Friday, October 13, 2006

God bless Finnish music

Much of the music of Finland is influenced by Karelian traditional tunes and lyrics, as comprised in the Kalevala. Karelian culture is perceived as the purest expression of the Finnic myths and beliefs, less influenced by Germanic influence, in contrast to Finland's position between the East and the West. Finnish folk music has undergone a roots revival in recent decades, and has become a part of popular music. The people of northern Finland, the Sami, have their own musical traditions, collectively Sami music.

Modern Finnish popular music includes a renowned death metal scene, in common with other Nordic countries, as well as a number of prominent rock bands, jazz musicians and hip hop performers. Iskelmä (coined directly from the German word Schlager, meaning hit) is a traditional Finnish word for a light popular song. Finnish popular music also includes a large amount of opera and various kinds of dance music; tango, a style of Argentinian music, is also popular.

Nightwish, Amorphis, Waltari, Stratovarius, Kotipelto, Sentenced, Sonata Arctica, Children of Bodom, Charon, HIM, and The 69 Eyes have had success in European and Japanese heavy metal and hard rock scenes since the 1990s, and has been gaining popularity rapidly in the United States since the late 1990s. In the later 1990s the symphonic metal group Apocalyptica played Metallica cover songs as cello quartettos and sold half a million records worldwide. The recently retired Timo Rautiainen & Trio Niskalaukaus were one of Finland's most popular metal acts in the early 2000s, having risen from the ashes of late 1980s – early 1990s cult band Lyijykomppania.

Another band to enjoy recent commercial success is The Rasmus. After eleven years together and several domestic releases, the band finally captured Europe. Their Dead Letters album sold 1.5 million units worldwide and garnered them eight gold and five platinum album designations. The single "In The Shadows" placed on Top 10 charts in eleven countries and was the most played video on MTV Europe for 2005.

Most recently, the Finnish hard rock/heavy metal band Lordi won the 2006 Eurovision Song Contest with a record 292 points, giving Finland its first ever victory. The song they used was the controversial "Hard Rock Hallelujah" and they celebrated the victory with a free concert in the Market Square in Helsinki, Finland, on May 26, 2006.

Enough about Finnish musical history! Today I went to the first The Rasmus concert in Monterrey. It definetely kicked major ass. There was no opening act, a full adrenaline packed show. There were some funny moments, like when Eero wore a silly hat and hummed the Old McDonald tune and the one that touched my heart was when Lauri ran to take a breath from his inhaler. His asthma doesn't stop him. Hats off to the man.

I need a trip to Finland just to check out the local bands.
Who wants to come along?

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