Emilia Lajunen Bike Tour

Taas mennään!

Eihän sitä kestä olla enää ainuttakaan kesää tekemättä pyöräkiertuetta! Nyt kun toisen meistä pitää keskittyä lapsenhoitoon, Emilia houkutteli pyöräilemään vakituisen duokumppaninsa Suvi Oskalan. Kare seuraa mukana mekaanikkona ja lapsenhoitajana, kiskoen jo melko painavaksi käynyttä kärryä.

Kohteena on siis Saariston rengastie. Tällainen tiedote asiasta muotoutui:

Suomalaisen kansanmusiikkiviulismin huippuyhtye Duo Emilia Lajunen & Suvi Oskala konsertoi Saariston rengastien pyöräkiertueellaan seuraavasti:

25.7. klo 13 Turun pääkirjasto, Turku / Åbo
25.7. klo 19 Råttis, Parainen / Pargas
26.7. klo 16 Korppoon kirkko / Korpo kyrka, Korppoo / Korpo
27.7 klo 18 Saaristomuseo / Skärgårdsmuseet, Houtskari / Houtskär
28.7. klo 18 Snäckan Norrby, INIÖ FOLK
29.7. klo 13.30 Keistiö byskola, INIÖ FOLK

Kiertueen idea lähti siitä, että Saariston rengastie on muuten valmis matkailutuote, mutta elävää kulttuuria puuttuu. Niinpä sitä pitää viedä sinne, missä ihmiset kesällä ovat. Polkupyörä valikoitui duon kulkuvälineeksi, koska Emilia Lajunen teki kesällä 2015 koko Suomen laajuisen polkupyöräkiertueen, joka onnistui erinomaisesti ja tavoitti paikalliset yleisöt.

Duo Emilia Lajunen & Suvi Oskala esittää kahdella viisikielisellä viululla suomalaista kansanmusiikkia juurevasti mutta moderneina sovituksina. Virtuoottista musiikkia voisi kuvata myös kamarikansanmusiikiksi. Duo kuulostaa soittajamääräänsä suuremmalta, mahtuu pieneen tilaan eikä tanssittavuuttakaan musiikista puutu!

Uutuutena duon ohjelmistossa on yhtyeelle sävelletyt tilausteokset, joissa duon ilmaisu laajenee entisestään.

”En ennen tätä konserttia ymmärtänyt mitä todellinen duosoitto on. Heillä oli muusikkoina uskomaton yhteys toisiinsa koko keikan ajan.” – Veikko Halmetoja, galleristi ja taidekriitikko

”Itkin, nauroin ja ostin levyn. Huikeat mimmit, yksi elämäni parhaista klubikeikoista evö!” – Rosa Meriläinen, kirjailija

Lisätietoja, kuvia ja yhteydenotot:

Suvi Oskala
+358 44 301 3109

To be continued…

We actually did not stop bike touring totally. During the summer 2015 we had a tiny little passenger with us, very well packed then, but now that he is born, touring demands more cargo capacity.

We had some concert offers from Benelux countries for summer 2016, but the long travel there would have been the best way to teach our son to hate biking. So we have only made a few domestic gigs. On Helsinki Day in spring we demoed a new urban culture bike tour concept with Happy Guide Helsinki. And last weekend we performed with Panu Varstala’s Trash Heroes project in Porvoo street art festival Strööt.

1st of October we will give a short (but musical) presentation in VeloFinland about cycling as a brand tool.

And next summer we will come back… with a cargo bike, trailer and stuff.

How did we succeed…

(Sorry, this is a bit boring self-reflection from our report to Kone Foundation, but we copy-paste it here all the same.)

…in reaching our own goals?

Because we moved slowly by bike we:

  • Had better contact with people than ever before.
  • Experienced our own country and its different areas in a new way, in real-time, real-world.
  • Had a good story, and therefore had good media coverage for our music and message.
  • Had lots of intresting conversations about music and cycling in shops, gas stations, private homes and concerts.
  • Know what it was to be a vagabond musician in Finland hundred years ago – it was tough but great.

Yes, we reached our goals. In addition, we are happy with the concerts. Their structure and rhythm was solid. The music was spiced with short and fun speaks about the tour and the music. Emilia made some new music for the tour, and it worked. Kare surprised himself by playing with Emilia in a few (but not too many!) tunes.

We had good, different roles on stage, and our relationship and contact intensified the concert experience, we hope.

We are still married, which was one of the goals, and not the easiest.

…in reaching the audience?

It is impossible to say how much we had audience, because the concert places varied so much. But generally concerts were quite full, because of good media coverage and good festival organizers.

The most important thing is that the audience was totally different to the normal folk music audience of Helsinki. Finnish folk music got some new friends. We think that the most important concerts were deep in the countryside, outside the cities and big festivals, in local, small cultural spots. There were luckily plenty of those.

This tour was not only a set of live concerts, it was also a concept, an idea. That’s why people reached by traditional and social media must also be included in the audience.

…with media?

Kare was responsible for media. From the beginning it was clear that the tour will need two different media strategies. Traditional newspapers, both national and local, would be important for reaching older audience, especially in the countryside, for concert promotion and for the environmental message. Web and social media would be important for brand work and for reaching the audience that would not come to the concerts.

For traditional media Kare made three separate press releases. In addition to mass posting he personally contacted persons in media supposedly interested in the tour.

That proved to be a success. A two page article in Helsingin Sanomat, the biggest newspaper in Finland, gave a huge media boost in the beginning of the tour. Also provincial and local newspapers followed the tour intensively, by almost twenty articles with interviews, pictures and web versions.

We got pretty good coverage in radio and TV, with a nationwide concert broadcast, live interviews, features and news. Kare contacted also music, folk music and bicycle magazines. Their coverage was decent but not excellent.

For new media Kare set up web pages with all the necessary information, map and blog. There were over 14000 visitors in total, which is quite all right. The traffic increased after the Helsingin Sanomat article. The blog was active all the time, with proper posts, not just concert ads. Map and concert list were carefully updated in real-time.

Kare updated also Emilia’s artist account in Facebook, and there was big increase in likes and good increase in followers.

Our Instagram account got over hundred followers without any specific effort. Integrated with web and Facebook, it was the best tool to communicate the feelings on the road.

In total, the media coverage of the tour was a success.

…in saving the world?

We rode our bikes all the way. (Well, we took a boat to Porvoo when we were part of a bigger group in Art on Wheels, and we took a ferry to Iniö, because there was no road.) We spared about 700 kg of carbon dioxide emissions. Well, we would have spared the same amount by not eating beef during the tour. That is something to think about, and we thought about it in the blog.

But, of course, our main message was that you really can do something to fight the climate change – it is possible to make radical choices in your every day life, and enjoy it. That message got very good reception in concerts and especially in social and traditional media, probably because we told it in a positive way, not by warnings, claims and accusations.

With excellent media coverage, we think we did good job saving the world.

We noticed that we were pioneers in a bigger movement. The idea of CO2 neutrality is getting popular. For example, symphony orchestra Sinfonia Lahti is trying to be CO2 neutral in a few years. We have made our part in getting that movement going.

…in preparing for the future?

Due to good media coverage, the tour lifted Emilia’s brand to new level. Now she is known all over Finland as ”the fiddler who rides a bike”. A good brand is based on a story, and now she has one. It bodes well for the future.

Of course the bike tour in Finland was only a pilot for reaching out to the world. Embassy of The Netherlands already contacted us, and we have some plans and contacts for a tour in Denmark, Northern Germany and Benelux countries. Now we have some proper evidence what it can be.

Quite a lot of people from Finland have also contacted us and suggested some bike tour concerts in for example Kaustinen area and Turku Archipelago. Personally we are planning something for the Helsinki area.

It may take a few years, but it will happen.

Bike Tour statistics

Kilometers with equipment:

Kilometers without equipment:

CO2 spared:
700 kg

Public concerts:

Private concerts:

Articles in national newspapers:
24.6.2015 Helsingin Sanomat (two pages, 345 Facebook shares)
8.7.2015 Hufvudstadsbladet (two pages)

Articles in provincial newspapers:
22.3.2015 Keskisuomalainen
1.7.2015 Savon Sanomat
3.7.2015 Kainuun Sanomat
23.7.2015 Aamulehti
7.9.2015 Satakunnan Kansa

Articles in local newspapers:
10.6.2015 Itäväylä
1.7.2015 Iisalmen Sanomat
1.7.2015 Kuhmolainen
2.7.2015 Uutis-Jousi
9.7.2015 Pitäjäläinen
20.7.2015 Aamuposti
22.7.2015 Viikkouutiset
24.7.2015 Valkeakosken Sanomat
27.7.2015 Valkeakosken Sanomat
15.8.2015 Mäntsälän Uutiset

Articles in national magazines:
2/2015 Gramexpress
2/2015 Kansanmusiikki
3/2015 Kansanmusiikki
29.6.2015 Poljento (poljento.com/emilia-lajunen-pelimannien-renkaanjaljilla)

Articles in promotional magazines:
Sommelo Soi 2015
Keurusselän Seutu 2015

In radio:
9.7.2015 YLE Radio Pohjanmaa, news interview
21.7.2015 YLE Radio 1, broadcast of the Haapavesi concert
21.7.2015 YLE Radio 1, Kare Eskola’s program about the tour, 20 minutes
20.8.2018 YLE Radio Suomi, live interview

In TV:
8.7.2015 YLE Uutiset Pohjanmaa, news interview

Instagram #emilialajunenbiketour:
115 followers, 134 pictures & videos.

Facebook / Emilia Lajunen Fixed:
280 followers, significant increase during the tour.

Web / emilialajunenbiketour.com:
Over 14 000 views, 4300 different visitors. Referred mostly from Facebook, search engines and bicycle related web pages.

Video blog:
Five video blog posts in http://www.fmq.fi.

Running on empty

Satasoitto festival is not your ordinary festival. It is arranged by a group of warm, fun people, and the concerts were full. 

Maybe that’s why we got emotional while playing the last tune of the tour. Oh what a ride it has been!

But our ride home started in an ordinary way. First sunshine then rain. And we mean cold autumn rain that makes your fingers numb. We evacuated ourselves to Scandic Hotel Forssa.

This is not a special place to celebrate the last night of the tour. Not that we could. We are worn out by the kilometres and concerts and nights away from home. We are running on empty. But still smiling. 

Places to stay

The accommodation on this tour has blown our minds. When you go by car, you end up in stupid hotels that all look the same. When you go by bike, somehow you end up in every kind of strange, beautiful places.

So far we have stayed overnight, for example, in:

  • former nursing home
  • former school, that was renovated for hunting dog association’s happenings
  • splendid villa in Turku archipelago
  • open wilderness hut
  • small bar’s basement
  • old farm in the middle of turf production bogs
  • numerous private homes

All of them have been great, and made us feel welcome. All of them have been experiences that we remember. A tourist with his lonely planet guide will never find anything like them.

The next few nights we stay in an ancient farm by Kokemäenjoki river. The ”new” main building was built in 1912. It feels like we are visiting a very old and quite rich relative. But we have all the rooms, apple trees and buildings for ourselves.