Albums Music

iRonica – Consequences

{mosimage}I am not sure that Ironica – no, wait, iRonica – is that entire smart name for a band.

Of course, the world is full of good bands with crappy names, but still, I find it somewhat hard to look at this Finnish five-piece’s debut album without fearing the worst. Luckily, the record is better than what the band name suggests.           

It would be fitting to describe iRonica’s music as power metal with female vocals. Having a female lead singer in a metal band hasn’t been a new concept in years, but luckily, iRonica are not another Nightwish copy band. The band’s fast-paced, very melodic metal is performed solidly and with conviction. They are not the most original band around, but they clearly have their place in the local music scene.           

The focal points of iRonica are guitarist/songwriter Ville Nepal and singer Elina Iron, who both handle their respective fields well. The song writing is sharp, although there are some less-exciting tracks as well, and Iron is quite different from standard female metal vocalists. Her vocal sound is kind of dirty, and she sounds genuinely angry. The other musicians handle their respective fields well, also, although some cheesy synth sounds and drum fills appear.           

The kind of metal that iRonica plays is not really my cup of tea, but I have to admit they are good at what they do. Despite the name. 

Rate: 3/5 

Albums Music

Kauko Röyhkä & Riku Mattila

{mosimage}Kauko Röyhkä, the (somewhat) unsung genius of Finnish rock music, makes an interesting and unexpected career move.

Kauko gets reunited with his old collaborator, guitarist Riku Mattila, who used to play in his band in the beginning of eighties, when both of them were just starting out. Since then, Mattila has played with many other Finnish musicians and become a respected producer, whereas Röyhkä has continued his career as an artist and an author.           

Despite being a good songwriter and one of the best Finnish lyricists ever, Röyhkä has always been a bit uneven artist. However, he has made good records during all the years, and with Mattila, he sounds better than in a long time. Somehow it looks like these two guys can really bring the best out of each other.            

There are plenty of good songs. The album opener Helvetti is surprisingly dark and melancholy for a Kauko Röyhkä track, but it works. Odotetaan kultaista laivaa is a much more positive, relaxed piece with brilliant lyrics and an equally brilliant guitar solo by Mattila. And the album closing epic Välitila shows that nobody can put a short story to music better than Kauko Röyhkä.           

The overall mood of the album is very loose and easy-going, like one could expect – Röyhkä and Mattila have nothing to prove to anybody. That this record has been the biggest commercial success of Kauko Röyhkä’s career is at first surprising, but in the end, it feels very logical. After all, this is a huge artistic success as well. 

Rate: 4/5 

Albums Music

Eleanoora Rosenholm – Vainajan muotokuva

{mosimage}New Finnish bands are rarely as interesting as Eleanoora Rosenholm (yes, despite the name this is a band, not a solo artist).


First, it is sort of Finnish alternative rock super group, the members being known from such bands as Lowlife Rock’n’roll Philosophers, Magyar Posse, Circle and Kuusumun Profeetta. Second, the fictional story behind the band (involving a serial killer called Eleanoora Rosenholm) is quite fascinating. And third, the music is very good.


Eleanoora Roosenholm’s leftfield synthpop is weird enough to be interesting for those who don’t care for mainstream music, but pop enough to suit those who do. The atmosphere is morbid yet treacherously captivating, just like in a good horror movie. With all the lyrics about murders and something-that-is-not-specified being wrong, Vainajan muotokuva (“portrait of the deceased”) is a somewhat brooding record, but in a good way.


Right from the album opener Musta ruusu, it is clear that Eleanoora Rosenholm may be playing pop music, but very different from your usual chart pop. Tracks like Ovet ja huoneet and Kodinrakennusohjeet are brilliant examples of melodic, easily accessible pop music with a sinister twist. The two instrumentals on the record also work out well in creating the atmosphere. Kiltti vai tuhma? is, in its innocence, catchiness and pop sensibility, somewhat different from the rest of the album, but that only makes the record interesting.


A bloodcurdling debut album from a band that certainly is quite unique in the current Finnish rock music scene. I truly hope we’ll be hearing a lot from them in the future.


Rate 4/5

Misc News

Diablo opening for Metallica



Performance Apocalyptica at Metallica concert cancelled

Misc News

kanYe West concert moved to August

will stay valid. Those who want their money back, can return their
tickets at Lippupalvelu offices.

Concert organizer Speed Promotion has
issued an apology, but has given no reason for the 5-week delay.


Official website kanYe West:

Misc News

New date for Mötley Crüe concert

Misc News

Nightwish announce first tour with Anette

The tour will start on 6 October (2007) in Tel Aviv, Israel, and
end on New Year’s Day at Helsinki‘s Jäähalli. It will span four

On the U.S. leg of the tour, which so far includes 23 dates, the
band will be joined by legendary British metal group Paradise Lost.

In Finland, Nightwish will perform eight times, starting with two concerts in Levi, Finnish Lapland, on December 8 and 9 (2007).

After a carefully orchestrated hype, the group last week (24 May,
2007) revealed the name of their new singer and released their new
single "Eva".

35-year-old Anette Olzon, formerly known as Anette Blyckert, used
to be the singer of successful Swedish melodic / adult-oriented rock
group Alyson Avenue. She replaces Tarja Turunen, who was publicly fired
from the band in the autumn of 2005.

Misc News

Shooting Lordi film under way in Oulu

Dark Floors – The Lordi Motion Picture, based on a joint idea by Lordi singer Tomi Putaansuu and the film’s Finnish director Pete Riski, will be shot in its entirety in an old industrial hall in the Finnish city.

While Putaansuu (”Mr. Lordi”) will of course play an important role, all main actors in the English language film are British.

The script was written by Pekka Lehtosaari.

The total budget of the film is 4 million euros, which makes it the most expensive Finnish horror production to date.

Filming will continue well into July. Dark Floors is scheduled to premiere in February, 2008.

Misc News

New website

FREE! Magazine opens a new website. Browse around and discover it. Become a member and enjoy exclusive promotions and much more.

Cover story Misc

From the ashes of the lost empire

After following the events concerning a certain bronze Russian soldier, I gave myself the task of developing an observer’s approach to the efforts being made to build a new Estonia, where past and present can live together in peace. With this in mind, I decided to join the MA students of Urban Studies at the Estonian Academic of Arts on a one-day trip to the forgotten city of Paldiski, on the peninsula of Pakri. As a part of their curriculum, the students are doing a project on urban management in Paldiski. The idea is to offer four possible scenarios in which architecture could help in the redevelopment of the area. 

Approximately 50 km from Tallinn, Paldiski is an important Baltic Sea port located in south-western Estonia. Its history goes back 300 years, when the Russian Tsar Peter 1st started construction of a port. Paldiski’s status as a port has since dictated its entire destiny.  

During the 20th century, the Soviets began moving the local population away from the town in order to establish a navel base. 16,000 men of nine different Soviet army units were located in the city and its vicinity. Paldiski’s status as port reached its summit when a training centre for nuclear submarines was opened in 1968. The city then became a no-go area, where the presence of non-soviet military was forbidden. The city remained closed until 30 August 1994, when the last Soviet warship left.  

{mosimage}Welcome to hell
At 9:04 am a small bus left the Estonian Academy of Arts, located in Tallinn’s city centre. Three students, the leader of the project, a bus driver and myself were the participants of the expedition. After one hour of travel, we arrived in Paldiski. On the outskirts of the city some ruins began to appear. Towards the centre, the landscape changed: colourful soviet apartments, which somehow looked out of place for such a small city.

Our first point of call was to the northern point of the peninsula, were the limestone cliffs and the lighthouse are located. There the visitor can find about eight windmills that are part of the state’s efforts to produce renewable energy. When returning back to the centre and seeing the town by foot, I realized that the ruins and empty buildings are everywhere. Images of inhabited homes with a ghost neighbour are common. 

We were then led to a meeting room in the City Council House (Linnavalitsus). There, the City Councillor Jaan Möller and another representative were waiting for us. The idea of the meeting was to find out about the specific plans for the area. Councillor Möller, who has been in office for 13 years, constantly mentioned the appeal of the ports, as the most important factor in the development of Paldiski as a integrated city. His objective is to increase the population from 4,000 to 7,000 by attracting immigrants, offering opportunities for work at the port as well, as in the industry.  

With a huge map of Paldiski and the peninsula on the table, he showed the group the plans for attracting the new residents to the city. The allocated areas, far away from the ruins and abandoned buildings, are a clear attempt at remodelling the city. In order to achieve this, the city must attract private funding. However, he Möller was sceptical about the development of Paldiski as a tourist destination. He claimed that business is the future of Paldiski, even though it is a well-know place for hiking due to the cliffs of limestone.  




Estonians and Russians 

In contrast to the recent events, Mr Möller emphasised that in his 13 years of service he has experienced just one case of friction between the Estonian and the Russian population. Apart from that “we haven’t had any problems”, he added.  

Baring this in mind, we went to visit the local police chief, Madis Melzar. He affirmed that the relations between the Estonian and the Russian population are peaceful. And it was noticeable on the streets too that there was no threat, visible or otherwise. 

After being at the Police Station, we went to the south port in order to have a guided tour. Inside the terminal port building one could notice a different atmosphere that made you doubt if you were really in Paldiski at all. From the inside one can look through a big yellow window, which somehow tries to erase the label of a “grey city”. When walking inside, I noticed that a huge cargo ship was just delivering a great quantity of new cars. 

It is clear that everyone has a common goal: the development of a new, economically and socially prosperous Paldiski that escapes the label it has been given. Now it is up to the students to start their investigation, which will hopefully see the rebirth of Paldiski from its ashes.


Photos by Mauricio Roa 

Interviews Music

Sitar lady

Although she is only 25, she has had a long career and has long since stopped being just Ravi Shankar’s daughter. Born in London, she is a sitar player and composer and started being taught by her father when she was nine. She gave her first public performance at the age of 13. Today she’s a well-known artist. In 2000, she was the first woman to perform at The Ramakrishna Centre in Calcutta. She was chosen by the Indian Television Academy and the newspaper India Times as one of four Women of the Year. Furthermore, she appeared three years ago in Time Magazine Asia as one of their twenty Asian heroes.

She still loves playing Indian classical music and doing concerts with her father, who is known all over the world as the one that brought classical Indian music onto the world stage, thanks to his association with The Beatles and his charisma. "Getting to perform with my father is one of the most amazing things I get to do, especially now that we are father-daughter, teacher-student, and also true collaborators after having performed together for over a decade", she said proudly.

But she is developing her own style. That’s why she created the Anoushka Shankar Project a couple of years ago, which was conceived "to differentiate between the classical career I had built over years, and the experimental direction I've gone in the last few years". Through this project she is able to work "outside of, but inspired by, classical Indian frameworks and compose for a combination of Indian and Western music and musicians".

{mosimage}This summer she will be playing a combination of new compositions of hers based on ragas (Indian classical melody forms) created by her father over the last few decades, and also some acoustic versions of material from her last album Rise. With her will be her long-time collaborator, the legendary tabla player Tanmoy Bose, brilliant Carnatic (South Indian) flutist Ravichandra Kulur, and two jazz musicians who study Indian music with her father: drummer Jesse Charnow, and pianist/saxophonist Leo Dombecki.

Shankar explains that "we are playing my compositions but I give the musicians a lot of room to improvise, and we have a great rapport and dynamic chemistry, which is something people like most about our shows".

This will by her first time in Finland –"though I saw the coast once from a boat I had taken from St. Petersburg! ". Anoushka told us that "more than anything I am excited to come to your country and play my music there for the first time. I don't have expectations necessarily, but I hope to have some time to explore, and I really hope that people appreciate the music". 

Anoushka ShankarTuesday 22 May, 7.30pm
Savoy Theatre, Kasarmikatu 46-48, Helsinki

Blogs FREE! Blog

FREE! goes to Eurovision

Actually, our “Euro-week” started last Sunday, early in the morning when both editors appeared on Subtv thanks to the invitation of Markku from Finland, this special and genuine ambassador of Finnish culture who, with tones of humour, discovers the particular secrets of living in Suomi. It was fun, and we had a good time with the guys there in the studio, although we were a bit nervous in front of the camera since we are most used to other media where our face is not so directly “visible” for the audience, as radio shows. Minutes later, in their backstage, we took revenge and shot with our video-camera a short and funny interview with Markku from Finland that we hope we will be able to show you soon in our website.

The week started amazingly fast and busy on Monday. Lots of interviews that included an interesting visit to Suomelinna, and lot of events to be covered and promotion to be done. Late at night wee checked the anniversary party of Bar Loose at Tavastia but before that, we had a new “Eurovision bath” at the official welcoming party at Finlandia Hall. Everybody was there, the artists, the journalists, the fans… 

FREE! Magazine editors, dressed with our glamorous t shirts (if you were at the party you cannot miss two Spanish guys with red fluorescent t shirts that can be spotted 1 kilometer away with our slogan “Take me, I ´m FREE” on the back…) jumped into the crowd with no idea of who singer was who (The girl from Moldova seemed not to appreciate much my lack of knowledge about her…) and pretty soon, well equipped with some beers in our hand, had interested conversations there with other journalists colleagues, with our beloved Spanish ambassador, with Markku from Finland who came to greet us again (we should sign a contract with these guys… better expressed they should sign a contract with us) and also with some waiters and workers in the “naarikka”. Half Finlandia Talo was crowded with Spanish people everywhere; it seems that our native country really loves the event…  And even one waiter was Spanish (Antonio…same that our ambassador Antonio… nice name indeed…sometimes even crazy editors have that name too ;) ) .

We have notice a lack of organization at some venues like Messukeskus, where the information point seems to be made to create the opposite reaction, but we must recognize that the welcome party was fabulous. Good and varied music, excellent food and a great atmosphere. Everybody was having a good time, specially the happy people from the gay community. All the fans taking pictures with their favourite singers, and a lot of Finnish pretty people around. Ola Salo, who is not Finnish but Swedish from the participant band The Ark also showed up there, acting as the real rock-star he is (for good and for bad sake) and practically same status quo yesterday Tuesday at Vanha, where the same people seemed to be holding the same glasses of wine in a new party. This time the editors took it easier, since there is (even) lots of work still to be done.

Maybe you like Eurovision, maybe you hate it, but you cannot deny the special attraction of having the chance to drink beer for FREE!

Blogs FREE! Blog

Say with a song

Dozens of events, concerts and street parties (let’s pray for good weather so everybody will be able to enjoy the outdoors happenings) that will export the image of Finland to the rest of the world. You may like it or not, but definitely you cannot deny the impact of the contest worldwide. In any case, if you live near the centre of Helsinki, there is no way to escape from the Eurovision fever. So as a wise man once said, if you cannot defeat them…join them!

There will be thousands of visitors coming during the following weeks. For many of those, the Helsinki Tourist Office is the first place where you can collect information about the cultural events and the wide amount of possibilities that the city and the country have to offer. There you can find FREE! too. Or not?

Some of you may have found the absence of copies of FREE! Magazine at the Tourist Office during the previous month strange. It seems that our cover crossed the line for the people responsible there, and they preferred to “store” our magazine in the back room. If you had the chance to see the cover, you can judge for yourself if it deserved such a punishment. If you didn't see it, visit our website and download the last issue.

In any case, we find it very sad that our audience was not allowed to enjoy the diverse articles we prepared with such effort just because of a personal opinion about an illustration that had no other purpose than teasing the curiosity of the reader. It seems that some censorship practices are still in use, even in such a freedom loving country as Finland.

So for the rest of you who grabbed a copy of the present issue, do not just stop at this editorial. Turn the pages and discover the exciting contents we have, from the most unusual Finnish literature to the trendiest indie rock bands. Or just forget your worries and shake your body exploring the contemporary dance Finland has to offer.

Go to concerts, watch the new exciting film titles that arrive to the big screen, and basically enjoy life…with no censorship. Be FREE!

Features Music

Young people rap for children’s rights

competition is open until 23rd of April and the lyrics of the entries may be
written from young people’s personal or global perspective in Finnish, English
or Swedish. The competition entries can
be solo or group acts. The candidates must be under 18 years old. In group acts, half of the
members can be from 18 to 23 years old. The songs may include samples and loops
that can be downloaded from the competition website.

jury includes well-known Finnish artists such as Paleface and Redrama among
others. The chairman of the jury,
DJ Mobster, encourages entrants to do what comes naturally and from the heart. “The most important thing
is to do what feels right.” The winners will have the chance to record their entry and the best lyrics in the
competition will be compiled in a book.

competition is modelled after the Tundu Dior musical project in Senegal. The 12-year-old Aminata,
who is in the Tundu Dior competition, wants to express through music her hopes
that there will be fewer
wars and that all children will be able to go to school, because
children are the future of the land.

information and instruction on how to enter at the competition website:

Features Music

Neighbours coming over for a good vibe

Luckily there is a guy named Tusovka. Loosely
translated from St. Petersburg
slang meaning "good vibe" and "a creative get-together of free
people", the Helsinki-based promoter has been active since 1998
introducing modern Russian music and popular culture to Finnish audiences, and
visa versa.

Tusovka’s biggest event is the annual Tusovkarock
Festival in Helsinki. This year, the eighth edition of the festival at Cultural
Arena Gloria takes place on March 30th and 31st. Kicking off will be St.
Petersburg-based Tva Samoleta (Two Planes), one of Russia's oldest and
best-known ska bands, and Boombox, a popular trio consisting of a vocalist,
guitarist and a DJ from Kiev (Ukraine), with their cosmopolitan blend of rock,
r ’n’ b, funk, soul and reggae. Also performing that night will be popular
ten-member strong Finnish dancehall/dub/reggae collective Puppa J &

{mosimage}On Saturday 31st Deti Picasso (Children of Picasso)
hits the stage. The group from Moscow plays psychedelic rock with expressive
vocals by Gaya Arutyunyan, in Russian and Armenian, combined with Moscow
club and Armenian folk influences. Monostereo from St. Petersburg will bring, in what they
themselves call, an energetic mix of post-rock, acid-jazz and hip-hop, combined
with deep and touching lyrics. Joining the party on Saturday will be Helsinki's
own, seven-member funk band Eternal Erection, widely considered to be one of
Finland's best live acts.

To top everything off, there's Russian animation and
fine food. So for a “hyvä meininki” Russian style, head to Tusovkarock!


Tusovkarock 2007


Friday 30.3: Boombox, Tva Samoleta and Puppa J &

Saturday 31.3: Deti Picasso, Monostereo and Eternal

Cultural Arena Gloria, Pieni Roobertinkatu 12, Helsinki

Tickets: 9 e/day, 16 e/2 days