We all know Helsinki rocks; that's a given. But to pigeonhole the Finnish music scene as nothing but one huge population of Laika and the Cosmonauts headbangers would be a mistake. While Finland certainly stands shoulder to shoulder with Sweden and Denmark when it comes to steroidal rockers, the country is full of other highly talented acts that have nothing to do with turning it to 11 and playing three chords at top speed.
Frida Hyvönen: the epitome of wintry Finnish pop. You can almost hear the razor blades being hidden in songs like "Everybody Hurts" or "Fall Is My Lover." Hyvönen isn't just a wonderful emotive singer, she writes 'em like the big girls. Her Silence Is Wild dropped on Secretly Canadian last November and clocks over 1,000 plays a day on MySpace.
Ninni Poljärvi: Violinist/accordionist currently on tour as a side player for Martha Scanlon and Kelly Joe Phelps. Constantly in demand in the studio in Finland, she also finds time to put out her own records with the Ninni Poijärvi Trio. Her 2008 album, Virta, sounds for all the world like a Buddy and Julie Miller record, and highlights Poijärvi's multiple talents as a vocalist, arranger, producer and writer.
"So Long Ago"
Band'o: English-language version of long-running Finnish family band Sillanpääs. Sisters Jemima and Selina Sillanpää blend folk and country in ways reminiscent of Patty Griffin and Shawn Colvin. These people have been touring constantly since 1995, and literally grew up onstage and in the studio. They've got chops and savvy to burn. Band'o, "So Long Ago"