If I’m not incorrect, I believe today’s artist is the first from the country of Finland that I have covered on this challenge so far. The Finnish language has always been super fascinating to me, in that it looks and sounds unlike any other language out there, but I’m relatively unfamiliar with the music of the country. Evidently, though, Juha Vainio seems to be one of the most prominent and prolific singer-songwriters of the nation, with lyrics and penmanship to over 2,400 songs to his name. Although most of these songs were performed by others, he also had a pretty notable solo career of his own, with a combination of novelty songs, pop tunes, and ballads. While the peak of his songwriting career was around the 60s, his recording career peak came in the following decade, where he also tried out his hand at composing his own recordings. Sadly, Vainio passed away in 1990 at age 52; since then, however, his legacy has proved to have a continued relevance throughout the world of Finnish popular music, all the way to the present.
… Yeah. So, this is yet another song that has posed a problem for me – that being in the translation. As I noted above, Finnish is unlike any other language I’ve ever heard, and as an appreciator of language and all its hidden nuances and contexts, its linguistic makeup is always so fascinating to me. With that said, this only means that I can make out absolutely none of the words of phrases present here. It lies just beyond the grasp of my education on languages! I ran the title through a couple translators, which brought up its meaning to “Shut the lid and goodbye”, “Cover closed and heard“, or some combination of the two – not exactly the best at clarification! I also know that one of the prominent words in the chorus is “pankkiiri”, which translates to “banker”. Once again, not very helpful.
Musically, this song is quite nice, though. It’s led by a medley of horns and mandolin that really amp up the traditional folk element of the tune, something I really like hearing in these international recordings from the 70s. Vainio himself isn’t all that bad either. For three verses and three choruses, his vocal delivery fluctuates from a playful folk demeanor, to a gruffer tone, to a smoother croon, to something a bit more nasally and weird. It would be a lie to say that this guy didn’t have personality – from this song alone (as well as others I’ve heard from him), it’s perfectly evident that he was something quite special. I just wish I had some semblance of a grasp on these lyrics, though. I don’t know if its one of his comedic pieces or a heartbreak ballad or something else entirely, and the fact that none of this information is available anywhere I look is quite frustrating. But anyway, considering Vainio’s prevalence in the world of Finnish traditional pop music, I’m sure that this isn’t a bad stepping stone to learning more about the country’s musical traditions.
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