Finnish pop culture

Last week we got in a discussion at work over coffee about the latest pop stars visiting Finland.  I learned how out of touch I am.  For example, I had never heard of  The Rasmus, a Finnish band which has taken America by storm.

But as I prepare to leave Finland for good, it has made me review in my brain how much I do know about Finnish pop culture. Here’s a brainstorm list:

Lordi — a crazy band that looks like a group of Klingons.  They won the Eurovision song contest a few years ago. Even my colleagues in the Middle East knew about them.

Leningrad Cowboys — another offbeat group, old hat now.  They also became famous touring America while making a movie.  They notably sang with the Russian Red Army Choir. I was reminded of them when my wife brought home a thick full color library book about them recently.

Kimi Räikkönen —  Formula One driver.  I wandered into the local sports pub on a Sunday a couple of years ago to watch American football and there was a huge crown watching this fellow win the championship.

Matti Nykänen — World-class ski jumper from the 1980s.  He hasn’t aged well. I don’t follow him closely, but he sounds like a jerk: married several times, a drunken sot, maybe the Finnish O.J. Simpson except without the felonies. He probably has his own reality TV show.

Karita Mattila — well-known opera singer. I don’t follow opera, but her face seems to appear on the grocery store tabloids a lot.

I am sure the list above reveals my ignorance. A big reason for my lack of knowledge is the lack of language skills. I never developed my Finnish enough here. I am better at it than when I arrived, but not becoming somewhat fluent is one of my regrets.

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