Saturday, June 30, 2007

Hanna Pakarinen - Go go

Hanna's first single from the latest album Lovers wasn't Leave me alone but Go go. The video is very noir where Hanna plays a bit of a King Kong in the beginning... The song's good and the video's ok and Hanna looks gorgeous as always so check it out on YouTube!

Finland 1963: Laila Halme

The national final was won by Muistojeni laulu sung by Marjatta Leppänen/Irmeli Mäkelä, as you can read in the post below but YLE sent Laila Halme instead for some reason. Laila was in the final herself singing Olen mikä olen but Tamara Lund, the other singer, made it hers and evergreen. Laila was sent off to ESC and scored Finland's first nul pointer.

The year after she represanted Finland in Sopot with similar results. In 1987 she presented the Finnish final with Lasse Mårtenson (and if I may say so they both sucked big time!). She is still singing here and there occasionally but she hasn't left many traces in the internet or in Finland's musical heritage. Her son participated in several Euroviisut in 1980's both as a singer and composer without much success.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Marjatta Leppänen - left home twice

Marjatta Leppänen won the Finnish final Euroviisut twice, in 1963 and 1965 but both times she was left home! No, it's not a joke. In 1963 she performed the winning song Muistojeni laulu (and so did Irmeli Mäkelä as each song was performed by two different singers). YLE however, in its eternal wisdom decided to send Laila Halme with the song instead.

In 1965 she won again with Lasse Mårtenson penned Iltaisin, but YLE decided to send the runner up by Viktor Klimenko instead. And guess what? Both songs scored a big flat zero points!

Marjatta however is a very humorous personality and just laughs about the incidents when asked how she felt back then or now. "I was just a young girl and did what big bosses asked me to. Of course it would have been nice to go to ESC but it wasn't so important back then" she commented few years ago when publishing her self biography.

She participated two more times, in 1966 and in 1975 and presented the Finnish final in 1979. She has done a lot of TV and musical theater and can be called the closest thing in Finland to those so called "Show girls" that fill the screens in Italy and other southern European countries. A Finnish Raffaella Carra in short.

She is very well known and one of the founding member of the legendary UIT (Uusi Iloinen Teatteri) that prepaires a funny cabaret every summer in Linnanmäki amusement park in Helsinki and is televised later every year.

(In the photo Marjatta is with Sirkka Tälli, who may have been slightly inspired by Marjatta when creating her by now very famous drag queen image!)

Finland 1962: Marion Rung

If Finland believed in a big star in its debut in 1961 the year after we went to the other opposite by sending only 16 year old newcomer Marion Rung. Coming from a musical family (her mother, grandfather and uncles all were professional musicians) she had participated in a national talent show (2nd place) and won a Scandinavian one, yet she was still unknown hairdresser practicant when she was sent to Luxembourg and gained a respectable 7th place with her jolly little tune Tipi tii, today an evergreen.

She went on represanting Finland in Sopot Festival (7th place) the same year and in 1968 she won the Golden Orfeus Festival in Bulgaria and Special price by jury in Golden Stag Festival in Romania. She also participated again in the national final Euroviisut in 1967 and 1969, did TV-shows and restaurant shows singing in Finnish, Swedish, English, German, French, Hebrew and Yiddish, and becoming the leading lady of the big floor show productions. She also did theater and musicals, including Sound of Music.

Her golden era, what comes to scoring hits and selling records, would only come in the 1970's and in the 2000's she's still going strong and one of the most famous and beloved singers in Finland.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

BWO headlines Helsinki Pride 2007

This week is the annual Helsinki Pride week, celebrated in a rainy and chilly weather. A rich programme has been planned as usual including everything from foam party to serious seminars. The big show to end it all for another year will be at Vanha (ex-EuroClub) next Saturday and BWO will perform along with Christal Snow and Dj Orkidea. The ex-info point in Lasipalatsi for Eurovision is working these days as Pride info point. The parade leaves on Saturday from Narinkka (ex-EuroVillage) to Kaivopuisto Park (ex-err... nothing Eurovision related I'm afraid!) where all jolly people can have a pique nique before the night's party!

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Finland 1961: Laila Kinnunen

Finland joined the Eurovision Song Contest family in 1961 and was represanted by one of country's biggest stars, Laila Kinnunen also known as La Laila.

Born in 1939 she spent her childhood as a war refugee in Sweden and returned to Finland only in 1949. Her career started by winning a talent show in 1955 and her first recording, a cover of Domenico Modugno's Lazzarella in 1957 was a smash hit. More hits followed and by ESC 1961 she was a big national star. She later performed also in Sweden, the Netherlands and West-Germany and recorded in various languages. She also starred in several films and did a lot of television and represanted Finland in the Sopot Festival 1967.

She participated in the Euroviisut also 1962, 1966 (2nd), 1967 and 1969 (4th). Her career on top lasted only about ten years but during that time she recorded several evergreens and gained a respect and fame unmatched before by anyone in Finland. Laila's last recording is from 1980. Thereafter she retired from the scene and literally moved into the forests.

Her troubled life and sad love stories, alcoholism and all related gave the papers a lot to write about and scandals followed her until her premature death in 2000, alone and forgotten.

Watch legendary La Laila here:

Alice and Battiato - back together

Well, not really very recent news but I found this YouTube video from 1998, when they performed I treni di Tozeur together again 14 years after Luxembourg. Both have been singing the song and re-recording it in various versions on their albums but this was the very first (and last as far as I know) time since 1984 they sung it live togerher. New arrangement, less serious and still wonderful. Watch it here:

Riki Sorsa gives his heart in custody

Riki Sorsa, the Finnish represant in Dublin 1981, has conquered throat cancer and has released a compilation album of ballads in his career, including the title track Haltuus annan sydämein (I will my heart to your custody) he recorded shortly before his diagnosis. The cures took away his voice forver but you can listen to his unique voice on this album as well as another 2-cd compilation of his biggest hits released last year, including 3 of his 5 Euroviisut songs.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

The day after - party's over

The flags were being taken down.... but Hanna remained in the windows!

And with this I have finished this photo posting marathon. In a year also Belgrade is over if the dates May 22 and 24 will be confirmed definitive ones. I was ment to do this day by day while it happened but it just wasn't physically possible. And after it was all over the post-Eurovision depression or whatever kicked in and the last thing I wanted to do was to go though all these pics again. But now, it's all done, all is good and Helsinki 2007 is just a fond wonderful memory. Once in a life time experience. (ok, Finland may win again sometime, who knows? but there's only one first time, especially after all these years....)

After Party: Magdi wins an award

Hungary's Magdi won the award for the best composition, voted by fellow composers and authors and there was no sign of blues on her face! Christer Björkman rejoys with her.

After Party: Happy and satisfied men

YLE's CEO Mikael Jungner and Eurovision responsable Kjell Ekholm took the stage and formed a "I praise you, you praise me, we praise everyone" team. Heikki Seppälä was also seen wandering around all smiles, and so was Svante Stockselius (for some reason I didn't want to take photos of them. Anyone can explain that, please?)

After Party!

Food, drinks, friends, familiar faces... and so sad in a way! (And it all finished all too soon! YLE, EBU, City of Helsinki... whoever is responsable: Why you didn't apply for extra hours at least for THIS party??? People were still arriving 3.30am when they started shutting down! Leaving a bad after taste for everything else so wonderful....)

Winner's press conference

The winner's press conference was rather chaotic as expected so after trying to get anywhere near the desk I went to the working area and watched it from the screen instead, tired and relieved. And yes, the girls did sing Molitva in Finnish. The chorus at least!

Finally! The final!

It was time sit back and enjoy the show.... Nooo!! It was time to fly the flag instead of the camera and jump, sing along and scream! All well that ends well. Serbia deserved to win against all odds: a ballad in original language sung by not-a-beauty. Well done and congrats! See you in Belgrade!

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Katri Helena gets her moment

The very last one of the Finnish ex-Eurovision stars to replace Santa on the Big Thing was Katri Helena, the grand old lady of Finnish music. She remembered her participations in 1979 and 1993 and confirmed there won't be a third time for her. "It all has changed so much and to the better. I leave the stage to the young now" she said. Well, I personally think we could use a good old Katri Helena schlager again after all this rock!

Final Dress 3: Turkey, Armenia and Moldova

Final Dress 3: UK, Romania and Bulgaria

Final Dress 3: Russia, Germany, Serbia and Ukraine

Final Dress 3: Georgia, Sweden, France and Latvia

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