Interviews Misc

The spirit of the Dancing Man

{mosimage}When speaking about contemporary dance in Finland, one reference name is Tero Saarinen. He has achieved a worldwide recognition with the best formula: talent, hard work and the collaboration of a great team formed by top-class artists and professionals. Even when sometimes his popularity has been bigger outside the borders of Finland than inside his own country, his merits were finally rewarded in his native country with awards such as the Pro Finlandia Medal in 2005.

After having lived in France for some years, Tero is back in Finland (as long as his other compromises allow him, since he spends a great part of the year traveling around the world, working and performing) running his own dance company, Tero Saarinen Company, and preparing everything for the conquering of the Finnish spectators during the incoming representations of Petrushka / HUNT that will be performed all along August in Alexander Theater, Helsinki.

There are different features that maybe give a key explanation about the success in Tero Saarinen´s works. One is the risky attitude towards his art, always looking for new ways of expression, and not worrying about the immediate success. Tero Saarinen is a person who enjoys discovering new places in the world the same than enjoys discovering new and interesting people all along his career to collaborate with. This natural approach to life is reflected also in the natural dialogue with the audience. During the incoming shows, the spectators will have the unusual opportunity of staying after the performance and talk to the dancer about their impressions, feelings and whatever other question they want to make. Tero affirms that this same experience has been tested before, with excellent results “In general, it is amazing the nice and interesting feedback that the spectators give. I am very satisfied with this idea of having an open discussion after every show”.

Tero does not only take care of his own solo performances, but makes sure that he is surrounded by the best professionals to achieve an optimal result. As an example, we collected the opinion of Satu Halttunen, one of the company dancers and Tero´s collaborator, who has worked together with him creating pieces for, among others, the NDT (Nederlands Dans Theater): "It was interesting to be there. Everybody who works in the field of dance knows the reputation of the place and the dancers and it was true that all the dancers were amazing. But I also think the nature of NDT has changed after Jiri Kylian left the company".

Satu obviously is one of the persons who can give a best opinion about Tero´s style when dancing, having being his second pair of eyes when working together, helping to create a choreography for other dance companies: "Tero uses lots of mental images when creating a movement. Physically he emphasizes a lot the sensitivity of the arms and fingers and feeling of the bodyweight".


Everything can be said in the art of dance.

Tero Saarinen

{mosimage} Tero Saarinen receives FREE! Magazine in Alexander Theater in the center of Helsinki, the place where soon the spectators will be able to assist to his forthcoming performances: Petrushka/HUNT. He is calm and friendly, and makes a great effort to put his many varied thoughts into English language for us, laughing when he gets lost in the middle of an answer. Although being on his forties, he looks extremely young and fragile, but when he starts speaking, (and he does speak a lot indeed!), you realize that Tero is a man who knows exactly what he wants to achieve in life. A man whose personal philosophy is to live under a “controlled risk”, extrapolating this to his performances on stage. A man who is not afraid to explore new ways of expression traveling to remote Asia, or just turning this exploration into a deep look at his soul. Tero Saarinen represents beyond everything else the true spirit of the Dancing Man.

It is very interesting to see in your biography that you spent some time in Japan studying Butoh dance. Tell us more about the experience, please.

I wanted to expand this image of dancing man inside me. I think that it was limited in the National Ballet of Finland, and I had a “hunger” to go outside. I was in Tokyo for nearly a year.

Were you feeling alienated at some point?

It was a lot of alienation feeling when you were there. When you come as an outsider, it is hard to find the right connections. It takes a lot of time to make you “known”. It is very long way to get into this routine of Japanese culture, in a way. So it took two months before I could find the way to go to the traditional Japanese classes. You need to know the right persons. One door opens and slowly you get in. That was a long process

So it is a closed society…

Very close. And the traditions of dance are very different. For me sometimes was very difficult to understand the mentality behind and of course, the amount of people in Tokyo… it is such a huge city… it was a big difference, coming from Helsinki where you can go cycling to your work, and there in Japan I had to travel 1-2 hours to find the places where I studied. The distances were hard, and the amount of people was quite heavy to take at the beginning. I remember that there were days I did not want to go out because I thought there were too many people there. And I was also missing the sea. I am a “water person”, I was raised close to the sea and I had to travel to find some sea.

I know you were practicing also martial arts. What martial art did you practice?

I practiced Aikido. It took two hours to go to the place where I took the classes. It became too hard; the days became too long, so I had to give it up. I thought I could study later martial arts in Finland. So I selected to study Butoh dance “from the source”.

What do you think of the Butoh dancers emigrated to Europe? There are even some big names here in Finland.

There are, starting from the 90s, a lot of people who are teaching Butoh. They are very good teachers. An innovation of Butoh philosophy. But I think nowadays the original idea of Butoh is lost. When it started after Second World War, there was a lot of things boiling in Japanese culture. It wanted to break the estheticism established in the society. It was violent, and now all we see is about beauty, so it was turned around the original idea. The revolution feeling has been lost, but maybe because there is no need of it anymore.

{mosimage} In your dancing style, you like the feeling of “being on the edge”. Is it a reflection of your life?

I think it is. It is an interesting state. But the main idea is that you feel safe, you can take risks but under control. You have the sensation of the leap. When we talk about art, I think that the risk-taking makes it more exciting. If it is too calculated and comfortable, and does not have a possibility for the participants to take risks, then it is not alive. It is a risk with some kind of safety. And I think that is also in my life. I never cared about my contracts, my pensions. You have to take other injections of inspiration from other cultures. It is all about the structure. The ideology of our company is like that, we take risks but under control, on stage and off stage.

Yeah, for example, in your previous piece Kaze you took a lot of risks, you invested a lot of money.

You need to invest for the pieces. Maybe the credits do not come immediately. I always thought the money would come later if you believe in that product, The works of mine defy the time in a way, and they will last. So the reward will come.

Is it stressful to find perfection in your art and to be a business man at the same time?

To be a business man requires stress. Of course it is part of this business. But I think that you minimize stress and the risks when you have the right people in the right places. Years before I had a lot of stress because I took care of everything. I was designing the clothes; I was sticking the posters at night in the streets. It was ridiculous! I had this understanding that you need other people. I went out of Finland and I saw how things were done outside, where people were surrounded by producers and sharing values with the workers. The artistic and the human values, and also the business values.

How many people are there in your company?

Now we have 6 people, including administration. It depends, the body is very flexible. If we go on tour in my solo evenings, it can be only four people, but we can go with 25 people on the road. It depends on the production

You dance and you also make choreographies for others. Apart from all that, you have to run your dance company. How do you take care of yourself?

It is not an easy concept. Running the company is why I have to have good people helping me both in administrative and artistic field. I have dancers with whom I have been working for 10 years, and some of these people come with me as assistants. So they know the “alphabet of the style”. When we go to work with other companies, we really transmit the “alphabet of our style”, something essential about being a dancer. So there is a deeper reason to meet than just getting the money. Dance is not just steps; it is a way to perceive life.

How long do you want to continue dancing professionally?

I read days ago an interview I did when I was 25, saying “I am not afraid of getting old…” So I think that there is this dilemma of the dancer, you feel you do not have to exhaust physically yourself to transmit things. You can do less but still transmit more things. People ask “when do you stop?” I still have not decided when I stop. I am quite critical with myself, so I suppose I will decide to stop when I am not able to transmit anything anymore. When the dialogue with the audience does not happen, I will stop before that.

You have been collaborating with very important people in dancing and art business, like with Nederlands Dans Theater or Batsheva Dance Company. Is there anybody you have as a dream to collaborate to?

I do not think like that. I think that who comes on the way, comes. I do not look like “I would like to work with…” I do not feel I have to work with a person I see in a magazine. I think my best meeting was with the Japanese professor, Kazuo Ohno.

You go to Germany and then back to Finland. What the spectator can expect from the show Petrushka/HUNT?

It is bigger than experience. It is a special evening; it has live musicians who have adapted Petrushka into accordions. It is an amazing adaptation. And the next piece HUNT is my solo. It is a big risk, it has been written for the big unit of men and women, and I dared to make it only for myself, plus Marita Liulia, the multimedia artist who collaborated in it. It is a wonderful integration of different expertises from different fields of art.

Is it not risky to express on stage masculinity and femininity just dancing solo?

I like risks. I could not integrate other person in that, because I do not feel it. I have a lot of things boiling from inside me to make this piece. All of us have masculinity and femininity. It was interesting and challenging to dare to do it with style and taste. I wanted somehow to talk about the media we are surrounded by. How we cope with the new technologies and this attractive new ways of communicating (and isolating) ourselves. We forget the physicality. There was a kind of frustration that I wanted to talk about it. If we are sacrificing our roots, the knowledge we have and we carry. So I had this battle inside me, and I wanted to bring this battle into the piece. This is why there is a strong connection with Marita Liulia and with interactive media tools she was working with.

Alienation seems to be very present in your work.

Yeah, maybe that is my eternal subject. The thing I want to dive into. I dance because I do not want to talk. Everything can be said in the art of dance.

Any anecdotes from previous shows?

It was very special in Mexico. The tension between the audience and us was special. It is hard to find the right words. In Finland we meet the audience after the performance. I like a lot to talk to audience, it takes out this borders that the artists are something so special. There are no secrets there, no artificial mysterious symbols. It is nice to have a dialogue. The mysticism evaporates.


A man with a team!

{mosimage} Mikki Kunttu – Lightning designer

How did you get involved in Tero Saarinen´s Company at the beginning?

We did a project together with Tero when I was a second year student of lighting and sound in Tampere.

Is there any special feature, difficulty or exception that you find in your job as lightning designer with Tero Saarinen different from other different jobs and projects you have made before?

The real difference is that we have worked together for so long and have shared similar visions of what we would like to create for the stage.

Light in Finland is very important and has radical changes all over the year. From total darkness on winter to the midnight sun on summer. Do you take inspiration from the real nature when applying to your job?

In my opinion you carry your memory with you no matter what you do. So in other words of course it has an effect on my work, but it is a very natural part of me. Nature is one of the most inspiring elements for my work.

We also had some issues ago a long interview with Kimmo Pohjonen. How was to collaborate with him?

Kimmo is really one of the most talented and most original artists I have ever had the pleasure of working with. It is very rewarding to work with someone whose own expression is developed so far and who is so visually sensitive too.

You were involved also in the lightning of the Eurovision show. Are you happy with the experience? Was it very hard and demanding to prepare everything for a worldwide audience?

Eurovision was really a dream job for me. It was one of the rare occasions where you can just set your imagination free without real restrains of budget or other issues. Very, very challenging and complicated structure in the whole production, but at the same time very rewarding. I got to make all the big decisions on who I want to work with and to choose all the equipment. The fact that we had a huge audience was not really anything I would have considered too much. I’m extremely happy with the result!


{mosimage} Marita Liulia – Multimedia artist 

Was it Tero the one who came to ask for collaboration in his company, or was it you?

My collaboration with Tero started with Tarot ( I took photographs of Tero and he became The Hanged Man and Two of Coins and Five of Cups. I liked him very much since the first meeting and collaboration continued in Hunt. During last years we have traveled a lot (100 performances in 25 countries) and it has been a great time for me.

Is it complicated to apply the scent of the new technologies to old classics, without damaging the main essence?

Naturally it is demanding and challenging. I always do a lot of research work for my art work and it helps to avoid clichés and quick solutions. My work as an artist is to bring the contemporary time to a classic. In Hunt the multimedia brings the media world to the classical theme of Rite of Spring. 

You published acclaimed works about femininity and masculinity. Is the dichotomy of the sexes a topic that you like investigating often and deeply? Do you have conclusions or personal ideas you want to share with our readers?

Instead of dichotomy I find femininity and masculinity in everyone. They are deeply rooted roles and models we use in different ways depending of the context. This is something to observe in everyday life. Tero has a sharp eye to the multiple faces of gender. This is one reason I like to work with him. I also share his compassion and aim to understand the complexity of human mind – and body.

Is the reaction of the people usually in favour or applying new technologies and visual solutions to dance, or do you receive critics from purist sectors?

It seems to be that appropriate use of technology brings new audience to classical art forms. I have long experience of both and I must say that I have been utterly satisfied by the critics, also from the purist section!

What people can expect from your work in the next shows of HUNT?

As always, we do our very best in every performance. The audience participate every performance with their presence. I hope the collaboration will be like it has been, touching and unforgettable. I expect this Stravinsky evening will not leave anyone cold!


Tero Saarinen Company: Stravinsky Evening
Petrushka | HUNT
August 2–19, 2007
Thu-Sat at 8pm, Sun at 3pm
Alexander Theatre, Bulevardi 23-27, Helsinki
Tickets 15-40e

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Cover story Misc

Animal ups and downs

Zoos are controversial: most like to see wild animals from far-away
places close up, some think they exploit innocent creatures for profit in
unnatural surroundings. Here's a look at Helsinki City's operation.

Helsinki Zoo is quite small, but it has
an eclectic collection and is widely known for its successful breeding policy.
Founded in 1889, (when the classic cages were less animal-friendly as you can
see) it is now hoping to embark on a €150m 15-year programme that will make it
"a centre for nature education in Helsinki" states Director Seppo Turunen.

The new plan envisages an expansion of ‘cold-blooded' representation,
as a third of the 6,000 amphibian threatened species are. "There's no way to
save them in the wild because of a fungal disease, which can be controlled in
laboratory conditions," says Turunen, "Zoos will take responsibility for
keeping hundreds from extinction worldwide, Europe has selected 10, mainly from
the Mediterranean and Alps."

That is all in the future, things are
happening now – and in zoos that means day and night, often unseen. 2007 has
seen another impressive crop of newborns enter the world – and some are still
due. Currently 160 species reside though the total is unknown due to insect

Proud mothers are weaning Wolverine triplets, Asian Lion twins, a
Przewalski's Horse foal, Amur Leopard cubs, a Markhor kid, Mashmi Takin calf, a
spindly Goitred Gazelle (all rare), and a Rocky Mountain Goat kid. Keepers are
fingers-crossed for Snow Leopards and Dwarf Mongooses, which are due anytime
and may have made the news when you read this.

But breeding isn't one zoo, like everything else it's coordinated and
organized by computer. Korkeasaari is in many associations
where animal transfers are arranged among members – all of which are vetted by
specialist auditors to keep unworthy menageries out.

One is EAZA (European Association of Zoos and Aquaria) and Birds and Reptiles Curator Kirsi Pynnönen-Oudman
explains, "I know I don't need to breed Ural owls as there's no need. It's easy
with birds to take the eggs away and replace them with dummies."

Otherwise the female will keep laying. This is not so cruel: many eggs
are unfertilised as with this year's Bearded Vulture egg. Last year's chick
caused a zoological stir as it was Helsinki's first and uncommon generally.
It's now in a central European zoo.

When there's an organised breeding programme for a rare/threatened
animal, an ISIS (International Information Species System) SPARKS (Single Population Analysis and Record Keeping System) studbook is created with a world or European

Helsinki Zoo has the studbook for Snow Leopards, Wolverines, Markhors
and Forest Reindeer. The coordinator arranges placements in zoos where
males/females are needed and when to breed: all to improve gene pools.

"We had a Hyacinth Macaw chick in 2005 and we'd love to send him away,
but the coordinator said there's too many males and could we keep it for
another 6 months. It may then go to the Canary Islands to a large outside
facility there," reveals Kirsi.

There's a problem with over-active ones too  "The King Island Wallabies are doing too
well, I have 9 joeys and I must find new homes for them!" smiles Kirsi.

Sometimes the only way to stop them doing what comes naturally is to
resort to human methods e.g. separation. The Brown Bear cubs are 18-months old
and still need their mother, so the male is separated from his family next

The opposite of course happens. The European Mink, rare in the wild, is
notorious – because the female is so aggressive. In 20 years, Helsinki Zoo has
never bred them, but now a solution is ‘at hand' from Tallinn which has 10
years experience with these furry little fighters.

"She's only receptive to the male for 2-3 days when on heat, otherwise
she can kill him. And this can only be known by taking swabs daily," explains

Their Chilean Flamingos are too few (16) to encourage the mating
display which is central to their breeding. One chick hatched 10 years ago, but
now mirrors in the den are trying to trick them into thinking they are more.

And Mother Nature has a mind of her own. A South American rodent, a
female Aguti, gave birth one day after flying in from Amsterdam. "Naturally she
wouldn't have travelled if it had been known she was pregnant," comments Kirsi.

And a junior snake keeper asked her senior colleague how many Tree
Vipers there were as she saw two in its terrarium. This snake had not seen a
male for 5 years, but snakes can retain sperm for when the conditions for
motherhood are right.

Weather affects them too with some rainforest species breeding when it
pours, thinking the wet season is starting. Hot conditions develop parasites
that attack newborn Northern animals with fatal results sometimes.

Why is Korkeasaari so successful? "It's easier to leave them alone,
maintain them as they are in the wild and not introduce unviable traits," sums
up Seppo.

Hand rearing is frowned on but a new programme for Ruffs will remove
all the chicks this year when they have hatched for 5 days. "They are difficult
zoo breeders and the first few days are critical. This will serve as a model
for all waders so we'll know how to breed the whole group," informs Kirsi.

Korkeasaari also serves as animal rescue centre for southern Finland
and will soon return the last 3 (of 5) seal pups found on beaches. Not to
mention squirrels, hares and lots of birds saved annually. Five Mexican
Axolotls (of 100) caught by a smuggler at Amsterdam Airport are also housed in
the aquarium section.

Helsinki Zoo has problems finding experienced keepers – but not people
wanting to be one: 1600 applied for 7 summer positions. With well over 500,000
visitors annually at €5/adult and €3/child*, it's one of the cheapest
anywhere – as part of Helsinki's policy of equality opportunity for anyone to
be able to see domestic and foreign fauna. 

*London Zoo £14.50, children €11

Melbourne Zoo AUS$22/11

Stockholm Zoo SKr90/40

Photos by Markku Bussman / Helsinki Zoo 

Cover story Misc

Olympics in a Finnish way

{mosimage}Finland is passionate about sports. In 1952, Helsinki hosted the Olympics and the city has organized the World Championships in Athletics twice. The country is also famous for its rally and formula one drivers, and of course, for its proud ice hockey team. But every year, during the summer, some other sports are more important. You might not have heard of them, but as you can imagine, these competitions imply the real Finnish spirit: mobile phones and sauna.


Mobile Phone Throwing World Championships

The mobile phones to throw are provided and you can even choose the best model for you. There is an area where you have to stay and the phone must land within the marked throwing sector. The official jury of the competition will accept or disqualify the throw. The jury’s decisions cannot be protested. Touch call! Good news is that there will be no doping tests, although all the contests have to behave their selves. The categories are Junior, Freestyle, Original and Team Original. For the Original category there is competition on 27th August. Winners from the national championships will be automatically in the finals.

25. August 2007 in Savonlinna.

Sauna World Championship

{mosimage} Sauna was invented in Finland and all the Finns have been sitting in there for all of their lives. In addition to Finns there are lot of thick skin people around the word and they are ready to take the challenge. The entrance fee for competitors is 50 euros and doctor certificate is needed. Even when Finns often drink few beers in or after sauna, alcohol and drugs are absolutely forbidden. Competitor has to sit and posture must be erect the whole time. Temperature is about 110ºC, in every 30 seconds half a litre of water will be thrown on the stove. The last person in the sauna is the winner. The rules are simple; if you can't stand the heat – get out of the sauna!

3. – 4. August 2007 in Heinola

Boot Throwing World Championship

Obviously Finns love throwing things. In boot throwing the brand of the equipment is essential: only four brands are allowed, including the classic Kontio boot from Nokia. The throwing style and the grip of the boot are free, but the leg of the boot must be straight when the boot is in the air. The throw is accepted if the boot falls in the marked area in time (in 30 seconds). This is the sport for everyone: from kids at age 10 to seniors up to 75 years can participate and for those taking this competition seriously, there is 2-day world championship with the finals. At least one thrower from every nation gets to the final.

17. – 19. August.2007, Harjavalta

Swamp Soccer

{mosimage} Swamp soccer has been the most famous summer event in Hyrynsalmi ever since 1998. The competition has been World Championships since 2000 and it is more and more popular each year and have made international headlines and involved thousands of soccer fans.

Some of the rules are obvious, like playing without a uniform top is not allowed. But there are rules differing from regular soccer. Because it is harder to play on a swamp than on a grass playing time is all together 20 minutes. The number of players per team on the field is 1 + 5. Each team must have at least 4 players on the field.

There are recreational, women's, mixed and business series teams. You will not be alone in the swamp: in addition to mosquitoes there are hundreds of Finnish and foreign teams with their supporters. 

12.-15. July 2007, Hyrynsalmi


Air Guitar World Championship

The Air Guitar World Championship was developed half by a joke at music video festival in Oulu in 1996. Ever since the competition has been success! The once so absurd idea has become into an international media event that attracts a wide international league of contestants and audience. This contest really rocks; it is hold in 17 different countries, all the way from New Zealand back to Finland. Air Guitar is all about surrendering to the music without having an actual instrument. Anyone can taste rock stardom by playing the Air Guitar. It is easy to get involved: just go to the website, register, tune your guitar!

Keep on Rockin' in the Free World! 

5. – 7. September 2007 in Oulu 

Wife Carrying Competition

The Wife Carrying Competition is held in Sonkajärvi’s and it has deep roots in the local history. In the late 1800’s there was a strong robber, who use to steal girls and carry them. Back then, it was not unusual to steal women from the neighbouring villages.

Nowadays wife carrying is a good sport and lot of fun. There are several styles and ways to carry the wife, but be careful and don’t drop her or otherwise you will loose points! The Greatness of the prize depends on the fact how great the wife is: the winner will receive the equivalent of the wife’s weight in beer and he also gets a statue with wife carrying motif. That is something to aim at, right? In addition to the strong and quick Finnish couples the competitors come from several other countries even as far away as from Australia and Japan.

7. July 2007, Sonkajärvi


Barbecue competition 

Finns love to barbecue and because the Nordic summer is short, they do it as much as they can. In August there is a barbecue competition held in the centre of Helsinki. There has been at least two months time to practise. Anyone can get involved and the fee is 20 euros. Everything is provided: the grill, food and even the hat. You can bring your own secret barbecue sauces and oils, if you like. The winner will be the one, who has the best style, who is the most creative and fastest. And the prize is brand new grill, fame and glory! This is the most delicious competition of all! Ready, steady, grill!

4. August 2007, Helsinki

More information about these competitions on the book:
Funny Finnish Pursuits
by R. Etelämäki, B. Maximus, A. Kmulainen.

Articles Misc

July’s jewels

July is a beautiful time of the year and
would be a strong contender if I had to choose a favourite month, although
December's not bad either. However, this year July is packed full of special
personal events that have made it one of the most anticipated Julys of recent
memory and is set to give the remaining months self-esteem issues that will
result in countless visits to the Seasonal Shrink.

The very first day of July marks the fifth anniversary
of moving to Finland in order to begin a new life away from the hustle and
bustle of the UK. In fact after five years I have yet to see any hustle, let
alone bustle, in Helsinki, so I can safely proclaim, "Mission
accomplished, so far." Personal landmarks, such as these, encourage the evaluation
of life and the progress of lifestyle decisions, but if you think I am going to
bare my soul to you guys and girls then think again you emotional vultures.

Okay, I'll throw you a bone. Upon my
arrival in Finland I was asked by my wife's family if I wanted a name day
because I continually complained that everybody had one, except yours truly. The
name 'Esa' was closest to mine and was celebrated on July 6th, a Finnish flag
day, so everybody pencilled it into their diaries, but the so-called luck of
the seventh month decided to bestow its fortunes upon somebody else: my

July 6th 2005 was the day my daughter made
her debut into this world and now my name day has been relegated behind her
birthday and Eino Leino Day, which really isn't poetic justice. After two years
of being ignored I have returned to the cynical opinion that name days are a
waste of money and are merely invented by card companies and florists. Call me
bitter, call me petty, but I really don't care, although I will convince my
daughter in later years that the flags are flying just for her.

July is month number seven, a lucky number
and, thereby, a lucky month to some, as I mentioned earlier. This year the
month is particularly auspicious due to an avalanche of sevens, with July 7th
2007 inspiring our imaginations far more than the horror associated with last
year's June 6th 2006 (666). 7/7/07 is also special to me because it is the day
my little brother has chosen to tie the knot with his fiancée and requested a
Best Man speech from me. Nerves, second thoughts and sickness will be on my
mind, but then again I can't worry about the feelings of my brother's fiancée
all day.

A family wedding, my daughter's second
birthday, an ignored name day, five years away from England, an aunt's 50th
birthday, my wife's uncle and his wife both turn 80, plus a good number of
barbeques with the prerequisite burgers, sausages and ribs washed down with a
few ice-cold bottles of lager, are all pencilled in my July 2007 diary… the
aroma of grass is also welcome.

Articles Misc

Acting out and about

I can’t lie
to save my life but sometimes I do get tempted to use my acting abilities
outside the stage, often in most dubious circumstances. Like once when I was
chilling out in a London park with a friend. I saw these twins enter through
the iron gates and the urge to act came upon me. They wore identical dark suits
that had seen better days, and, as proper English gentlemen should, sported oak
walking sticks. The choice of the colour purple for both their hair and their
socks suggested an eccentricity I’m hopelessly weak for. With rhythmical steps
they headed towards a park bench and sat down.

I was
mesmerised. I had no other option but to talk to them. I grabbed my friend’s
camera and walked up to them. I put on my most innocent face and rolled my r’s a bit to create the air of a
foreigner not used to the social code of the British Isles. I told them I was a
photography student from Finland making a project about twins and I asked if I
could take a photo of them. Without hesitation they posed for me in a way that
immediately betrayed a background in show business.

An hour
later when kissing the twins goodbye I had heard stories from the set of Wizard
of Oz and from singing for the troops in the World War II. They showed me the
steps of the musicals they’d performed in and reminisced about the good old
days with Lawrence Olivier. Before hugging me the very last time they told me
I’d make a lovely actress but advised me to stay well clear of the show
business. ‘It’s a rotten business, it is.’, they said in perfect harmony.

I did feel
guilty for my deceit. But then again we all enjoyed the little encounter and no
one was harmed during the scene. I think these delightful gentlemen had
pleasure posing for the photographer played by me and I have the photos to
prove that I once acted with these kings of show business, even if the stage
was grass fringe.

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Misc News

Headliner Amy Winehouse cancels Provinssirock

The British soul singer had already arrived in Finland on Saturday, but never made it to the festival ground in Seinäjoki. According to her manager she suffered such a bad throat ache on Sunday morning (17 June), that a doctor ordered her to go home and get rest.

Amy Winehouse was one of the most anticipated contemporary foreign acts of this year’s festival summer in Finland.

Young Finnish metal band Sturm und Drang took her spot in the festival’s big tent. Remaining performers on Sunday included Scissor Sisters from New York, fellow Americans Lamb of God and Finnish The 69 Eyes and Jonna Tervomaa.

Earlier the event had to put up with cancellations from British band The View and Finnish metal group Stam1na, who also had to pull back because of medical reasons.

Provinssirock is Finland’s biggest rock festival. This year’s other foreign headliners included Patti Smith and Band (USA), Velvet Revolver (USA), Tori Amos (USA), Aiden (USA), The Go! Team (UK), Flogging Molly (USA) and MUCC (Japan).


Amy Winehouse – official website




newsflash Don Johnson Big Band and Mokoma replace cancelled acts 

Misc News

Chuck Berry to play at Finlandia Hall

Misc News

Don Johnson Big Band and Mokoma replace The View and Stam1na

Provinssirock, Finland’s biggest rock festival, will take place this weekend (15-17 June) in Seinäjoki.

Many of the live performances will be carried on digital TV channel YLE Extra
(14 hours in total) as well as on YleX radio (Fri 6-9 pm, Sat + Sun 2-6
pm – listen live).



The View – official website
Don Johnson Big Band – official website

– official website (in Finnish)
Mokoma – official website

YLE Extra (partially in English)
YleX (in Finnish) – live stream

Misc News

Suzanne Vega’s Tampere concert moved to Lahti


Lahden Jazztori 2007 (in Finnish)

Suzanne Vega – official website

Misc News

Sofya Gulyak wins First Prize in Maj Lind Piano Competition

Gulyak won the finals with her interpretation of Sergei Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 3. She will take home the 20,000 euro prize mony that comes with the First Prize in the competition.

Second Prize (15,000 euros) went to Roope Gröndahl of Finland after his performance of Pyotr Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1. He was also the audience’s favourite. Russian Violetta Khachikian ended in third place, winning 10,000 euros.

Marko Mustonen (Finland), Yoonjung Han (South Korea) and Irina Zahharenkova (Estonia) took up fourth, fifth and sixth places respectively. They were each rewarded 4,000 euros.

The competition started on 24 May and concluded with the finals taking place on 6 and 7 June at Helsinki’s Finlandia Hall. The six finalists played with the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Leif Segerstam. Their performances were judged by a seven-member jury led by Gustav Djupsjöbacka.

Besides the top prize, 27-year-old Gulyak also won the Taneli Kuusisto Foundation Prize (1 900 euros) for the best performance of a Finnish piano work. She was awarded the prize for her recital of Joonas Pohjonen’s Bagatelles in the second round of the piano competition.

Sofya Gulyak originates from Kazan, the capital of the Russian republic of Tatarstan. She currently studies in Imola, Italy. In September 2006 she also won the Allegro Vivo International Piano Competition in San Marino.



> Oldest and biggest piano competition in Finland

> Arranged by the Sibelius Academy

> First international edition: 6 – 22 August, 2002
(won by Italian Alberto Nosè)

> First organized as a national piano competition in 1945

> Until the sixties open to students of the Sibelius Academy only 

Official website Helsinki International Maj Lind Piano Competition

Competition pages Finnish Broadcasting Company YLE