Monday, June 30, 2014

SOFTENGINE IN PROVINSSIROCK: FROM TENDING THE TOILETS TO SHINING ON STAGE

Provinssirock in Seinäjoki is one of the biggest Finnish summer rock festivals and has been going on since 1979. Likes of David Bowie, Iggy Pop, Marilyn Manson, The Prodigy, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Rammstein are among its performers over the years. This year one of the main performers was none other than Softengine, fresh from their Eurovision success with Something better and release of their follow up single Yellow house. They headlined the Rumba tent dedicated for new talents.
Lead singer Topi Latukka confessed before the gig they were more nervous than before Eurovision and that it is a kind of point of arrival, after Eurovision their future plans have concentrated only on this gig. 
But they didn't have to worry. The leading newspaper in Finland Helsingin Sanomat headlined the feature on them "Seinäjoki ate from their hands" and wrote (freely translated): It's worth remembereing the band comes just from there, Seinäjoki. Latukka introduced their Eurovision entry by "two years ago I was working here as a toilet boy, and now we are here on stage!" and got the audience wild. The tent had been packed hours before their performance with their fans who were acting as if on stage was a much bigger international band. But Softengine isn't very Ostrobothnian sounding band. Heavily inspired by The Killers with a touch of Kent, U2, Muse and Depeche Mode. They have technical and stylistic skills but the material needs still a little bit more personal touch. The band is also very solid, all members are fully into it proving once again rock is young men's game. All they need is a couple more killer hits and they could become huge. Also internationally.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

EUROVISION 2015: SINITTA IS READY FOR THE UK

There are always Eurovision wannabes in search of some self promotion in the low season and this summer 1980's discogirl Sinitta has thought it's as good a way to promote her apparent return to music scene since nearly 20 years shouting "I want to do it!"  We can mix it with her early career that does include a participation in the UK selection of 1984 with Imagination (4th), and her ex Simon Cowell who has declared he could fix it for the UK. And Sinitta was his very first hit artist! Could they join forces again and recreate the magic for the good cause?
Sinitta made it big in mid 1980's with hits like So macho, Toy boy and Cross my broken heart. Now she's about to make a come back in London pride with a cover of her mother Miquel Brown's hit So many men, so little time. (Another well known singer Amii Stewart is her aunt) In the 1990's and 2000's she's been more known for her personal life and reality tv, affair with Simon Cowell and being his assistant in X Factor 2004-2010 and still in two more editions alongside Louis Walsh. She has also started her own production company for new talents.... Her latest charting effort is from 1997 when she did an EP of The Supremes classics like Where did our love go, Stop! In the name of love, but ehm... Maybe that wasn't such a great career move..... (said by a huge The Supremes fan).
Anyways, this may remain just a summer rumor but this blogger has always had a little soft spot for Sinitta, along side all the PWL artists of that era.....

Sunday, June 22, 2014

DIMA BILAN BECOMES ALIEN

Namely Alien24 together with well known producer and DJ Andrey Cherny. They have been working on this project the past two years and Dima, a huge fan of electronic music, has written the music for their debut single Music is in my soul himself. Dima has had a very succesful career going in Russia for over a decade already but this new project hasn't really set the charts on fire yet. Time will tell if it will be another success for him or just a step aside from his solo career which this blogger is a fan. And Music is in my soul doesn't sound bad at all after a few listenings.....

Saturday, June 21, 2014

CONCHITA WURST IS THE PRIDE QUEEN OF EUROPE THIS SUMMER

Eurovision 2014 winner for Austria Conchita Wurst is headlining various European Pride festivals this summer. And she already did Zurich Pride. Among others. 
Next week (June 27) she will be taking part in the Pride festivites in Dublin before headlining the London Pride the day after (June 28). 
In July she will be present in Shangay Pride in Madrid (July 7) reuniting with her Eurovision collegue Ruth Lorenzo. They have confirmed a collaboration on Ruth's worthcoming album - will we get a preview already?
In August it's time for Amsterdam Pride (August 2-3) and a week later Antwerp Pride (August 10). 
She was present last year in Stockholm Pride and who knows she will be back there, too? Update June 22: Indeed she will be there for the opening day concert (July 30)!) And there's time to add more events to her calendar.

GAVIN MIKHAIL Vs SVERRIR BERGMAN - EUPHORIA

Following the amazing covers by Amos Lee and Scott Matthew here's another (already) pop classic getting the stripped down acoustic treatment, Euphoria by Gavin Mikhail. He's a Nashville based pianist, singer-songwriter and composer. This version underlines the fact Euphoria is not only hard beats and a club anthem, underneath there's a real song.
But he's not the only one having success with a this particular song. Icelandic Sverrir Bergmann and guitarist Halldór Gunnar scored a top-5 hit with it in Iceland at the same time Loreen herself was charting there. Which one do you prefer? Piano or guitar? And here's the original.

Friday, June 20, 2014

EUROVISION 2015: IT'S VIENNA, GRAZ OR INNSBRUCK

The selection for the Eurovision song contest 2015 venue continues. They were 12 but now ORF has already dropped five and only three cities and seven venues are still in the run. Or rather only three venues as well, as Vienna is running with five suggestions, only one of them being an existing one. So, unless huge surprises the venue will be either Vienna's Wiener Stadthalle, Graz's Stadthalle Graz or Innsburck's OlympiaWorld complex.
It seems Innsbruck (pictured above) is seriously challenging Vienna, as the complex would have basicly everything under the same roof or next door. If the rest of the necessary demands will be sorted out (hotels, transportation, etc) we might be off to Innsbruck after all instead of Vienna. The hall was built in 1963 for the 1964 Winter Olympics and it served the 1976 Winter Olympics as well. It could host around 10.000 people audience. Completely renoved in 2004 it's a part of the Sports park that consists other seven venues that could serve as Press center and who knows, also EuroClub?
Wiener Stadthalle was built in 1953-58. It has a overall seating capacity of approx 16.000. The arena consists of six halls and the main hall is often used for concerts. Rod Steward, Back Street Boys and Lady Gaga are scheduled to perform there still in 2014 and Miley Cyrus just did earlier this month. Vienna as city remains the main contender but will the venue bid lose it? Vienna would offer a lot of for the tourists and fans and would be a gracious host for the 60th anniversary edition.
Stadthalle Graz is a lot more modern than the other two, built in 2000-2002. Apparently in two floors and/or two halls next to Graz Fair also used for concerts, like Nena next month with special guest: Conchita Wurst!

AMOS LEE - LIKE A VIRGIN

Another fantastic stripped down version of an iconic pop song comes from Amos Lee. He did Like a virgin for Grey's Anatomy and it surely fits in the mood when Cristina Yang is dealing with her past and future. Amos is a Philadelphia born singer-songwriter who has opened concerts for Norah Jones, Bob Dylan, Adele and Elvis Costello, just to name a few. His fourth album Mission Bell debuted at #1 in the Billboard Top-200. His voice has been described as "honeyed voice – light amber, mildly sweet, a touch of grain" (New York Times), " folksy, bluesy vibe, with a bit of country twang" (ABC News). On the other hand he has been also dismissed as male Norah Jones. No matter what they say, his version of Like a virgin gives the song a completely new meaning and depth you never thought it had at first place. Check out the original here.

SCOTT MATTHEW - I WANNA DANCE WITH SOMEBODY

Nothing to do with Eurovision or anything but ... this song, or rather version is rather awesome. This Australian, now New York based singer with passion for ballads has made (among many other covers) a haunting version of I wanna dance with somebody (who loves me), from his album Unlearned (2013). For Scott Matthew the definition of the title Unlearned is to put something learned out of your mind. "you have to make an effort to forget your usual way of doing and considering something, so that you can learn a new way. The challenge is to gently remove preconception of what you have learned these songs to originally be." And indeed, he has stripped the original so bare it's almost unrecognizable until the chorus kicks in.
More about him here and here.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

WALDO'S PEOPLE: IINA SALIN REPLACES KAROLINA KALLIO

Happy news in Waldo's People. Karolina Kallio is expecting her first baby this summer. Iina Salin stepped into her place earlier this year and they have published a new video on Youtube today, You. And it sounds if time stood still. In a good way!
It seems they have working on new material, but for sure they are doing gigs and festivals again this summer! Tonight you can catch them in Kalajoki's midsummer festival and two more gigs over this Midsummer weekend that is chillier than ever. Beware of possible snow!
Check Out Waldo's back catalogue here.And their Eurovision 2009 bid here.
Oh and Iina? She took part in UMK 2013 with fabulous Last night. Unfortunately she didn't make it past semifinal but greatly deserved a final, me thinks!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

CONCHITA WURST - QUEEN OF AUSTRIA ON YLE TEEMA'S PRIDE

YLE is celebrating next week the Pride Week with series of Pride themed programmes all week long on YLE Teema channel and on other platforms. One of them is a documentary Conchita Wurst - Queen of Austria, that will be aired on Friday, June 27 at 9pm local time. The documentary tells how she became the symbol of tolerance and freedom, and what Austrians think about her, especially the poeple from her home village. We also get to visit her home village, her family and more. This said, I think it's the same documentary that has been doing rounds of internet already for some time. In that case we will also see her sausage one more time! For an old fart like me, seeing it on television always makes it a bit more real.... ;-p

Monday, June 16, 2014

EMMA MARRONE IN BRAZIL FOR THE AZZURRI

Emma Marrone will give a special performance in Casa Azzurri in Refice in Brazil for the joy of the Italian team in the FIFA World Cup. This takes place next Friday, June 20, and RadioItalia will broadcast it live in Italy at 22 CET. Earlier in the afternoon at 16 CET she will be interviewed for the channel. 
Italy started its adventured in Brazil well by beating England 2-1. Emma's performance takes place after Italy's next game (and victory) the same day against Costa Rica in Refice.
Meanwhile the Azzurri have dropped their Dolce & Gabbana suits and had some relaxing time on the beach while waiting for Emma.... Forza Italia!

RAPHAEL GUALAZZI'S HELL TOURING EUROPE THIS SUMMER

Welcome to my hell is the name picked for Raphael Gualazzi's summer tour 2014. I'm sure he's offering rather heaven than hell for his fans and admires across Italy, France, Switzerland and Netherlands. He has been busy since his Eurovision 2011 with Madness of love and his surprise 2nd place for Italy's comeback to the contest. Since then he has released two gold and platinum selling albums and one EP, participated twice in Sanremo and has been publishing new videos and songs and most of all performing live. 
This year he took part in Sanremo with The Bloody Beetroots and songs Liberi o no and Tanto ci sei. Liberi o no was voted to the final where they placed second after Arisa. 
His summer tour starts from Verona on June 26 and ends (for now at least) September 20 in Montecatini. In between you can catch him in Amsterdam on June 30, in Lyon on July 24 and Auvernier Jazz Festival in Switzerland on August 29. Full dates and info here.
The past 12 months he has been performing in Spain, France, Switzerland, United Kingdom, Monaco, Germany, Canada, Luxembourg, Belgium and Austria.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

JARI SILLANPÄÄ GOES POP AFTER GANGNAM STYLE SUCCESS

The ultimate tango king Jari Sillanpää is set to conquer the pop market when he releases his new album Rakkaudella merkitty mies - his first studio one in three years - on September 26, 2014. The first single Malagaan is already out. The album features some young and popular song writers being more pop oriented than any of his previous albums after the recent success with playing with various music styles from opera to reggae, heavy and pop. About this new single he says he first thought it was just too corny and he coudn't possibly record it. After listening to it a couple of days he thought it was amusing and he just had to do it. Indeed it's kinda silly.... yet, it somehow works.
Jari Sillanpää has managed to stay on top since his victory in Tangomarkkinat 1995 and his defeat in Eurovision 2004 or coming out in 2006 hasn't changed his status one bit. He has always been adored by elderly women in particular and now he may be crossing over to younger generations - has the time come when liking Sillanpää is actually the coolest thing to do since Cheek?!
Even if he hasn't released a new material since 2011 he has been all over the place and everywhere in between. In late 2011 he won the Syksyn Sävel contest with En se olla saa. In late 2012 he was one of the stars in the first season of Vain elämää, a reality TV-show that broke all records and produced countless hits, sold multiplatinum with its two albums and even sold out concerts. He covered  Nylon Beat's Teflon love, Kaija Koo's Kaunis, rietas, onnellinen, Katri Helena's (or Anne Marie David's Tu te reconnaitras) Nuoruus on seikkailu, Dingo's Sinä ja minä, Negative's Jealous Sky and most of all Cheek's Liekeissä that become a big hit. As a duet he did with Cheek his beforementioned En se olla saa.
This spring he took part and won another reality Tv-format, Tähdet, tähdet. Every week the artists perfomed in different music genres and one was voted out. He beat Diandra in the final. People just went crazy for his Gangnam style. Alphaville classic Forever young followed, that fits him like a glove. For opera he chose Mozart's Der Vögelfänger.... Pharrell Williams' Happy was next, followed by Dio's Holy diver, where he showed his dedication by cutting his hair just moments before the live show causing quite a media stirr. 
Boney M's Sunny performance was overshadowed by his golden trousers... A duet with Diandra followed, Up where we belong and indeed they ended up being the top-2.  Go the distance and Could you be loved came next proving he can sing any style really. In the final he performed yet two other songs, his own Euroviisut 1998 runner up Valkeaa unelmaa and Queen's Bohemian rhapsody. The guy's truly versatile......
Oh, here's a little bonus from his Liekeissä Tour: ABBA-medley! And what about this accapella tributo to late Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston and Donna Summer?

EUROVISION 2015: ITALIAN ARTISTS LINING UP

Maybe lining up is a minor esageration but things have really changed in Italy in the past few years. Eurovision was snobbed and even the artists seemed to be uninterested and unwilling to even consider it. Then we had Raphael Gualazzi and Marco Mengoni who broke through internationally, and Emma planning to do so. Nina Zilli kind of seemed uninterested really going abroad with her music, but let's wait and see when her new album comes out, who knows? After all she made herself known all over Europe in a moment.
But now we have likes of Laura Pausini, Claudio Baglioni, Zucchero, Eros Ramazzotti and others watching the show and tweeting and talking about it, don't even mention minor names!
This year Sanremo winner Arisa declared she would have loved to go to Eurovision right after her winning (but as we know, RAI did not use Sanremo as selection method this year. If so, we would have had another Sanremo winner to follow Marco Mengoni) and wishes to do so in the future anyways. Meanwhile she's enjoying success at home soil and working on some international collaborations and contacts....
Most recently Annalisa Scarrone has made herself available as well. She's the runner up of Amici reality show and has been to Sanremo and has a solid fan base and even OGAE Song contest 2013 with Alice e il blu. Her latest album has been also released in the Netherlands as she is featured ia a soundtrack of a Dutch film Toscaanse bruilloft with Tutto sommato, Non so ballare and Capirai. At the moment she's having a radio hit with her new single Sento solo il presente. Her new album is a collaboration with Modá's Kekko who also wrote Emma's Sanremo songs.
When asked if she'd like do Eurovision she replied: "I have wanted all my life! Do I need to say more?" Let's wait and see if her wish will come true. Meanwhile RAI has not made its plans known in  anyway but most likely Italy will be back in 2015 but who knows how the song and artist will be selected......

Saturday, June 14, 2014

EUROVISION 2015: THE VIENNA BIDS. IMPERIAL PALACES, HORSE TRACKS AND GRAVE YEARDS

ORF has made public the bids for Eurovision 2014 venue and in Vienna they are five, even if Vienna Messe is missing, one of the most obvious choices. However, Wiener Stadthalle where most everything would be ready to use is in (above)
Then we have Schönbrunn Palace that would give a nice imperial touch to the contest held in Sissiland. And would nicely follow the tradition of the 1967 venue, Hofburg Palace's Grosser Festsaal. Exactly how and where in the location the contest would take place is not yet know.... In one of its 1.441 rooms? The palace is already known from the Sissi movies, Bond's Living daylights and even Sophia Loren filmed there, as did Amazing Race in season six....
Then we have some even more adventurous bids, like Heldenplatz aka Heroes square, an open square. It's infront of the Hofburg Palace, the 1967 venue. But it's also known for Adolf Hitler's ceremonial announce of nazi-Germany eating up Austria. Hmm.....
But things are getting even weirder if possible. Krieau horse track, another open space.. It's from 1878 and Europe's second oldest one (after Moscow Hoppidrome) and has hosted concerts by Robbie Williams, Bon Jovi and others like that. Tents anyone?
But that's not all. Last but not least: St Marx cemetery park! Address may not sound very fitting for the 60th anniversary edition (or any other for that matter) but it seems there's an old covered market, Marx Halle that could become B&W Hallerne all over again.....
The other bids in other cities include Vienna International airport (Schwechat), Messehalle (Wels), Wörthersee Stadium (Klagenfurt), Stadthalle (Graz), Messezentrum (Oberwart), Freiheitzentrum (Unterpremstätten). 
And then we have the (only) possible challenger for Vienna: OlympiaWorld in Innsbruck.
Due some techical issues I will have a short break from blogging with few posts every now and then. Enjoy your summer! I will be back....

SOFTENGINE'S YELLOW HOUSE #1

Softengine has released their second single and follow up to Something better. The title is Yellow house and they already premiered it in Copenhagen's Eurovision if you happened to be present there. Is it something better? So it seems. It shot straight to #1 in iTunes! The critics and comments so far have been more than positive, and it seems the guys from Finnish countryside are in demand for bigger stages in Europe, Germany and Sweden first. Among their fans are Fredrik Kempe and Ricky Gervais. 
Lead singer Topi Latukka tells it's a story of a guy who sees a person  in a yeallow house in his dream. He sets to search for the house and the person without knowing if neither of them really exists. The chains and blindfold make it particularly difficult. It's a kind of a metaphora for a dreams each and everyone  of us should chase. Never give up. Like Softengine were the past few years in the garage doing their thing and believing in it - and look at them now!
Meanwhile the band is busy giving finishing touches to their debut album and having gigs all over Finland this summer. One of the most interesting ones is surely Provinssirock in their hometown, one of the biggest and most legendary Finnish rock festivals. The guys tell they have been there every year checking out the bands since they were allowed to go there - ehm, like the past two years or so. Ed.note - and now they are one of the main acts!

If you are in Finland this summer you can catch them live here:

13.6.2014 LeBonk, Helsinki
14.6.2014 PowerPark, Alahärmä
19.6.2014 Ravintola Dyyni, Kalajoki
26.6.2014 Jutajaiset Festivaali, Rovaniemi
28.6.2014 Provinssirock, Seinäjoki
1.7.2014 Siilifolk, Siilinjärvi
11.7.2014 Virittämö, Seinäjoki
12.7.2014 Aron Keidas, Kauhajoki
18.7.2014 Multiaista satoa – Nuorten konsertti, Multia
19.7.2014 Sotkamon Syke, Sotkamo
24.7.2014 Kuortaneen Urheilukenttä, Kuortane
24.7.2014 Kaupunginhotelli Ilta, Pietarsaari
25.7.2014 Työväen Musiikkitapahtuma, Valkeakoski
1.8.2014 Vanhan Paukun Festivaali, Lapua
8.8.2014 Hietskurock, Vaasa

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

HELSINKI PRIDE 2014: BREQUETTE AND JAVi SOLEIL

Hercules Club once again hosts some Eurovision related artists when on Saturday, June 28 EFN and DJ Ohrmeister are not only playing Eurovision favorites but also fan favorite Brequette Cassie and Javi Soleil will perform giving the Pride weekend a Spanish taste.
Brequette Cassie came close second in the Spanish final this year with Run (Mas). This blogger was especially taken by her outstanding performance and Diana Ross-esque hair. 
Javi Soleil returns to Helsinki after being part od D'Nash, the boynad that represented Spain that year with I love you mi vida. He's going solo now with songs like Ya no te puedo olvidar and EGO.
Helsinki Pride 2014 takes place from June 23 to 29. More info here
Hercules Club has something going on all week as well, like on Tuesday night Jari Sillanpää performing.

Monday, June 09, 2014

EUROCANZONE 2014 -THE ITALIAN SELECTION FOR OGAESC

Italian OGAE has kicked off their selection for the OGAE Song contest 2014 and it's as good an excuse to check out some new fresh Italian musicc as any. Here you go - who's your favorite? The cast includes Sanremo 2014 winner Arisa and Castrocaro 2013 winner Davide Papasidero as well Raphael Gualazzi. Many goodies here but I'm torn between Giorgia and Arisa. But also Moreno, Giusy, Biagio, Perturbazione.... Cremonini.... Syria.... great selection!
Greta - L'estate
Renzo Rubino - Per sempre e poi basta
Cesare Cremonini - Logico #1
Elisa - L'anima vola
Arisa - Controvento
Davide Papasidero - Adesso oppure mai
Moreno feat. Fiorella Mannoia - Sempre sarai
Raphael Gualazzi feat. The Bloody Beetroots - Liberi o no
Giusy Ferreri - Ti porto a cena con me
Patty Pravo feat. Ermal Meta - Non mi interessa 
Biagio Antonacci - Ti penso raramente
Noemi - Acciaio
Francesco Renga - Vivendo Adesso
Perturbazione - L'Unica
Syria - Odiare
Modà feat. Jarabe De Palo - Dove è sempre sole
Italy has won OGAE Song contest four times already: 1990 with Vattene amore by Amedeo Minghi & Mietta, 1993 with La Solitudine by Laura Pausini, 2005 with Da grande by Alexia and 2012 with Per sempre by Nina Zilli. 

Sunday, June 08, 2014

CAROLA AND OLA SALO IN SÅ MYCKET BÄTTRE

Vain elämää in Finland (more info here) and Så mycket bättre in Sweden. This 5th season sees Carola among the artists, as well as The Ark's Ola Salo and Orup along with Love Antell, Kajsa Grytt, Amanda Jenssen and Johan T Karlsson. It will be very interesting to see which Carola songs these artists will cover, and how she will treat their songs? Will she score a new hit like Lena Philipsson did with Laleh's Live tomorrow?
Carola already stole the show by having a pee in the nettle bushes during the filming.... Well, when in need sometimes the nearest toalet isn't close enough! That happened during Ola Salo's day when he decided to take the fellow artits to the nature to learn about all sort of edible things there.... I guess Carola is not so keen on nettle pancakes anytime soon.

TERÄSBETONI TO MAKE A COME BACK

Teräsbetoni, the band that represented Finland in Eurovision 2008 with Missä miehet ratsastaa, has been "off line" since 2011 with the exception of 10th anniversary gig last summer. They are about to do a one off come back this summer on the Magic Circle Festival of Manowar in Helsinki on July 26. Band's singer Jarkko Ahola tells in their website:
"Although Teräsbetoni was not supposed to perform this year, we had no option but to sharpen our axes and pull out the leather harnesses earlier than planned, when our band was invited to join the Magic Circle Festival of Manowar. Manowar is one of the hardest heavy metal bands of all time, and one of the reasons I wanted to be a musician at all. The evening will definitely be one to remember forever. Hail and Kill!" More info here.

CONCHITA WURST COMES TO FINLAND

Eurovision 2014 winner Conchita Wurst is headlining Serena Pop & Rock festival in Espoo on August 29-30, 2014. She will be performing the first day. The other stars are (so far) Jenni Vartiainen, Juha Tapio, Kaija Koo, Jukka Poika, JVG, Sanni, Anna Abreu, Roope Salminen & Koirat and Pete Parkkonen. Also Kasmir, Sini Sabotage and Tuomas Kauhanen will be present. More info here.

Wednesday, June 04, 2014

MARCO MENGONI #PRONTOACORRERESPAIN RELEASES

Here we are finally. Marco Mengoni is ready for the Spanish speaking market. This blogger was kinda expecting a whole album in Spanish but instead they have opted for the solution of including only the first three singles in Spanish versions. But there's something for the Italian fans as well: the EP inclusing the three songs in Spanish is released as well, including also a bonus track. Release daye June 10. 2014. :-)

CD #prontoacorrerespain for Spanish/Latin market

Un’altra botta
La vita non ascolta
I Got the Fear
Avessi un altro modo
Evitiamoci (La soluzione)
20 Sigarette
Spari nel deserto
Una parola
Natale senza regali

EP #prontoacorrerespain for Italian market including

Nunca se irà
No me detendrè
Nunca se irà (Acoustic Version)

Laura Pausini has been flirting with L'Essenziale as well, and last week she had Mengoni as her guest in televized special edition of her tour, where they did together Primavera in anticipo, in Italian, Spanish and English :-)

THE BEST SELLING ALBUMS IN FINLAND IN 2013. IS IT VAIN ELÄMÄÄ?

The numbers are out and nicely filling the summer gaps in the news. Despite the economical situation and the changes in the music business Finnish music seems to be doing resonable well, at least the big names. The unthinkable of doing stadium gigs is no longer unthinkable when Cheek will have two sold out Olympic stadium gigs this summer and nine out of 10 best selling albums in 2013 in Finland are Finnish and in Finnish. If we count in the compilation albums of Tv-series Vain elämää (Only life or rather C'est la vie) it's a top-11 finish for Finnish music.

Robin: Boom kah 83.446 (multi platinum)
Teen sensation Robin continues to sell. Album features hits like Boom kah, Erilaiset and Onnellinen. he has just released a new song for the summer (promoting the use of condom btw, already a tradition in Finland) titled Kesärenkaat. I wouldn't be surprised if that will be added to the album that will be resold with new packaging :-)
Cheek: Kuka muu muka  73.836 (double platinum)
Cheek's success also continues, helped by the Vain elämää success. Includes hits like Timantit on ikuisia, JossuKuka muu muka, Parempi mies and Fiiliksissä. he will be the first Finnish solo artist to perform in a sold out Olympic stadium in August. It was sold out in 71 minutes! Another gig was added and it sold out in.... 35 minutes! His popularity is immense.
Jenni Vartiainen: Terra  62.777 (double platinum)
Jenni proved she was not one album mega success babe and continued her string of hits with Junat ja naiset, Selvästi päihtynyt and Suru on kunniavieras. The media fuss around it as well as sales and radio play havent matched the success of Seili album though.
J. Karjalainen: Et ole yksin  44.584 (platinum)
J's comeback to the pop-rock scene was a success and the album features hits Mennyt mies and Meripihkahuone. He has been around and in top since 1981 as singer-songwriter.
Juha Tapio: Lapislatsulia  42.624 (double platinum)
Solid success continues selling platinum the day of release. Vain elämää surely didn't do any harm to his career either. This album includes Paremmat päivät and TSNEH
One Direction: Midnight Memories  36.182
The only non  Finnish album anywhere near the top sellers. Including Best song ever and Story of my life.
Haloo Helsinki!: Maailma on tehty meitä varten  32.594 (platinum)
They proved being the best selling Finnish band of the recent years. With hits Huuda, Vapaus käteen jää, Maailma on tehty meitä varten.
Suvi Teräsniska: Hän tanssi kanssa enkeleiden  29.921 (platinum)
First of Suvi's two albums in Top-10, this one is a cover album of Yö's songs, including a classic Rakkaus on lumivalkoinen and Särkyvää, featuring Yö's lead singer Olli Lindholm.
Erin: Sä osaat! 27.954 (platinum)
Erin is no longer "ex-Nylon Beat" and has managed to have a credible solo career that this second album only made more solid. And Vain elämää made her wonders, if someone still didn't take her seriously. Including hits Ei taida tietää tyttö, Toiset mimmit and Älä tule hyvä tyttö.
Suvi Teräsniska: Pohjantuuli 26.582 (platinum)
Suvi's second album on this list. Including her Syksyn Sävel winner Täydellinen elämä
Vain elämää - 2. kausi  97.220 (multiplatinum)
Vain elämää - 2. kausi jatkuu  82.847  (multiplatinum)
The two compilation albums of the season 2 of Vain elämää, where artists get together for a week, and each day is dedicated to one of them and other artists performs his/her songs. Cheek, Juha Tapio and Erin of these top sellers have already done it, and the rumor is Jenni Vartiainen, J.Karjalainen and Suvi Teräsniska are in the third series that will be recorded this month. The names of the artists will be published on June 9, but the specualtion in media is already running wild.... 
Bubbling under and just missing the top list are Lauri Tähkä and Vesa Matti Loiri, both also possible Vain elämää stars this season.... Check out the Season 1 songs here, and Season 2 here.More information on Vain elämää here.
(Numbers and stuff from this excellent blog.)

UPDATE: The artists for season 3 are out: Vesa-Matti Loiri is in (but don't expect anyone doing a cover of Huilumies), so are Euroviisut veterans Samuli Edelmann and Paula Koivuniemi. Paula Vesala of PMMP, Jenni Vartiainen, UMK judge Toni Wirtanen of Apulanta and The Voice judge Elastinen  complete the cast.

Tuesday, June 03, 2014

EUROVISION 2014 HITS 195 MILLION VIEWERS

The Eurovision song contest 2014 has already been proven a hit in the charts (not only iTunes but the physical charts as well), and the official Youtube channel broke all records this season with almost 90 million views during the final week. Also in social medias Eurovision was more present than ever.
Now the official viewing figures are out and also there's a rise of 10% compared to last year and in the 41 markets the show was broadcasted it collected over 195 million people tuning in. The average market share was 37,3%, more than twice the average prime time market share. The most enthuastic viewers were this year in the host country Denmark (89%), Austria (53%) and Netherlands (63%). United Kingdom with 45% share cored the highest share in the past ten years. The show has been broadcasted with success also in Australia, New Zealand and Canada. There's also a significant increase in the number of young people tuning in.
"These numbers show that the Eurovision Song Contest is very much alive across Europe, and that our audience is getting younger. This is crucial for the long-term success of the contest and important for the contestants," says Jon Ola Sand, Executive Supervisor of the contest on behalf of the European Broadcasting Union on eurovision.tv.

Monday, June 02, 2014

MEI FINEGOLD'S SWEET HARMONY

Beloved's Sweet harmony is one of this blogger's favorite songs ever, that always brings good memories from a happy period, and one night in Milan in particular in some crazy company, fast cars, weird club and having a very strange night in general..... But that's another story. 
Israel's Eurovision 2014 entrant Mei Finegold has teamed up with Shlomo Levi and Shay Rokach and recorded it for Evita's Pride Anthem. It's a far cry from the original's rather mystic and hypnotic atmosphere but surely works fine as a Pride anthem. 
This is not the first cover of the classic song, even Paola & Chiara had a go with its beat some years ago. Among others.

Sunday, June 01, 2014

EUROVISION 2015: ANDI KNOLL AND CONCHITA WURST TO PRESENT?

Eurovision song contest 2014 winner Conchita Wurst was quick to autocandidate to host the next year's contest in Austria and indeed would propably give it quite a boost and some needed glamour and elegance. She wouldn't be the first Eurovision winner in the job; there have been already Marie N, Toto Cutugno and Eldar Gasimov doing the honors the next year. With variable success......
Now Andi Knoll has put himself on the game, too. He looks on paper like a very valid and obvious option. He has been commenting Eurovision for ORF from 1999 and hosting the national selections since 2002. With Conchita they would make a handsome couple for sure, but unfortunately more often those who autocandidate themselves are not selected.....
Here's a flashback interview with Andi from Dusseldorf.

ARRESTS IN RUSSIA AT PRO-CONCHITA WURST AND GAY RIGHTS DEMOSTRATION

Russian police arrestd two women after a small demonstration for gay rights outside the Moscow mayor's office on yesterday. Women holding rainbow flags were escorted into a police car and taken away. Other gay activists, among them the leader of Russian gay community Nikolay Alexeev, drove by the mayor's office waving rainbow flags. Alexeev and other activists wore wigs to appear like Eurovision Song Contest winner and Austrian drag queen Conchita Wurst and played her winning song Rise like a Phoenix through the loudspeakers.
They didn't have a permit for the demostration but then it would be impossible to get one due to the new laws that forbit all "gay propaganda"....

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