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Lordi Lordi Lordi

  10/04/10 00:12, by , Categories: BFMN Exclusive, Monday Morning Musical Musings, Paul Bourgeois, Bands , Tags: apocalyptica, culture, eppu normaali, finland, kiss, leskinen, metal, music, twisted sister
Paul Bourgeois

I moved to Finland in March 2005. Three months later I was married.  Nine months after that I had a kid. It was a heavy year for me. And all through that  Conan O’Brian claims he is the Finnish president’s twin separated at birth.  Massive change attacking my neurons, challenging my very concept of reality.  But what really shattered the fabric of spacetime for me, sent me spiraling into some sort of quasi dream-nightmare like warped space was when, in 2006, a Finnish candy costumed rubber-faced death rock metal band, named Lordi, won something called the Eurovision Music Awards.

 

Lordi

The Eurovision Music Awards began in 1956 between the participants of the European Broadcasting Union. This was the first time Finland had ever won Eurovision. It must have been the biggest thing to ever happen to Finland since Finland almost beat Canada at hockey a year before this.

I suppose it was a world event and Lordi ended up representing Finnish music to the entire world. Lordi, the main character, a rubber-masked ghoul like the rest of them, of course got invited to all the black-tie affairs like dinner parties at the president’s house. Of course. In 2006, to the world, Lordi and Tarja Halonen, the Conan O’Brian lookalike, were Finland.

The real shame of it is Finland’s actual contribution to music could never be realized, not through the costumes and fireworks and spectacle of a band like Lordi. Sure, Lordi has entertainment value, and Lordi might even be derived from a strong, honest, hardworking metal tradition within Finland, but Lordi hardly touched on anything musical or meaningful. The videos were reminiscent of 1980 American candy rock for teenagers, like Twisted Sister, and the whole concept reached back to groups like KISS.

Eppu Normaali

The musical guitar tradition which is in Finland, however, can be seen as far back as Jorma Kaukonen of Jefferson Airplane. And guitar was not only nurtured here to grow into massive groups like Hurriganes, Nightwish, Korpiklaani and Children of Bodom, but also bands such as Apocalyptica, a band which, for me, shakes the very foundation of music, which turns Metallica acoustic and inside out and show that the guitar is truly a stringed instrument, and there are bands which have been huge but so honest to the Finnish language and culture such as Eppu Normaali and Ultra Bra, that they will never be heard outside the country. And I would be remiss if I did not mention a multi-lingual genius such as Jussi Leskinen.

Now, one of the problems that Finland has, just like much of Eastern Europe, is alchoholism. Jussi was an unapologetic, unrepentant alchoholic. In the song “Fifteenth Night” he writes about a fifteen-day drinking binge, being unable to find love, and having the DTs. And I understand this is practically an anthem in Finland. Jussi drank his liver and himself to death.  In his song “You Can’t Get out of This Life Alive” he proclaims he would live and die out the way he chose.  And he did.

On The Waterfront

Eppu Normaali is a remarkable band, honest in expression and true to the situation of Finland. They are one of the first Finnish bands I ever heard. And they write purely in Finnish. You get the sense of Marlon Bando “I could have been a contender” only they never tried to compete in the world market. Eppu Normaali, more than anything else here, makes me want to learn Finnish.

They turn the Finnish language into poetry.

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