Features Music

Iskelmä hero travels to Memphis

to Memphis and Graceland is a pilgrimage. It is the same trip he did many years
ago before he joined the army to complete his military service and now the same
trip has been documented by filmmaker Ari Martikainen in Yhden Tähden Hotelli (One
Star Hotel
), which opens in cinemas on March 2nd.


is one of the youngest singers of the 1970's “Finnhits” generation. Born in
1961, he headed his first band when he was 15, but would not make his big breakthrough
until 1992 when he joined the band Agents, which is an important part of iskelmä music.

Iskelmä is
the most genuine form of Finnish popular music. It is a style of melodic and
light popular songs, and the word means “hit”. Most Finns know the list of the
pop stars that kept the iskelmä tradition alive since the 1970s, with names
like Irwin Goodman, Frederik, Jari Sillanpää and Katri-Helena being some of the
most popular.




Along with
the documentary, the singer is releasing his third solo album, also with the
title Yhden Tähden Hotelli. The first
single is Yksinäisten Miesten Kanjoni (Lonely Men Canyon) and the album features a full-size
orchestra conducted by Riku Niemi. For his previous album, Onnenlantti, Jorma Kääriäinen realized a live-long dream by recording
in Nashville and at Sun Studios in Memphis.

Martikainen’s film draws a portrait of the different sides of the singer. The
movie follows Kääriäinen’s path from Lapland to Memphis, and to the backstage
of Finnish dance halls. It is a deep, although warm and humorous, analysis of
the traveling musician.

Agents have decided to have a break for an undetermined time, Jorma Kääriäinen
will tour Finland during the spring and summer with the orchestra of Riku Niemi.
Either attending one of his shows or watching the documentary is the perfect opportunity
to discover this one particular Finnish crooner.

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