Samuli Putro

A Celebration of Life and Songs

In August 2007, Zen Café decided to take an indefinite break. Before this, they had become one of the most popular bands in Finland and had spent countless summers on the stages of festivals playing their numerous hit songs. One important reason for the success were their lyrics, crystallised in both form and contents capable of making critics praise and audiences sing along. These lyrics were written by Samuli Putro.

After the break with the band Putro started making new music – not so much to make an album as to conduct some sort of a multiform performance. In the end, he accomplished both: an album called Elämä on juhla (Life Is a Celebration) released in February 2009 and, following the release, a handful of performances performances in theatre stages.

And quite an album it was. The title song became one of the most stopping musical moments of last year. Furthermore, the fact that this song was chosen as the first single was a clear sign that this album was not made to fit in the money-making world of music business, but to challenge the listeners to experience and concentrate. The same intimacy and the messages of the songs are the core of the whole album. Helismaa paints a picture of a people who don't fit – nor care to fit – in the depiction of Finnish people as branded by PR groups. Hoidetaan kämppä Berliinistä (Let's Get a Flat in Berlin) promises that everything is possible. Älä huuda mulle (Don't Shout at Me) tells about the rapidly striking consequences of drinking using strongly realistic, yet almost funny depictions of events. And Mitäpä jos (What If) and Tuhkaa korulippaassa (Ash in the Jewel Case) lead to fundamental questions and alternative answers about issues such as love, ageing and the significance of the choices people make in the course of their lives.

The album was a balanced mix of great themes of life and small everyday issues that made the national identity, pizza and digital cameras all fit in the same package. The skillfully tailored songs came into existence in the gentle productional arms of Jarkko Martikainen of YUP, who gave the songs a touch that was subtle and rich in nuances regardless of the style of the song. The whole setting emanates a sense of soul and heart that were clearly present in the making of the album. A classic, and one of the most praised albums made last year – for a reason.

This celebration of life and songs is offered to you at Sulo Club on Friday. After the release of the album, Putro performed some gigs solo, but in the summer he will take the stage with Hannu Pikkarainen, Elina Katajamäki and Sami Kuoppamäki.

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Samuli Putro