I had a look at the official music charts in Finland, you know, the record sales ones, where they tell you how many CD’s have been sold. Or whatever it is they’re selling nowadays, it seems I’ve lost the track of that, but some items are being sold and then listed, top to bottom.
For a moment I felt proud to be a Finn, as this week it seems that 16 out of the 20 first places were taken by Finnish records. OK, there wasn’t a single album there that I’d buy, but still – at least this crap wasn’t exported from far away, and we’re self-sufficient crapwise. Hooray!
I had to admit that this great feeling in the beginning was just a glimpse of a prehistoric man inside me, hooraying for “us”, for the victory over “them”. As I analyzed my feelings for about five seconds, I caught that old phrase by Marx in my mind and realized that what goes with capital goes with crap too: it has no nationality. Who cares where it comes from, if it is what it is.
But I did feel happy for a second.
And I still feel that we should be proud of our Finnish music. Every now and again there are records in the Finnish Top 20 that appear just out of the blue, and gain major success for music that, according to the music manuals, should have never been there. No-good-stuff, and never-gonna-make-it-people that have gone there and stayed there for decades sounding good. Material too hard to cathegorize and way too beyond to be corrupted.
And what more, it seems that (although this week the charts would not be boasting with artists that flatter my artsy sense) the long lasting great names in Finnish music quite often sneak in from the marginal and tend to drag their own marginal to the spotlight. They might get popular, i.e. people like them, but categorizing them as “pop” would be out of the question.
Take, for example, M.A.Numminen who should have never started singing (what he calls jazz). Or Sielun Veljet, who made thousands of people go wild with their organic rave music years before “rave”, and before “organic” was something people would be ready to pay for. Or PMMP,that is the top of Finnish charts every time they publish an album that does never fit the concept of a pop album.
Having this background it is quite obvious that we do what we do with Bajo Cero. Of course it is polyrhythmic flamenco-based world music in Spanish in a country where nobody speaks Spanish. A total sell-out! This is so predictable!