Wigwam was one of the most influential Finnish rock bands in the 1970s. It was formed in the late 60s and was initially made up of lead singer/songwriter Jukka Gustavson (also of Saturnus fame), keyboardist/saxophonist Jukka Tolonen, bassist/vocalist-songwriter Pekka Pohjola, drummer Ronnie Osterberg and guitarist Jim Pembroke.
Before forming, the members of Wigwam had been making music together since the early 60s, going by a variety of monikers such as Omega Super 5, Rickshaw and finally, in 1971, Wigwam. Each musician contributed to the bandâ€™s unique sound, which incorporated elements of psychedelia, rock, jazz and folk music.
Their debut single â€œLupus In Fabulaâ€ became an underground hit and Wigwam were soon gaining recognition for their inventive and often experimental approach to music-making. In 1972, the group released â€œTombstone Valentineâ€, their first full-length album. They successfully completed two further studio albums and two live albums by the end of the 70s.
In the case of Wigwam, the sum of the parts was certainly greater than the whole: tracts from the bandâ€™s repertoire had a shimmering sense of ingenuity that both impressed critics and gained new fans. Revolutionary and daring songs such as â€œSki-Jumping And lashingâ€ saw the band truly stretch musical boundaries.
One of the bandâ€™s seminal moments was the 1975 outside recording â€œFairyportâ€, at the Hippodrome Stadium in London. Produced by legendary producer Tony Visconti, the popular concert album found the group at their #music peak.# Pieces such as the skilful frenetic parade â€œAt The Rack And Pinâ€ and the blend of wild honking jazz/funk of â€œVice Rag AndBoneâ€ probably remain Wigwamâ€™s best and most beloved tracks.
With its unique fusion of musical genres, the band soon became a true staple of the 70s Finish rock scene. In 1977 they were signed to CBS Records, which marked the end of a harder rock sound of their days as an independent band. It was also the beginning of a period with increasingly pop driven sound that took them touring the US and Canada.
Unfortunately, the major label did not accept their 1976 album, Dwarf Planet, leading the band to disband after their 1979 album. Although members went separate ways soon thereafter, the influence of Wigwam would live on in many forms. They remain one of the key prog-rock bands of the 70s and a true cult classic among music fans the world-over.