As soon as autumn weather settles in, I find myself tuning my iPod in the car to Värttinä. There's something about their tight (and sometimes dissonant) harmonies and their often-complex rhythms (who else writes songs in 15/8 time?) which calls to me during the cold months. Probably my favorite of their songs at this time of year is "Tuulen Tunto," which is in my favorite meter of all (6/8, which rolls like the perpetual-motion machine of the ocean) and which is melancholy and sweet.
(The lyrics, in Finnish and also translated into English, can be found here at the band's website. "Carry my yearning heart / to the arms of the autumn night...")
I don't listen to Värttinä in summertime. It would feel wrong. Nor do I listen to Finnish accordion-player Maria Kalaniemi during the heat of the year -- though in fall and winter and spring, her collaboration with fiddler Sven Ahlback, Airbow, is in regular rotation in this house. Their "Polska After Johan Erik Taklax" has been known to call snow forth from the clouds, as late in the year as May; it's powerful weather magic.
In the Amidah, the central prayer of every Jewish service, there's a line which praises God Who causes the dew to rise or God Who causes the rain to fall. We alternate; during the summer months we praise God for dew, and during the fall and winter we praise God for rain. (The liturgical tradition is to hold to the seasonal calendar which exists in the land of Israel, of course. Rain may well fall here in the Berkshires in the summertime, but it never does so in Jerusalem.) One doesn't pray for rain during the summer because that prayer would inevitably not be answered. It would be a wasted prayer, like asking God to turn off the earth's gravity.
Listening to Värttinä during the summertime wouldn't be wasted listening, but it would feel strange. But listening to Airbow (the Kalaniemi/Ahlback collaboration) in August might be like praying for rain during the dry season. I wouldn't want the magic to work and bring snow out of season -- but neither would I want the music's magic to fail. Better to save those notes for a season when their ineffable impact wouldn't go amiss. "Let it blow," as Richard Thompson has it; "let the mercury bobble and dive." The cold season is a good time for poetry. Curl up with a mug of tea or a snifter of scotch beside the fire, and let the words come.