being, which won Album of the Year in Finland. But even awards couldn't keep Pohjola and Gustavson in the band, although before they left, they took part in the shows that made up 1975's Live Music From the Twilight Zone, a concert mix of solo material and covers of the Beatles and the Band. Following that, the band split briefly. The reformation brought plenty of new personnel and Pemboke as the central figure, Wigwam went on to enjoy their most successful period, releasing Nuclear Nightclub, which was licensed for international distribution by Virgin, who brought the band to England to tour — at which point they also recorded their next disc, Lucky Golden Stripes and Starpose. Wigwam seemed on the verge of real success, but couldn't quite cross over, and when the follow-up, tentatively titled Daemon Duncetan's Request, was turned down by Virgin, the bottom seemed to fall out. The record was revamped and released in Finland in 1977 as Dark Album. But by the time it hit the shelves, Wigwam had played an unofficial farewell show and split for the second time. Pembroke moved to Kansas, and continued to record solo albums, and in 1993 the band regrouped to record Light Ages. Occasional shows have been played since, but while best-of and rarities CDs have been released, the group definitely isn't officially together. 

 

Pekka Pohjola
Jim Pembroke
Mans Groundstroem
Jukka Gustavson
Hessu Hietanen
Mats Hulden
Paavo Maijanen
Nikke Nikamo
Ronnie Osterberg
Pekka Rechardt

Hatfield and the North
Gryphon
Spock's Beard
Gentle Giant
Grobschnitt
Babe Ruth
Curved Air
Renaissance
Camel
Pavlov's Dog
Happy the Man

If you have any contribution to make to this band or something to add, email me - Japie Marais.

 

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Wigwam - 1969 - Hard N' Horny - 3.5/5

Wigwam - 1970 - Tombstone Valentine - 3.5/5

Wigwam - 1971 - Fairyport - 4/5

Wigwam - 1974 - Being - 4.5/5

Wigwam - 1975 - Live Music from the Twilight Zone - 3.5/5

Wigwam - 1975 - Nuclear Nightclub - 3/5

Wigwam - 1976 - Lucky Golden Stripes and Starpose - 3.5/5

Wigwam - 1977 - Dark Album - 3.5/5

Wigwam - 1993 - Light Ages - 3/5

Wigwam - 2001 - Wigwam Plays Wigwam Live - 3.5/5

Wigwam - 2002 - Titan's Wheel - 2.5/5

Wigwam - 2005 - Some Several Moons - 3.5/5

Rating

 

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