Lullabies in Finland

It was cold, snowy, magical and beautiful when I landed in Vantaa for the March chapter of the Lullaby project. The white vista around me was both fascinating and bleak at the same time. The centre of Helsinki was as vibrant as ever as I wound my way to Stoa based in the lovely suburb of Itekeskus.

I was stuck by the changing cultural mix as we neared Stoa. The metro station Itekeskus is located within a shopping complex with a very multicultural shopping offer and this reflects the community around. The lovely Outi met me and helped me into Stoa’s accommodation located on the first floor of the vibrant cultural centre. The flat itself is spacious, nice and roomy with a view into the main road out of Itekeskus. Stoa is a cultural centre with a library, world class restaurant, theatre spaces and a children’s play space all of which attracts the local community to come and use the spaces. The restaurant has five stars on the trip advisor website which is deserved. The two meals that I had there were both delicious. The next morning I set off to see the beautiful Lullaby installation created by Outi and Alejandro at the Vuotalo centre where I was also scheduled to perform on the 5th of March. Once again a fantastic hub in the community. The installation had a wide variety of artists sharing lullabies and I spent an hour with Outi and Duncan in the spaces just enjoying the music and ambience.

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That evening I met my co-artists Natalia and Alejandro for the first time. Both of them are from Colombia and so I was treated to great combination of Colombian songs post rehearsals which were fun and interesting. The rehearsals were fabulous as both Alejandro and Natalia are intuitive artists who are very good musicians Day 3 started out with a composition session at the Metropolia University with the lovely Laura and her student team. After they had easily grasped some complicated compositions in difficult Indian scales it was time to lunch and go to the Sibelius Academy for final rehearsals.

For two days then I flew to Oslo to meet my lovely friends at the Ultima Festival and put the final touches towards planning the Lullaby installation and show in Oslo this September. It was great to go to NOTAM and sit by the frozen river and plan the sound installation as well as catch up with the super Gyrid on next steps. Watch this space!

5th of March was a clear and bright morning and after a nice lunch, Maggie and myself set off to go to the Voutalo center where the concert was being held. It as a fantastic night with loads of friends in the audience.

The concert itself was a remarkable experience where the lights and sounds came together beautifully and wove magic around the room. The sounds of the voice, harp and insects played around the room for 70 minutes and completely captivated the audience. It was gratifying to note that the concert evoked some powerful emotions amongst various audience members which was evident through the Q&A after.

Over the past year I have made some wonderful friends in Helsinki and continue to enjoy their company when I go there. Laura and Sanna at the University, Saija and Mikko who tried to take me skiing this time, Outi and Petra and Satu who I met in between all the musical play.

I am going back soon to make more lullaby. Until then zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.