It is with great pleasure that we at Eurovision Ireland wish our good friends in Finland a very happy Independence Day today. If they celebrate this anything like they do Vappu/Första Maj/May Day, it’s bound to be a heap of fun. Especially if Saara Aalto has anything to do with it.
Finland is always an enthusiastic participant in Eurovision, even if there are countries with better records. But let’s have a look at some of the songs that have represented the land of 1,000 lakes since their debut in 1961.
And 1961 is where we start. As YLE sat out the first five contests. They had a four-song national final and Laila Kinnunen won an expert jury vote to sing ‘Valoa ikkunassa’ (Light in the window). She managed a tenth place.
Moving forward we come to one of the fans’ favourite songs. Back in 1985 – the scientifically-proven best contest ever – Petri Laaksonen and Veli-Pekka Lehto wrote a song for the show in Gothenburg. It was, of course, sung by the mercurial Sonja Lumme and was the phenomenal ‘Eläköön elämä’ (Long live life). Sadly, the juries weren’t too keen on her performance (or the dreaded second on in the draw) as she only finished ninth. It was probably a case of any other year…
Of course, Finland always had the choice of two languages before the free-language rule came along. They have sung in Swedish on two occasions, so we need to pick one of those. Neither really lit up the scoreboard, but this gentle little song from 2012 demonstrates what Swedish sounds like, even if it did have an eastern Baltic accent. Here’s Pernilla Karlsson with ‘När jag blundar’ (When I close my eyes).
Prior to certain monster rock group won in 2006, Finland’s best finishes were literally at sixes and sevens. Of these best performances, I’ve picked this cheeky little song from the Stockholm contest of 1975. Back then, we briefly had the free-language rule so YLE’s representative took advantage of it. They sent Pihasoittajat which came seventh with ‘Old man fiddle’. I feel a hoe-down coming on woth Ossi Runne conducting.
Before we have Finland’s only winner, here’s one that I know our esteemed editor Mr Garrett absolutely loves. The year was 2014. The venue was Copenhagen. The group is the extremely young Softengine with the sublime ‘Something better’. It stormed through its semi-final and managed an eleventh place in the Saturday night Grand Final. It deserved better.
Of course, we have to finish with the unique monster rockers Lordi. We never saw the Mr L and his cohorts looked like without their costumes, and I think it’s better that way. The song won its semi-final at a canter and, as we know, beat a certain Dima Bilan into second, and Hari Mata Hari from Bosnia & Herzegovina (remember them) finished third. News reports abounded afterwards, allegedly showing photos of Lordi relaxing, but they were never corroborated. As a result of this win, Mr Lordi’s home town of Rovaniemi even named one of its squares after him. And there was rumour that the city would bid to host the event. This never happened, and we all had two weeks of Finnish style fun in Helsinki the following May. Here’s Lordi’s official video.
Is your favourite Finnish song amongst these? Is there an obvious one that should have been here? What are your favourite Finnish songs?
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Author: John Stanton
Source: Youtube, Eurovision Ireland