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Unexplored territory: Finnish music

May 7, 2015

<hangs head in shame> I have lived here long enough to know better: the Finnish music industry is alive and well and has scads of great bands and singers to suit everyone’s taste. While Finland is known as a heavy metal haven and boasts its share of bands that fit the genre, you can find out more about the Finnish music scene here.

The Von Hertzen Brothers have been around for a long time, but I have just come across them recently and finally took a serious listen to their music. Fantastic stuff. Right off the bat, their talent puts them with the likes of the Foo Fighters (in my opinion) and Mikko Von Hertzen, not only sings and plays guitar – he also plays the drums. Mikko’s brothers Kie and Jonne round out the guitars and vocals and feature the versatile Juha Kuoppala on keyboards and Mikko Kaakkuriniemi on drums. These guys have released several albums in English and it seems that their break on the international scene is about to come with their new album New Day Rising – look for it, it’s awesome.

Nightwish has been around for ages and has undergone some changes over the last few years. Now with Floor Janzen fronting the band and the permanent addition of Troy Donockley, they’ve headed down a different road. They still sound great! I’m sold.

Rap music is also very popular in Finland, but what is amazing (and I say this because I have no idea what the situation is in other countries) is that the Finnish language features front and centre on the rap scene. Some of the more popular names I have come across include Cheek, Elastinen, Paleface, Redrama (who raps in English), Mikael Gabriel and Unikki. I am not a fan of rap music, but it sells well here, so these guys must be doing something right!

The genre known as “iskelmä” can be described as light pop. Finnish pop music has always had a strong following. Jari Sillanpää who is a perpetual favourite turns 50 this year and he will be offering coffee and cake to all concert goers at his birthday concert in August. Fun! Other popular pop/rock acts in Finland include Haloo Helsinki (gave them a listen and wished I could understand all of their lyrics, I like them), Jenni Vartiainen, PMMP, Eppu Normaali, and a host of others that are far too numerous to name!

The one genre of music you will not find in Finland is country music. I have never heard it on any radio station anywhere. I am sure there are country fans here, but they do not have a very high profile. (UPDATE: A friend of mine told me there is country music in Finland in the form of Freud Marx Engels & Jung, with songs translated from English to Finnish)

This is the sad thing about music – there’s so much great stuff out there. I am learning that now – YouTube is great! I have lamented many times that Finnish people have no idea what they’re missing because they never get to hear great Canadian rock on the radio here. Now it goes the other way – with my lesson in Finnish music over the last year or so – Canada, you have no idea what you’re missing!

Pipe up folks, who are your favourites?

My favourites: The Von Hertzen Brothers, Nightwish, Kolmas Nainen, The Rasmus, Robin (the kid can sing), Michael Monroe, Sunrise Avenue and Eppu Normaali.

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10 Comments leave one →
  1. May 7, 2015 11:00 am

    I think there are lot of Canadian artists and bands people think they are from US.
    My favorites are Creepshow and Neil Young. best of Finnish bands : 22.Pistepirkko

    • May 8, 2015 8:34 am

      And I bet a lot of that Canadian rock is never heard outside of the borders of Canada, sad actually.

      Ah, forgot about 22.Pistepirkko!

  2. anonymous permalink
    May 7, 2015 9:16 pm

    Well, Medeia. They also have some great, WTFy videos. Also, Tukkanuotta. The mighty Finntroll!
    Oh right, non-metal. Umm.. Ydinperhe.
    Or did you mean something more mainstream? Well.. Stam1na..? I guess that was fairly metal too. Older Apulanta, then? That album sold gold.
    Less aggressive, you say? Viikate (2). Some rautalanka influence there…
    How about more rautalanka? The Sounds? The Esquires?
    No? Vocals? Err.. Umm.. Hmm.. All I can think of is the older stuff: Miljoonasade, SIG (2), Leevi and the Leavings (2), Juice Leskinen, Rauli “Badding” Somerjoki, I suppose…
    Some people even like Suurlähettiläät.

    My favourites? Right. They’re a bit of harder the harder taste, but I suppose I can mention Eternal Tears of Sorrow, Insomnium and Omnium Gatherum, if you can stomach melodic death metal. Give them a try even if you can’t. Otherwise it’s mostly the kind of stuff I pointed to at first. The foreign ones too..

    The current Finnish rap scene is really annoying. They may use Finnish, but they don’t really respect the language. The intonation and stress are all wrong as a rule. So, as far as I’m concerned, it’s actually worse than using a foreign language. Thanks a bunch, Fintelligens. Raptori did it much better way back when. Humour perhaps, but way better than the stuff the current scene produces by doing it “properly”.
    Well, okay, the whole global mainstream rap scene is shit. It’s all bitch this and bling that and basically just people bragging and pretending to be rich assholes. What a waste of time! What the hell happened to softcore? And I think we lost the nice background music in that genre to sampling controversies and copyright battles.

    Country fans? Hahaha! Yeah, right! Music industry indeed!

    (Here’s hoping I didn’t screw up the HTML..)

    • May 8, 2015 8:50 am

      The HTML worked out fine! Thanks for tuning in Anonymous, you opened my eyes to a few more bands I have never heard of.

      I actually hate rap music of all kinds (I agree with your assessment it is aggressive, mean and so on) – so I am hoping it never sees the light of day in our household, but with the Little Miss getting older… I am afraid we’ll be hearing it whether we like it or not.

      I don’t really like the growling of lyrics in death metal, but I did like the Insomnium tune though! Imagine if somebody had sung something instead of growling! 🙂

      I am actually glad we don’t have country music here – can’t stand that stuff either.

      • anonymous permalink
        May 9, 2015 1:08 pm

        Youtube gives you loads more suggestions on the right panel with those links, by the way.

        The old softcore rap isn’t that bad, actually. You know, De La Soul, A Tribe Called Quest, etc. Tone Loc, maybe?
        Still, rather than a depraved and deranged hopper, popper, hippie, emo, hipster or some other kind of group-thinker, there’s still hope your Little Miss grows up to be a healthy, wholesome headbanger or a politically active, philantropic punk rocker. You just may need to be a bit proactive.

      • anonymous permalink
        May 9, 2015 1:12 pm

        Crap. That really should be “pure-hearted”, shouldn’t it?

  3. anonymous permalink
    May 12, 2015 5:49 pm

    Have a listen to Elegia by Timo Rautiainen & Trio Niskalaukaus. The light-hearted lyrics will provide a nice translation exercise.

  4. May 13, 2015 1:01 pm

    One of my favourite bands ever is Sentenced. Too bad they split-up… Other great Finnish bands for me are Amorphis, Korpiklaani, The 69 eyes and Lordi 🙂 Nightwish… it may sounds like a cliche but they were Nightwish with Tarja. Without her they are great too, but they sound like some other band. But I like them in spite of all that.
    Lately I found one non-metal Finnish band – Scandinavian Music Group ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jKZclDm5fv4 ) I have no idea what they sing but it sounds great to me.

    About the canadian bands I like The Creepshow too and The Silver shine. The Canadian punk at all is great 🙂

  5. Reisha Estrada permalink
    January 26, 2016 1:36 pm

    Have you also heard about Sanni Kurkisuo? 🙂

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