Don’t try this at home

This summer we are going to have the busiest gig summer ever. We’ll be playing at clubs and festivals all around Finland.

That means we’ll have some serious car-sitting to do. You might think some 8 hour trip in a boiling car filled with other musicians would be an exhausting experience. One you would’t like to do very often. But the truth is, I love it.

During the long winter when we were basically just writing sons (a new one every two weeks for a time that seemed to be eternity) and hoping summer would come back one day I found myself remembering the good gig trips gone by. The one we made to this little flamenco festival near Stockholm that other year. The trip lasted for 18 loooooong hours but at the end, practically with the help of no sleep, and with some beers, the place inspired the guys to play around some tunes which ended up being the theme of our song “Espejo”. We’ll always remember that trip.

The memory is also a good prep for ourselves when a simple Oulu-Helsinki trip starts to feel long. “Just think about the Sweden-trip”.

Every trip has its own little jokes, slogans even. There might be hours and hours of endless chatting about some stupid topic. Or sometimes about a really serious one. And lots of situation comedy. If you try to explain your spouse or your other friends back home what was so funny about that joke, it just won’t be funny. So don’t even try.

Gig trips are also a good reminder of what you keep taking for granted in your everyday life: sleeping in a real bed, eating healthy food, circulation in your behind, sweat free under garments…

I’m looking forward to this summer’s trips almost as much as the actual gigs. Even though it means a 100 hours of sitting. Crank up the heat!

-Anna

Dancing without limits

”Creativity blossoms when dancing flamenco” tells a mentally disabled young person about his relationship to flamenco dance. I just graduated to be a special education teacher and did my final work about mentally disabled children and young people´s flamenco dance hobby. I went to see their dance lessons and interviewed children and young people with disability. This is a topic that hasn´t been researched much and it was quite a challenge to find literature about this.

In my research, I found out that dancing was a really important thing for these people. They were really motivated for this real hobby. For many of them flamenco dance was the only hobby. It was an important social event with other dancers and they had found some friends from their hobby. I think in flamenco, the social part is a really important thing. It was also interesting to find out that those who danced in an integrated group together with normal children really enjoyed it. When you are dancing you don´t need a speech, which can help children who have oral problems, to communicate with other children with movements.

Dancing also has a really important effect on the development of motoric skills. Especially, in flamenco dance practicing motoric skills highlights.  On a dance lesson children with disability learned really difficult steps, for example Cross step which can be hard to perceive. Movements of mentally disabled children can be really elastic and vigor. It was really a joy to see them dancing and improvising movements.

Dancing and special education is a subject which really interests me. I think with dance you can help people that have special needs, for example people with problems with concentration or emotions. That’s why it was quite interesting to do this research. And of course I´m happy about my graduation.

Elina

Music Education is Sin

I do pedagogical studies. That means they’re expecting me to be a teacher one day. Let’s not talk about that.

As many of you may have noticed, I quite much do music. The truly horrible part starts when people ask you to combine these two. Teaching and music.

Often people assume I at least have a minor in music pedagogy and a great need to spread the joy of music among children. Dear me, no. I do have a minor in arts and drama, but the idea of teaching music never even crossed my mind.

When I went to school it was the deepest low of the 90’depression. The talk was not about which kind of electric guitars they should get to the school’s music class; it was whether they could buy each pupil a pencil for the next semester.

So basically we played half-eaten claves the first six years. (The teacher was good, though).

Moving on to the next school, the equipment remained quite much the same. Just the teacher happened to be an ex-want-to-be-musician that never had an interest on teaching and had also lost his interest in music. I hope for his own sake he nowadays has got thrilled about something.

When those seven years of music education ended, I finally found it. Having found music I got to know a man who taught me how to play guitar. I also studied flamenco dance and learned the rhythms. After that I just went on doing things. Mainly things I didn’t know how to do, but because they sounded good I did my best to make my thing sound similar. I experimented.

My musical quest began when my music education stopped.

So how the hell am I supposed to teach something like that to kids? Let’s say, the exuberance of finding music? I cannot help the pupils. I can only show them a direction where to seek. And it may be the wrong direction. Pointing that direction for them, I should always remember it might be terribly wrong and total crap. And you can’t walk into a classroom declaring that.

You should never teach something you love, in a school.

If you have a strong feeling of something, who the hell do you think you are to tell people how to form their feelings?

-kili

My Love Affair with Music

Sometimes it feels like playing in a band is almost like being in a love relationship with a woman. It has all the same ups and downs, same thrills and similar disappointments. Here’s my story so far. Read it and see for yourself.

When I was 14 I fell in love. It happened so suddenly. One average music lesson I was forcing my fingers to an E minor and the next I was already playing ”Viidestoista yö” to the whole class while they sang it. First ever relationship started with Mikko, however, and the band was called ”Endless Emptiness”.

We quickly gathered all other people required for a rock-band-marriage around us. Jealousy is a bitch though. Mikko soon started to flirt with heavy metal. I was even willing to accept the odd affair here and there but when he finally told us that he was going to choose ”the RMS” instead of ”Naked Grin”, it broke my heart. Luckily I still had Okko and Juska with whom we formed ”Dayrage”, but it just wasn’t the same. How I wish that we had stayed together! I guess we’ll never now how beautiful song-children we would have given birth to.

In my sorrow I wondered off. I was without a band for a long time.

Finally my scars were healed enough for me to place an add on muusikoiden.net. I was looking for another guitarist to form a band with. That spring was full of hope and surely enough Pete replied and we met up. The first date was electric. I told him I liked Rage Against the Machine and he told me he liked them too. We had a couple of beers.

With ”Below Me” I thought that I had found the group that I was going to play with untill our rock life would end at 27 years-of-age, but something got in the way. Pete was enchanted by a real diva called ”Peer Gunt”! He left us for her and my already weak heart was crushed once more. This time I got in defence mode. Even though I wasn’t the biological fateher of our song-children, as they were mostly written by Pete, I had grown such a strong relationship with them that I couldn’t let go without burning all bridges behind me. I left without even leaving a note.

Disaster followed after another. With My ex-lead guitarist Okko and his new bass associate Antti, we worked for two long years as “For tonight Josephine” only to be dumped by our drummer. However, It was this ground breaking companionship with Antti and Okko and a crush on another man’s band that got the fire started up again.

While I had been roaming around, Okko had established a well founded relationship with a mysterious flamenco-world fusion band caled ”Bajo Cero”. This is also how he got acquainted with Antti. I was so jealous I could die. I went to see them play live and pretended I didn’t care. I was trying to play hard to get I guess.

Against all odds I was asked to join the band and that’s where I am now. Love fills the air again. In every single practise we play it’s magic, and in every single show I get to feel the warmth of an amazing crowd. Just like 60% of all marriages in Finland that end in divorce, this band-affair has a lot of difficult times ahead but I’m sure that this is it. We’re going to make it!

And just like that I get a facebook friend request from Pete. Hessu, the drummer of Below Me turns 30 next friday and all of his ex bands have been asked to come and play in a surprise party in his honor. How could I resist? There’s never any real harm in a little flirt or an adventure? Right? I don’t even have to tell my current band…

-Juhani

P.s. All people and in this blog are real. To those people I’d like to say that I hope you are not offended in any way. I love you all!