Melancholy and Distortion – The Finnish Sound
The music scene in Finland reflects the general status of the nation: no megastars on the international circuit, but take a closer peek and you’ll discover an interesting school of artists swimming up the mainstream.
A sense of longing and melancholy, even a certain element of gloom, has been characteristic of Finnish music since its early days. From post-war era singers to modern popular artists, Finnish audiences have never had difficulties identifying with heavy-hearted performers telling tragic tales of the trials of life.
From tango to rock
Tango, known for its fateful form of expression, has long had deep roots in Finnish music and dance culture.
The melancholy approach to making music is equally evident today in the various types of heavy music that Finland’s younger flock of musicians produce. HIM is the best known of our rock exports, with the more pop oriented The Rasmus and the metalheads in Children of Bodom and Nightwish following suit.
In the last decade, heavy metal has become household music in Finland with a radio station, a music fair and several festivals dedicated to the genre (Tuska in Helsinki, Sauna in Tampere, and Nummirock in Kauhajoki just to name a few).
Finland has managed to win the Eurovision Song Contest once, with shock rock monsters Lordi taking the prize in 2006.
Yo! Finland raps
Finnish rap music has risen from being considered humorous to a serious form of expression. Rap records have even won national awards, often getting critical praise for their socio-political messages.
The biggest hip hop event in the Nordic countries, Pipefest, takes place in the Himos ski resort in Jämsä, Central Finland. The Rentolava (translates freely to Chill Out Stage) at one of the longest running Finnish rock festivals Ilosaarirock in Joensuu is dedicated to rap and other rhythmic music.
Contrast is the main ingredient in Finnish cultural life, probably because everything looks and sounds different from our northern perspective. This may explain heavy metal music played on cellos and films almost completely without dialogue.