Sunday’s jolly opening for main stage

04lannenjukka_mk02.jpgLast year J. Karjalainen released a record full of Finnish-American folk songs under the name Lännen-Jukka. The album was a success among both critics and customers. The Lännen-Jukka trio opened the Sunday’s program on the main stage. Besides J. Karjalainen, the harmonious trio includes the violinist Ninni Poijärvi and guitarist Mika Kuokkanen.

The group’s wonderful swing filled the main stage and the band appeared genuinely to enjoy performing for the audience. A pivotal part of the group is J. Karjalainen’s alter-ego Lännen-Jukka (Jukka of the West), whose singing and speaking voice is considerably throatier than is usual for J. Karjalainen’s own persona and music. As an amusing detail it ought to be noted that the first few speeches sounded a lot more guttural while the rest already resembled J. Karjalainen’s own speaking voice. Whatever the voice, the speeches were an important part of the show. In between the songs ‘Lännen-Jukka’ treated the audience with stories about the birth and background of the folk songs, about the times when Finns emigrants left for America in the hope of better living and adventures.

The gig started already at 2pm and therefore in the beginning there was only enough audience for the front of the stage. I noticed several musicians who had arrived to admire Lännen-Jukka’s performance - for example the guitarists Kie von Hertzen and Jaakko Murros. However, after a couple of songs the entire main stage area was full of people humming to the song Piupali paupali. Another highlight of the gig was Nancy & Sally which has also received a decent amount of radio play.

Text: Mikko Kupari
Translation: Hanna Laaksonen
Photo: Markus Korpi-Hallila