Misc News

First comics Finlandia to ‘crying’ Milla Paloniemi

{mosimage}COMICS Milla Paloniemi has won the first ever Sarjakuva Finlandia, the ‘comics version’ of the prestigious Finlandia Prize. The creator of the popular Kiroileva siili (‘The swearing hedgehog’) comic was announced as the winner of the prize at the Tampere Kuplii comics festival, which took place in Tampere during the weekend.


The Sarjakuva Finlandia, worth 5,000 euro, is awarded to the maker(s) of a praise-worthy comic album. Dancer/choreographer Jorma Uotinen had the honour of choosing the receiver of the first ever Sarjakuva Finlandia. He praised the swearing hedgehog as a ‘lovely creature, visually shady’ and said that there was nothing dull, nothing ‘petit bourgiois’ about it. He added that Milla Paloniemi has courage and intellect and that she dares to take a risk.


Other comic makers and comic lovers were less enthusiastic about Uotinen’s choice. Some of the criticism heard was that the comic was nothing original and light entertainment.

Kiroileva siili started out as an internet comic. After it gained huge popularity, the hedgehog has appeared in the awarded comic album, as a newspaper comic, on cellphone backgrounds, T-shirts, mouse pads and even on a bankcard.

Paloniemi’s acceptance speech on Sunday was projected on a screen in comic form.

When asked what she will do with the 5,000 euro prize money, she replied: ‘Pay off loans. Boring. I’m saving for the time when nobody likes the hedgehog and me anymore.’

The comic album about the politically incorrect hedgehog has so far sold over 50,000 copies.

Kiroileva siili (in Finnish)

Sarjakuva Finlandia (in Finnish)

Tampere Kuplii comics festival
(in Finnish)

Misc News

Björk to take open air venue into test use

FESTIVALS / MUSIC Björk will come for the first time to Helsinki this summer. The small Islandic singer, who has been big on the world stage for many years, will perform in the capital on the 10th of July as part of this year‘s Helsinki Festival. She will take into test use Finlandia Park as a new open air music venue. Around 10,000 people are expected to attend the concert on the shores of Töölö Bay behind Finlandia Hall.

Tickets costing 69 euros will go on sale next Monday (21.4) at 9.00 via Lippupalvelu and Tiketti ticket services. To the price of each ticket one euro is added for Unicef.

Björk was scheduled to perform during the festival already in 2000, but had to cancel her performance. Earlier she performed in Finland at Provinssirock (with the Sugarcubes) in 1989, at Pori Jazz in 1996 and at Ruisrock in 1998.

Helsinki Festival 2008

The Helsinki Festival is this year organized for the fortieth time. This year the festival takes place early, from the 15th until the 31st of August. The first performances taking place under the festival banner, however, start already next Monday (21.4) with famous Romanian concert pianist Radu Lupu and on the 5th of May with the Berlin Philharmonic with conductor Sir Simon Rattle, both at Finlandia Hall.


Other highlights at this year’s edition of the Helsinki Festival include Seun Kuti, the son of Nigerian afrobeat legend Fela Kuti (1938-1997), with his father’s 15-member strong band Egypt 80 (16.8), award-winning Malian singer-songwriter and guitarist Rokia Traoré (17.8), Swedish singers Eva Dahlgren and Peter Jöback (15.8), Grammy-award winning American neo-klezmer band The Klezmatics (27.8), the Finnish premiere of Tero Saarinen’s choreography Next of Kin (27.8), and the premiere of Peter von Bagh’s new film Helsinki, ikuisesti (15.8).

For more information, check the Helsinki Festival website

Misc News

Finnish TV format wins international Emmy

The prestigious international Emmys were presented at a gala during the
international MIPTV fair, held this week in Cannes, France.

Staraoke is a cross-media format based on a karaoke-style game
that includes a console version (PlayStation 2), a TV show and an on
line game. In Finland, the TV show can be watched on MTV3. It also runs
on Swedish TV 4 and on Minimax in Hungary.

Misc News

2 Finnish winners, 4 ‘striking’ candidates announced

MUSIC  Two Finnish a cappella
groups have been announced as the winners of prestigious awards awarded
by the Contemporary A Cappella Society of America (CASA). Club For Five will receive the CASA Award for ‘Holiday Album’  of the Year for their Christmas album Rekiretki. Rajaton was even announced the winner in two categories: Folk/World Album (for Maa) and Folk/World Song (Nouse lauluni).
The CASA prizes have been awarded since 1992. Club For Five and
Rajaton’s albums are this year’s only non-English language prize

Meanwhile in Finland, the Iskelmä-Finlandia organization has raised a few eyebrows. It has announced rock artists Muska Babitz, Olli Lindholm, Timo Rautiainen and Hanna Pakarinen
as this year’s candidates. Iskelmä can be translated as schlager and
(pop) hit. The organization has announced, however, that it wants the
prize to be a commendation of a wide range of ‘light music’ styles and
that the name can be discussed. The winner of this year’s
Iskelmä-Finlandia is chosen by promotor Juhani Merimaa. The 10,000 euro prize will be awarded on the 24th of July.

Misc News

Stratovarius: the end

Timo Tolkki forms new band

One of Finland’s best known metal groups, Stratovarius,
is no longer. After a long time of speculation, leading band member
Timo Tolkki announced on Wednesday that he has pulled the plug on the
legendary Finnish power metal band.

He officially announced the split on his own website after
a long period of silence, citing among other things many and persistent
differences of opinion within the band.

Tolkki is forming a new band called Revolution Renaissance “to continue the legacy of Stratovarius“. The band does not have a permanent line up yet, but will release its first album ‘New Era’ on the 6th of June. The album contains songs written by Tolkki initially meant for Stratovarius.

Stratovarius was formed in 1982 by Tuomo Lassila, Staffan Stråhlman and John Vihervä under the name Black Water. Tolkki joined the band in 1984, the year after the name change, replacing Stråhlman on guitar and also taking up vocals.

After many successful yet turbulent years , with many internal
conflicts and different line-ups, the band broke up in 2003. Tolkki
soon afterwards was hospitalized after suffering a severe nervous

The band members eventually temporarily patched up their differences in 2005 and released one more studio album, simply called Stratovarius. The atmosphere inside the band just would not return to normal any more, however.


In a long on line statement Tolkki explains some of the tensions that let to the split and that he informed the other band members already in October last year that he was
"stopping the band". According to the guitarist, he had to wait with the
official announcement because of "legal reasons".

Stratovarius managed to put out 14 albums, with combined sales
totalling nearly three million copies. During six world tours the band
played over a thousand concerts around the world.

Official announcement by Timo Tolkki

Video: Stratovarius live at Wacken 2007, Germany
(The band playing the so far never released song Last Night On Earth. It was during this concert that Tolkki, left, dressed in black, "fully realized that this band [was] over".)

Tolkki's call for band members for Revolution Renaissance

Stratovarius: Official | MySpace

Timo Tolkki
Timo Kotipelto
Lauri Porra

Misc News

Sex Pistols and Elton John to play Helsinki

CONCERT NEWS Legendary British punk band The Sex Pistols will come to Helsinki at the end of the summer. The band will perform at the capital’s Jäähalli (Ice Stadium) on the 23rd of August in the original line-up with vocalist Johnny Rotten, guitarist Steve Jones, Glen Matlock on bass guitar and Paul Cook on drums.

Also Elton John, legendary in his own way, will head to the
Finnish capital later this year as part of his Red Piano Tour. The man
responsible for among others such varied hits as I’m Still Standing, Rocket Man, Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me and Candle In The Wind will play at the Hartwall Areena on the 1st of December. Tickets will go on sale via Lippupalvelu on Monday, the 7th of April.

Elton John last performed in Finland in November 2005. The Sex Pistols
played at a midsummer festival in the Finnish city of Lahti in 1996.

Misc News

Bob Dylan to play in Finland in June

CONCERT NEWS Bob Dylan will return to Finland later this year. The
versatile American singer-songwriter/musician will play at the Hartwall
Areena in the capital on the 1st of June. Tickets for the concert will
go on sale next Monday (31.3) at 9.00 via Lippupalvelu and cost 69
euros a piece.

The veteran American folk/rock/country/blues artist, whose career spans
almost fifty years, returned into the spotlights last year after the
release of  the unusual,  award-winning biopic I’m Not There, in which
six actors (including young black actor Marcus Carl Franklin, actress
Cate Blanchett and recently deceased Australian actor Heath Ledger) play
different characters based on Dylan during different stages of his life.

Last October also saw the releases of  the triple CD retrospective
album Dylan and the DVD The Other Side of the Mirror: Bob Dylan Live at
the Newport Folk Festival 1963-1965

Dylan, who is also a gifted author, poet and, of late, disc jockey, has
played in Finland several times before, the last time being in October 2003.
Since the start of his career, he has played over 2000 concerts, made
500 songs, and released 44 albums.


Bob Dylan

I'm Not There

Misc News

Turbonegro gigs cancelled – guitarist fallen seriously ill

CONCERT NEWS The Finnish gigs by Norwegian 'homoerotic death punk band' Turbonegro have been cancelled after the group’s guitarist Euroboy fell seriously ill. Also the rest of the group’s Volcom Tour has either been
cancelled or will be rescheduled. U.S. bands Valient Thorr and Year Long Disaster, the other acts scheduled to perform during the tour, won’t be coming to Finland either.

Turbonegro have so far not publicly given any details as to what  Euroboy is suffering from other than that it’s a ‘serious illness’. [full statement below]

At this stage there is nothing certain about any future replacement dates. Ticket holders can return their tickets for the gigs on April
7th at Tampere’s Pakkahuone or April 8th at Nosturi in Helsinki to
Tiketti or Lippupalvelu ticket outlets, depending on where they bought

The band have released the following statement:

Dear All,

Due to serious illness with Euroboy, Turbonegro will be unable to perform on the forthcoming European Volcom tour.

We will work on rescheduling the dates to some point later in the year.

Euroboy has asked that we relay to you that he is very sorry that he's unable to do the dates, and looks forward to seeing everyone later in the year, when he is well again.

We'll do our very best to keep everyone updated as to how he is doing, but would ask that his privacy is respected at this time.


Earlier this month [8.3.2008], Turbonegro announced that it had asked drummer Chris Summers to resign from the band, after he had been absent for six months “due to a damaged foot, personal priorities and a focus on other projects”. He  was officially replaced by former The Yum Yums and The Wonderfools drummer Tomas ‘Caddy’ Dahl, who had been filling in for Summers at 60 gigs already.


Album review: Turbonegro – Retox

Turbonegro: Official website | MySpace

Volcom [Volcom Entertainment]

Valient Thorr: Official website | MySpace
Year Long Disaster: Official website | MySpace

Tomas Dahl: MySpace

Misc News

Hannes Heikura Press photographer of the Year

Hannes Heikura Press photographer of the Ýear

PHOTOGRAPHY Helsingin Sanomat photographer Hannes Heikura has been chosen Finnish Press photographer of the Year 2007. His photo, taken from a helicopter, of a boat sailing through a thick layer of blue-green algae in the Gulf of Finland was voted Press photo of the Year.

The picture is part of a series of ten taken in different parts of the world, with subjects ranging from weather phenomena in Finland to a poppy field in Afghanistan. It also got an honorary mention in the category News photo of the Year.

Heikura, who won the title Press photographer of the Year three times earlier (1992, 2005 and 2006), also won this year's public vote.

The jury voted a photo by Niklas Tallqvist News photo of the Year, one by Timo Pyykkö Portrait of the Year, and a photo by Jaakko Avikainen Sports photo of the Year. Freelance photographer Henrik Malmström is being awarded for the best domestic reportage. Aamulehti newspaper’s Rami Hanafi gets the prize for Foreign Reportage of the Year.

The year’s best press photos were for the first time chosen in Tampere. 111 photographers took part in the competition with over 2600 photos.

A selection of the best photos is on display at the TR1 gallery (Väinä Linnan aukio 13) in Tampere until the 16th of April. In May part of them will move to the gallery (Albertinkatu 16) in Helsinki.

More photos by Hannes Heikura can be seen at the Finnish Museum of Photography at the Cable Factory in Helsinki until May 18th.

Press photos of the Year 2007 (in Finnish, with info in English)

The winning photos by Hannes Heikura (Helsingin Sanomat – captions in Finnish)

All the winning photos (HS, captions in Finnish)

TR1 gallery
, Tampere gallery, Helsinki (in Finnish)

Finnish Museum of Photography, Helsinki

Misc News

Nightwish and Lauri Täkhä biggest ‘Finnish Grammy’ winners

MUSIC Nightwish were the big
winners at this year’s Emma-gaala, Finland’s equivalent of the Grammy
Awards, on Saturday (8.3). The symphonic metal band fronted by Tuomas Holopainen
took home the awards for Best-selling Album (about 110,000 copies),
Album of the Year and Metal Album of the Year for their comeback album Dark Passion Play, their first with new Swedish vocalist Anette Olzon. They also received the award for Band of the Year.

The second biggest winners were Lauri Tähkä ja Elonkerjuu. The Finnish folk(lore) rock band won in three categories: Public’s Favourite Artist of the Year, Pop Album of the Year (Tuhannen riemua) and Finnish DVD of the Year (Kerjuuvuodet 2000-2007).

The big surprise winner at this year’s award ceremony was former girlband (Gimmel) singer Jenni Vartiainen.
She snatched away two awards  (more than many better-selling artists):
Debut Album of the Year (Ihmisten edessä) as well as Song of the Year
for the title song of the album.

Rock band Apulanta and pop/r & b singer Anna Abreu,
who were each nominated in five categories, had to make do with one
award, although in rather good categories: Apulanta for Rock Album of
the Year and Abreu for Female Solo Artist of the Year. The award for
Male Solo Artist of the Year went to actor/musician Vesa-Matti Loiri.

Young rock band Sturm und Drang from Vaasa were chosen Newcomer Band of the Year. Pop / rock band Sunrise Avenue were rewarded with the Export Emma for their enormous succes in Central Europe.

Special Emmas were presented to Finnish singer-songwriter (and current Centre Party MP) Mikko Alatalo and to Finnish living rock legends Hanoi Rocks.


Album review: Nightwish – Dark Passion Play

Interview: Lauri Tähkä & Elonkerjuu

Album review: Jenni Vartiainen – Ihmisten edessä

Interview: Apulanta
Album review: Apulanta – Eikä vieläkään edes ole ilta

News: History made during Sturm und Drang performance

Album review: Sunrise Avenue – Live in Wonderland

Album review: Hanoi Rocks – Street Poetry
Interview: Hanoi Rocks

Emma-gaala (in Finnish)


Misc News

Fans cue for ‘kuoleman varjelukset’ at sub-zero temperatures

In downtown Helsinki, book chain Suomalainen Kirjakauppa had organized
a programme that included books, magazines, films, games and food, to
make the waiting circumstances a bit more pleasant. There was also a
line in front of the Academic Bookstore in the capital’s centre.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is the last part in the Potter saga. It was translated into Finnish by Jaana Kapari-Jatta, who also did the Finnish translation of the other six parts in the series. Illustrator Mika Launis is responsible for the covers of the Finnish Potter books.

Misc News

Fewer visits to Finnish theatres

Fewer theatre goers last year

THEATRE Fewer people went to see performances at professional theatres in
Finland last year. According to the Association of Finnish Theatres,
its member theatres lost over 81,000 visitors overall compared to 2006.
The big stages lost the most visitors.

The Finnish National Opera saw the biggest drop in visitors last year:
over 68,000. The second biggest decline was for the Helsinki City
Theatre: over 40,000.

Helsinki’s Svenska teatern and the Lahti City Theatre gained the most visitors (both about 17,000 visitors more than in 2006).

Most of the professional theatres in Finland, 42 in total, belong to
the Association of Finnish Theatres. In all, the interest and employer
organisation’s member theatres had 2.4 million visitors last year. Last
year’s drop in visitor numbers is part of regular visitor number
fluctuation, according the Association.

Association of Finnish Theatres


Misc News

Teräsbetoni to represent Finland at Eurovision Song Contest

EUROVISION 2008 Melodic metal band Teräsbetoni will represent Finland at this year’s Eurovision Song Contest. Their Finnish-language song ‘Missä miehet ratsastaa
won 38.9 percent of the viewers’ votes in the so-called ‘super final’.

In this last stage in the two-part final, held at the Kulttuuritalo in
Helsinki on Saturday night (1.3),  the three candidates who got the
most votes in the final-of-14, competed.

Finnish crooner Kari Tapio came in second with 33.9 percent of the votes cast , with near-drag act Cristal Snow ending in third place with 26.5 percent.

The winning song was written, composed and arranged by Teräsbetoni's bass guitarist and vocalist J(arkko) Ahola.

Watch the winning performance [YLE Areena]

Misc News

Second KISS concert, Def Leppard date changes

concert in Helsinki has been confirmed after tickets for the first gig
on the 28th of May sold out in record time on Tuesday. The rock band
led by Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley will come to
Finland one day earlier in order to also perform on the 27th of May.
Ticket sales for the extra gig at the Hartwall Areena will start next
Monday (3.3), via Lippupalvelu.

The Helsinki concert by Def Leppard, which had been
scheduled to take place on the same date, has been moved forward to the
4th of June. As a consequence, tickets for the gig at the Ice Stadium
(Jäähalli) will go on sale one week later than initially planned, on
Monday the 10th of March, also via Lippupalvelu outlets.


KISS tickets sold out in record time

Misc News

KISS tickets sold out in record time

Concert organizers started negotiating a possible second gig in Finland for the American rock group right away.

second concert has been confirmed. KISS will come to Finland one day
earlier in order to also perform on the 27th of May. Ticket sales for
the added gig will start next Monday (3.3), also via Lippupalvelu.

KISS celebrates its 35th anniversary with an enormous European tour.
The  KISS Alive 35 Tour spans 17 European countries and includes major
festivals and first-time performances in St. Petersburg, Moscow and


KISS (a)live in Helsinki in May

KISS: Official site | MySpace

More foreign acts performing in Finland: Coming to Finland