Värttinä concert for kids / Lunch with Joel / Music, no books

This morning I headed to Sellosali again in Espoo for a special concert by Värttinä. It was advertised as a concert for children. Nevertheless, when I learned about this second concert to be held the day after their evening show, I enquired if I would be allowed to attend. It isn’t every day that a Canadian fan can see Värttinä in concert and I will take any chance I get. The worst that could happen would be that the box office told me it was restricted to children, and adults, even faraway fans like me, could not attend. The concert hall staff told me that I was surely allowed to come, yet they wondered if I would like the show, since it was only half as long as the prior evening’s concert, and I would be in the audience surrounded by children. I did not find a problem with any of that and they’d save a ticket for me at the box office. I attempted to pay for my cheap 7 euro ticket last night, yet the box office wouldn’t have the children’s concert tickets on hand till the morning of the show.

I arrived early as I always do and hung around the lobby and then the kids started arriving in groups. Teachers led their classes in. Most of the children were around ten years old, yet I did see some teens and yes, there were a few adults as well (other than the teachers). The seating was general admission, and I was not going to deprive any child of sitting in the front row. I mean, I’m not exactly tall, but I towered over all the kids, so I could definitely see over all their heads. I chose a centre seat in the third row and I was indeed sitting amongst children. All the adults who were not teachers chose to sit up in the highest seats, so I suppose I was a sore thumb among an audience of pinkies.

The concert started two minutes after 10.00 and was fifty minutes long. Yesterday’s encore song, “Seelinnikoi”, was not sung after a short break. The jam in “Varrii ompi zaijuvesj” was not as long as yesterday night. The song lists on the stage floor were exactly the same as last night’s, so the songs I recorded are from memory. Note the a cappella song “Aitara”, which was not performed last night:

Tuuterin tyttäret
Matalii ja mustii, which blended into
Karoliina Kantelainen, Matti Laitinen, Matti Kallio and Lassi Logrén described their instruments to the audience
Kiri (instrumental)
Varrii ompi zaijuvesj

The band did not come out to greet the audience. I thought that they might, since the audience was particularly special, but I knew the band had to be on the road to Lappeenranta, because they had a concert there that evening. Last night Mari Kaasinen asked if I was going to that show as well, but I said I wasn’t, since there weren’t trains back to Helsinki that late (i.e., none after the show ended at 21.00).

It was now 11.00 and I had lots of time to visit the library at Sellosali. It was so open in its design that I did not feel I could be conspicuous enough to take photographs. I always ask if I can take photos in foreign libraries (since in my own library there are such restrictions) and the staff always look at me oddly, telling me that the library was a public place, so of course I could take pictures. Although in today’s society people photograph everything: their meals, themselves (always badly; remember: there is no such thing as a good selfie) I did not feel comfortable snapping pics in the library since I was so exposed. I did pick up a stack (yes, there will be enough for everybody) of brochures about the new Central Library under construction in Helsinki. The brochure has several architect’s impressions. It’s all in Finnish, but my library colleagues especially will love what the architecture-rich city of Helsinki is going to build as its new Central Library.

From the concert I headed to Trattoria Sogno, a restaurant on Töölöntorinkatu, for a lunch date with Joel Melasniemi. Joel is the guitarist with Scandinavian Music Group and was also in Ultra Bra, one of Finland’s most successful bands. We last saw each other in 2004, which is unbelievable. Twelve years ago and it still seems like yesterday. I was only a few steps behind Joel as he entered the restaurant. Joel now is married with two children, whom he showed me on his phone.

Joel at lunch after lunch

We talked over buffet lunch for a good two hours. Joel gave me some CD’s, all by Scandinavian Music Group: Näin minä vihellän matkallani, Manner, Terminal 2 (which features “Ei paniikkia”) and their latest Baabel. After lunch I headed to Global Music Centre on Hämeentie and spent more precious euros on a CD of songs sung in Khanty, a Uralic language, and a book with two CD’s sung in Skolt Sami: Son vuäinn: Skolt Sámi leu-dd from the Kola PeninsulaSkolt Sami is without a doubt the most orthographically complex of all the Sami languages. It features letters not used in the Latin alphabet and many of the other letters, including consonants, are accented. If you still used a typewriter, you’d spend a lifetime back-spacing everything to put an accent on. That book, incredibly, is the only book I have bought myself (so far) on this trip. I already have some Skolt Sami books and recordings I picked up during my 2007 trip to Inari. Then I headed to two music stores, Black and White Records and Levykauppa Äx, and caught up on my Ultra Bra alumni oeuvre, picking up the latest album by Vuokko Hovatta, Minä rakastan ikuisesti and two albums by Kerkko Koskinen Kollektiivi: their first which was self-titled and their second, very Chicagoesque in being entitled Kerkko Koskinen Kollektiivi 2. I also got another album by Kerkko Koskinen Yhteinen sävel / “Ei aika mennyt koskaan palaa“. The last CD I bought was (another) Christmas album by Rajaton, called Jouluyö. I have posted here that I am unable to type accented letters with this laptop, so I have been cutting and pasting all the accents you see in my blogs. This post is full of them, so I hope the final uploaded version looks all right. I can only pray that the formatting doesn’t throw the text sizes all out of whack.

Tomorrow I enjoy a day trip to Ekenäs, a Swedish-speaking town in southern Finland. It should be 7°C with perhaps some rain.

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