Markku Ato (67) has been awarded this year's Iskelmä-Finlandia, aka the most prestigious award for the "schlager" music. Aro is still very active touring Finland and entertaining people with his songs and making them to dance. His most succesful years were the 1970's what comes to recording amd making hits but his absense from the charts doesn't mean he hasn't been working:
"This is the first award I ever get. I have had ups and downs in my career but I have never been out of gigs. I have always kept high profile live and have been on the road with my a´band all these decades. People want to hit the dance floor and dance. That's still the real thing, where you can meet real people. It's not all online and in social medias. Ending the career will be difficult. I have spent sleepless nights thinking how to do it with grace. Maybe I will never stop singing but continue doing private gigs and concerts, instead of touring the dance halls" he tells in Ilta-Sanomat.
His career has lasted already 49 years and his repertoire was more rock oriented at first, and he also made a name as a soul singer with his somewhat "negroid" voice. He has recorded 22 studio albums between 1969 and 2013, and about a dozen compilation albums.
Previously other Eurovision veterams Marion Rung (2002), Jari Sillanpää (2005), Laura Voutilainen (2010), Pave Maijanen (2012) and Katri Helena (2014) have been awarded with this trophy.
In 1981 he tried to get back to Eurovision with Nisa Soraya:
He also participated in 1969, 1974, 1976 and 1979