In the Spotlight

  • 14.3.2017

    Finland’s biggest indie band is ready for the limelight

    Over the last decade or so, indie pop has been pronounced dead more times than one cares to count. But don't tell that to Satellite Stories, who are about to hit it big with their major label debut.

  • 3.1.2017

    Sebastian Hilli and Sauli Zinovjev: emotions in two different aesthetics

    Award-winning young composers Sebastian Hilli and Sauli Zinovjev unveil new works at the opening of Helsinki’s Musica nova Helsinki festival in February. While their musical styles are starkly different, the two are close friends who share a similar creative vision.

  • 9.12.2016

    Saara Aalto – from talent shows to the major league?

    A photo of Saara Aalto is what you should find in a dictionary if you look up for “sisu” – the word meaning Finnish guts and persistence. After attending several talent shows in Finland Saara Aalto chose to go after a bigger fish. She auditioned for The X Factor UK and went from being the underdog to charming everyone. She’s now one of the three finalists and on Sunday we’ll know if she wins the whole competition.

  • 28.9.2016

    Okra Playground gets the folk party started

    Okra Playground bring their tantalising electronic update of Finnish folk to the WOMEX 16 World Music Expo in Spain this autumn.

  • 5.9.2016

    I will float until I learn how to swim – Alma’s crazy summer

    There are things that no one can expect or predict. Not even the people, who are related to these things. Not even 20-year-old Finnish singer Alma Miettinen.

  • 12.5.2016

    Elifantree brings EWI and acid-singing to the public

    The highly personal and pop-savvy sound of Elifantree has charmed listeners in Finland and beyond ever since their debut album was released in 2010. Now the trio gets ready to present their new music fresh after introducing a new member behind the drum kit.

  • 2.5.2016

    Festivals facing the future

    Music audiences’ age structure and consumer patterns are changing, offerings are growing and becoming more varied, but for now, one thing remains unchanged: there are enough visitors in Finland for hundreds of festivals.

  • 11.4.2016

    Straight outta DIY handbook – 20 years of Fonal Records

    20 years after their first cassette release, Fonal has become one of Finland’s household indie labels. Today Fonal is much more than just a logo on the CD cover.

  • 29.3.2016

    Oddarrang and Mopo all set for their next step

    Mopo and Oddarrang are part of the showcase program at Jazzahead! festival, where they will show just why they rank among the most interesting up-and-comers in the Finnish scene.

  • 11.3.2016

    defunensemble: Uneasy listening

    defunensemble was founded in 2009, with a name plucked from the history of electronic music. Defun (or define function) a macro in LISP, one of the first computer languages, used in music since the late ‘50s. Define function is also the name of the group’s debut CD, released in autumn 2015.

  • 3.3.2016

    Finding the right voice in white noise

    Noah Kin is a 22-year-old Oslo-born Finnish-Nigerian who’s at the moment living homeless in Helsinki. His music is bass-driven and dark, his lyrics about his attention deficit disorder and the hyperactivity of his generation. He’s about to release an EP, The Void, and calls himself as the void of his own life.

  • 19.11.2015

    Low frequencies from a crowded basement

    Finland is known for its unique talents in underground metal among the dedicated circles. While pioneering and leading these subgenres the bands manage to keep out of the brightest spotlights. Once in a while talent condenses enough to flash on the radar even in the mainstream. This time it’s a band collective called Wastement.

  • 10.11.2015

    Balancing tradition and cutting-edge

    Susanna Mälkki strides onto the Helsinki Music Centre stage in a slim-cut black suit. She’s a petite figure, earrings sparkling, blonde ponytail swaying – but immediately, decisively takes command of the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra’s 100-plus musicians. With energetic, fluid motions, she leads her force through a shattering Russian programme of Liadov, Shostakovich and Tchaikovsky.

  • 29.10.2015

    Mika Rättö and the Pori state of mind

    Since the early noughties, Pori has been one of the thriving centres in Finnish music underground. Oskari Onninen interviewed Mika Rättö, one of the central figures of the local scene. 

  • 22.9.2015

    When Lapland met Balkan

    Creators of their own self-defined musical genre, “Lapland-Balkan”, Jaakko Laitinen & Väärä Raha have played a merciless amount of gigs during their six years of existence, released three critically acclaimed albums and gathered a fiercely loyal cult following in Finland.

  • 21.5.2015

    Natural choices

    Trumpet player Verneri Pohjola swapped record labels to release Bullhorn, his boldest and most accomplished artistic statement to date.

  • 13.5.2015

    It’s only punk rock, but the world needs to hear it

    Pertti Kurikan Nimipäivät (‘The Namedays of Pertti Kurikka’) is a punk rock band established in 2009, consisting of four members with learning disabilities. The band was devised as a result of an art workshop, and linked also to a fiction movie project centering on the rights and possibilities of a disabled person for independence and love (Vähän kunnoitusta aka Gimme Some Respect, 2010).

  • 8.5.2015

    Helsinki-Cotonou Ensemble on the trail of voodoo rhythms

    Villa Karo, the Finnish-African culture centre in Benin, is a gateway and a nexus for many kinds of arts collaborations. One of the advanced music projects it has fostered is Helsinki-Cotonou Ensemble, whose original blend of African and Finnish rhythm music has been extremely well received. The eight-member group released its second album Fire, Sweat & Pastis in autumn 2014. It entered the World Music Chart and was named Folk Music Album of the Year in Finland.

  • 17.2.2015

    Cultural archetypes 101

    The Scenes is a band comprised of young men and as such they have opinions. Read Arttu Tolonen's interview with the band.

  • 21.10.2014

    Archaic goes urban

    “What a weird instrument!” was Ilkka Heinonen’s reaction when he first encountered the jouhikko in the early 2000s. Having played all kinds of music from folk to rock, he had decided to focus on classical double bass and to qualify as an orchestral musician. But that is not what happened.

  • 30.9.2014

    Samuli Kosminen: Flying to the US via Reykjavik

    Samuli Kosminen is one of Finland’s most internationally successful percussion players. He started out as a drummer, but has created his own rhythmic cosmos of toys, percussion, junk, samples and processor power.

  • 17.9.2014

    Refreshingly hard and gruff

    To begin with, it would be quite straightforward to just trace the roots of Black Motor to the band’s home town of Tampere, make a quick note of the time at hand (January 2005) and move on. But to really predict the future and understand the motives of this raunchy free jazz trio, one is obliged to delve deeper. Where does the idea come from? How is the commitment so strong?

  • 26.5.2014

    Art music and digital media: a love-hate relationship

    Art music has significantly influenced the formats in which music is recorded. The LP record, for example, was developed in the 1940s largely to accommodate classical works more than a few minutes long. And one version of the story says that the maximum length of a CD, 74 minutes, was fixed according to the performance of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony conducted by Furtwängler in 1951.

  • 15.5.2014

    Death Hawks Over Europe!

    On first glance, you’d be forgiven for thinking Death Hawks is a bit retro, but don’t be fooled. The band reaches so deep into its temporally very broad set of influences ranging revolving around all things cosmic blues, boogie jazz, krautrock and mustaches, they become timeless and wholly subsumed into the fabric of the band.

  • 21.3.2014

    WoW – what a sound!

    The groundbreaking folk wind ensemble Wind on Wind will surprise even wind music sceptics with their versatile music.

  • 24.2.2014

    Mirel Wagner’s vision for the world

    When Friendly Fire Recordings released Mirel Wagner’s debut album in North America, Frank Nieto, who later got a job as publicist at Sub Pop, handled some of its promotion. So, when Sub Pop contacted Aki Roukala, Mirel’s manager and owner of her Finnish label Kioski, he assumed Frank had turned Sub Pop’s A&R on to Mirel Wagner’s spare and foreboding music.

  • 18.2.2014

    Joonas Angeria is headed for Billboard

    Back in December we talked to Isac Elliot, the teenage popstar trying to conquer the world, and now it’s time to say hello to the person who made his debut album happen. Within a year Joonas Angeria has become one of the most promising producers out there. And he might just be the one to bring Finnish pop to international listeners on a large scale.

  • 7.2.2014

    Cutting it Lower East Side

    Andrew Cyrille & Mikko Innanen, Black Motor and Rakka showcased three takes on the current sound of Finnish jazz in New York.

  • 11.12.2013

    100 years of tango in Finland!

    2013 has seen centenary celebrations of tango in Finland all over the country, including at the traditional Tangomarkkinat festival in Seinäjoki and the World of Tango festival in Tampere. And in September in Hamburg-Altona was organized the FINtango Festival, the first-ever Finnish tango festival outside Finland.

  • 11.12.2013

    From symbiosis to encounter

    Dancing and music used to be joined at the hip. In folk music, this symbiotic relationship was preserved for a long time due to the fact that the bulk of traditional music is actually dance music. Today the connections between these two art forms are being examined at the Sibelius Academy Folk Music Department and through the many and varied projects of the Tsuumi Dance Theatre.

  • 9.12.2013

    Avanti! at 30 – still forging ahead

    Avanti! was formed – with an exclamation mark – in April 1983. At that time, Finland was ruled by Urho Kekkonen and Finnish music by Joonas Kokkonen. Consensus was the name of the game, and any deviation was regarded as childish provocation.

  • 5.12.2013

    Finding a unique voice through tradition

    Violinist Pekka Kuusisto has received two awards this fall. In both cases the reasons included a nod to Kuusisto’s versatility and the ability to work in different contexts to produce surprising results.

  • 3.12.2013

    Isac Elliot is not afraid to ‘dream big’

    One of the most sudden teen sensations of late has been Isac Elliot, the Espoo-born 12-year-old whose pop songs have conquered the charts with their combination of catchy EDM-flavored beats and relatable lyrics.

  • 15.11.2013

    Opening Up the Broadway

    Helsinki’s soul powerhouse Timmion Records is striking a fresh sound with the California-based vocal duo Myron & E. Hot on the heels of their debut LP ”Broadway”, and a recent visit to Japan, the combo is set to take Europe by a storm.

  • 15.11.2013

    In Conversation with Kari Ikonen & Joonas Haavisto

    Forward-looking jazz pianists Kari Ikonen and Joonas Haavisto talk shop about taking their jazz outside of the Finnish borders.

  • 25.10.2013

    Going underground with Alamaailman Vasarat

    Alamaailman Vasarat have been creating experimental genre-defying music for a decade and a half, mixing elements of tango, klezmer, jazz, psychobilly and cabaret into a completely unique sound. We asked band leader Jarno “Stakula” Sarkula to talk about the group’s “fictional world music” and recent musical ventures ahead of their first ever UK show at Lifem – The Finnish Line 2 November.

  • 22.10.2013

    Battle metal from a castle town

    The distance from the hustle and bustle of the capital city’s metal scene gave Turisas the peace it needed to develop its own sound, which has with time become a small subgenre with fans all over the world.

  • 16.10.2013

    Playing with wolves

    Jouhikko master Pekko Käppi tours in UK and Japan and plans to release various projects in the near future.

  • 14.10.2013

    Värttinä 30 years – and still going strong

    It all started in the village of Rääkkylä 30 years ago. A group of young people started to sing and play folk music together. Their energetic shows were guaranteed crowd-pleasers – and before long they were off and towards international fame.

  • 11.10.2013

    Drummer jokes do not apply

    As names go, Tomi Leppänen might not say a whole lot to most people, but once you start digging into underground music in Finland and Europe, you’ll run into it all over the place.

  • 9.9.2013

    Reality opera for Generation Y

    Young adults + mobile phones = constant readiness for picture updates, anytime and anywhere. Conductor Ville Matvejeff spotted an opportunity in today’s world of relentless image overload and set up the New Generation Opera for photogenic young singers and, of course, for young audiences.

  • 26.7.2013

    Clubbed to life

    While limited by size and location, the Helsinki club scene is now blooming with new entries.

  • 30.5.2013

    Folk rap is here to stay

    Contemporary folk music and Finnish rap celebrate their 30th anniversary this year. Punk poet Asa, black music expert Paleface and folk music’s gift to rap, Pitkäsen Matti, use folk music as a tool in their politically inspired ranting.

  • 23.5.2013

    Semper Punk

    Statues, South American tours and documentaries are mostly what's up in and around Finnish punk rock.

  • 10.4.2013

    Touching the untouchable

    The age structure of concert audiences is the cause of some concern. The middle-aged and well-to-do conscientiously take their seats, but the young and casual listeners plump for a more familiar form of entertainment. What do classical musicians have to say about this?

  • 22.2.2013

    Helsinki jazz going overground

    With their new project, the Helsinki Jazz Underground, active jazz figures Jussi Fredriksson and Jaska Lukkarinen plan to take their local scene a step forward.

  • 21.2.2013

    In the JEKS world

    Jaakko Eino Kalevi drives a tram in Helsinki and now records for Beggars Music.

  • 20.2.2013

    Creative collaboration

    Composers began collaborating with orchestras in a big way in the late 1990s, and their partnerships are still bearing fruit. One of the most prominent has been that of Harri Vuori and the Hyvinkää Orchestra.

  • 20.2.2013

    LCMDF surfs beyond seapunk

    LCMDF started out as three bratty teenage art students doing a smirky send-up of hiphop and electroclash. Six years on, they’re showing (gulp!) maturity and silencing those who called them a one-joke flash in the pan.

  • 23.1.2013

    Living Bass

    Initiated by forward-thinking producers Teeth and Desto, Signal Life is one of the latest offerings in the low end savvy dance music from Helsinki. Late January sees the imprint take their sounds to London.

  • 15.1.2013

    Soliti: “Pure love for the music”

    Meet Nick Triani, an Anglo-Italian who’s been igniting the Finnish indie scene for a decade and a half. After near-fame with mid-90s UK indie darlings Supermodel and the Finnish-American band Treeball, Triani has managed to wear every hat in the industry: producer, radio and club DJ, critic, manager, A&R man – and since mid-2011, record company boss.

  • 8.1.2013

    The EBBA Award winner: French Films

    Nuorgam, the snazziest little music site in Finland, takes a long look at the bands we are carting off to Eurosonic. The last episode presents the EBBA Award Winner French Films (episode 9 includes also an interview).

  • 7.1.2013

    Gothesque and joyful pop or explosive acid? Sin Cos Tan & Acid Symphony Orchestra

    Nuorgam, the snazziest little music site in Finland, takes a long look at the bands we are carting off to Eurosonic. This episode features the electronic music Renaissance man Jori Hulkkonen.

  • 4.1.2013

    Farther and farther, higher and higher: Rubik and Satellite Stories

    Nuorgam, the snazziest little music site in Finland, takes a long look at the bands we are carting off to Eurosonic. In the episode seven we travel high from the ground. It's time to speak about Rubik and Satellite Stories

  • 28.12.2012

    8-bit and stripped funk rhythms: Huoratron & Mesak

    Nuorgam, the snazziest little music site in Finland, takes a long look at the bands we are carting off to Eurosonic. The episode six is all about electronic music which, in Finland, emerges from the 60's highly experimental background. Let's talk about Huoratron and Mesak.

  • 19.12.2012

    It’s all about emotions: Lau Nau and Phantom

    Nuorgam <3 Eurosonic, part5... Nuorgam, the snazziest little music site in Finland, takes a long look at the bands we are carting off to Eurosonic. In this episode Nuorgam travels in the deeps of rainy fishing villages with a hint of synthetic lifestyle. Meet Lau Nau and Phantom!

  • 17.12.2012

    Positivity makes the world a better place: Don Johnson Big Band ja Michael Monroe

    Nuorgam, the snazziest little music site in Finland, takes a long look at the bands we are carting off to Eurosonic. In this episode it's all about positivity as Michael Monroe and Don Johnson Big Band go under the microscope.

  • 14.12.2012

    Alba Records celebrates 20th anniversary: The art of the possible

    November 2012 marked the 20th anniversary of the first CD release by Alba Records. The existence of a tiny Finnish label specialising in classical music is something of a rarity in this day and age. Carefully considered risk-taking and the Finnish arts subsidy system have helped the label to survive in an incredibly challenging market.

  • 5.12.2012

    Tip of the Finnish punk iceberg: Disco Ensemble & Pertti Kurikan nimipäivät

    Nuorgam <3 Eurosonic, part3... Nuorgam, the snazziest little music site in Finland, takes a long look at the bands we are carting off to Eurosonic. In this episode Disco Ensemble and Pertti Kurikan Nimipäivät go under the microscope.

  • 3.12.2012

    Jazz musicians taking over the club scene

    The Helsinki jazz club scene is buzzing at the moment, and a large amount of the action is organised by musicians, self-providing themselves with meaningful platforms of interaction.

  • 28.11.2012

    International Flavours from Finland: Eva & Manu and LCMDF

    Nuorgam <3 Eurosonic, part2... Nuorgam, the snazziest little music site in Finland, takes a long look at the bands we are carting off to Eurosonic. In this second episode Eva & Manu and LCMDF go under the microscope.

  • 27.11.2012

    Sin Cos Tan: Soul of the Machine

    Remember all those sci-fi books and movies about cyborgs with hearts, spaceships with implanted human brains and all that? For the aural version of that, check out the new Finnish duo Sin Cos Tan. Interfacing here are emotions and electronics, melodies and beats, chilliness and warmth, dance and thought, among other tantalising dualities.

  • 21.11.2012

    Better Living Through Cosmic Repetition: Death Hawks & Siinai

    Nuorgam <3 Eurosonic, part1... Nuorgam, the snazziest little music site in Finland, takes a long look at the bands we are carting off to Eurosonic. In this first episode Death Hawks and Siinai go under the microscope.

  • 21.11.2012

    French Films’ European conquest

    First off, don’t spend time wondering about the name. This band has nothing to do with France or cinema. It does have a lot to do with surf music, garage rock and the poppier side of Joy Division and New Order. And hooks catchy enough to land a shark.

  • 9.11.2012

    Visual jazz

    Oddarrang, an ensemble led by drummer-composer Olavi Louhivuori is known for their vast sonic landscapes which could well be described as being ”visual”. The group will perform at the London Jazz Festival 2012 and release their next album via the UK label Edition Records.

  • 29.10.2012

    For the love of music

    Mikko Tamminen is one of the most prominent Finnish songwriters to rise to the international front recently. But what does it take to achieve that level in making music professionally?

  • 5.10.2012

    From Wigwam to Kimmo Pohjonen

    Being boss of the bellows will only get you so far. As any successful artist, Kimmo has a solid team of people working to advance his career and help his unique take on music travel the world, from Finland to Australia and all points in between. Two of the people in Kimmo’s corner are a Texan who caught the Finnish music bug way back in the 1970s and a Finnish agent with a long history of working with artists who follow their own muse. Meet Phillip Page and Tiina Vihtkari...

  • 24.9.2012

    Q&A with Mikko Innanen

    Saxophone player Mikko Innanen is one of the most accomplished Finnish musicians on the international jazz circuit. He regularly plays abroad and frequently visits New York, where he actively collaborates with local musicians. He leads the Innkvisitio ensemble, and is also an integral part of such highly regarded groups as PLOP, Kalle Kalima & K-18 and Gourmet.

  • 16.9.2012

    Teemu Brunila hits his sweet spot as a songwriter

    Brunila lands a co-write on Billboard Hot 200-topping album by Trey Songz. If Bill Clinton’s legendary campaign manager James “Ragin’ Cajun” Carville was involved in the music business, he’d have probably have his motto on the wall of his office, possibly in crocheted form: It’s the songs, stupid.

  • 10.9.2012

    Monday night fever (on contemporary music series)

    Two new concert series have added a welcome, broader dimension to the Helsinki contemporary- music scene. Ensembles, musicians and composers are performing new music from Finland and elsewhere.

  • 2.8.2012

    A Pioneer of Finnish Jazz

    "Jukkis has the unique ability to combine his penetrating insight into 20th-century music with a vision of the future. He is always my first choice" - Tim Hagans 

  • 10.7.2012

    Fullsteam Family - Straddling the Fence

    What started as a as a hobbyist foray into record distribution has over the last ten years evolved into an important part of the Finnish music business, with its finger in many pies from festival promotion and practice spaces to publishing, booking Finnish concerts for major international stars and a turnover of 6 million euros.