Long before such eclectic artists like Boiled in Lead and Reptile Palace Orchestra tantalized discerning listeners with their unique brand of rock-driven ethno-fusion, and even before Brave Combo was recognized as leading purveyors of offbeat world music, there existed a little known band from Finland. Piirpauke was formed in the early seventies and continues to this day. They specialize in combining folk melodies from throughout Europe and the Mid East with Latin rhythms, a rock beat and a free-jazz mindset. The jazz element does dominate some of the earlier recordings as leader Sakari Kukko hails from a jazz background, however, as this band progressed so did their musical influences and performance style. If that’s problematic for you but this description intrigues you, try their mid eighties period as a starting point. Albums like THE WILD EAST and particularly ALGAZARA are loaded with diverse sounds like the Romanian “Turceasca,” the beautiful Finnish traditional piece “Kantele” and their rendition of Wolfgang Mozart’s “Rondo a la Turca.” Indeed, Piirpauke creates compelling music for discriminating tastes.