Emilia Lajunen Bike Tour

Tomorrow we ride – again

No, summer is not over and neither is this tour. Tomorrow morning we start a long ride first to Turku and then to Iniö. It will rain in the morning, and we will probably feel miserable.

But we know that after a few kilometers we get into the groove. We still have concerts to play, roads to ride and things to do. The tour continues – a week or so.

It is more difficult to leave, because we have been adapting to normal work schedule for a while. But, hopefully, it will be easier to be away. And it was easier to pack up.

Check out the concert list for more.

Split

Today we have to split. Emilia continues to Joutsa for a violin training camp with Suvi Oskala. Then they play a concert in Mäntyharju.

Kare has to take car and pick up our cats from Suolahti and go back to Helsinki to work. That is not fun.

Emilia’s bike setup looks aerodynamic, uh?

  

Hot day

When we meet people on the road they usually start talking about the Finnish summer that has been unusually cold and wet. Well, Finnish summer usually is cold and wet, but this summer has been a bit worse than usual.

 

 
From our point of view it does not matter. We are riding from one place to another, not trying to take sunbaths. The temperature has been comfortable for riding and there has been only three days of continuous rain.

Yesterday was the first hot, sunny day of the tour, and it took time to adapt. We felt lazy. Luckily it was only 168 km ride, so we had time to let ourselves feel lazy.

  
 

 

Now we are in Ilmajoki, which looks like a nice and wealthy little village in the middle of flatlands of southern Ostrobothnia. The local festival Spelit is deeply rooted to the soil and people. The area is full of groups of middle aged people playing together. Some of them may hopefully even end up listening to our concert.

 
 

 
  

On a holiday

  
 

 
 

We have been on a holiday in Keuruu for a week or so. Well, Emilia has been doing a music video for her band Suo and Kare has been doing some maintenance work at his parents’ summer apartment.

We have not given interviews, updated social media, ridden our bicycles or played the violin. And that’s what we needed. This tour has not been a holiday, even though it may have looked like a nice bike tour in Finnish summer.

But now we are getting restless. There is still work to do on this tour. Today we played a little, and tomorrow we will ride a long way to Ilmajoki.

Vieraanvaraisuudesta

Janakkalan konsertissa oli täysi tupa ja hyvä meno. Sen jälkeen saimme majoituksen kahvilan pitäjältä. Ajelimme kymmenisen kilometriä hänen kotiinsa, otimme pyyhkeet kaapista, kävimme suihkussa ja menimme viileään vinttikammariin huokaisemaan pedatuille sängyille.

Siellä älypuhelin kourassa koomatessa hiipi mieleen että otimme tilanteen liian itsestäänselvänä. Piti pysähtyä tuumailemaan.

Oma kiertueemme on mahdollinen, koska Suomi on vieraanvarainen ja avoin. Mitä tahansa pikkutietä voi ajaa turvallisesti. Kaikki talot ovat erilaisia mutta jokaisesta voi pyytää vettä. Jokainen paikkakunta toivottaa kulkurimuukalaisen tervetulleeksi soittamaan, uteliaana. Suomi tuntuu kaikkialla moninaiselta mutta yhtenäiseltä, kaikkialla erilaiselta mutta rajattomalta.

Monikulttuurisuuden merkitys avautuu jo kotimaata kulkemalla ja skaalautuu globaaliksi.

Tämän tuumailun jälkeen menimme kiittämään emäntää. Juttelimme illalla matkakirjoista ja oikeista matkoista ja elämäntarinoista. Oli hauska ja hyvä olla vieraana.

Memories

Yesterday we had two concerts. The second one was special. We played in Valkeakoski Memory Center, where lives old people with serious memory problems, caused by Alzheimer’s and other diseases.

We had an audience of about 30 people. The nurses told us not to play more than half an hour. Maybe we could have played more, at least the audience listened very carefully and intensively. It was great to see an old man react to the name of Matti Haudanmaa, a famous Finnish fiddler. It was great that another guy was moved to tears by the sound of nyckelharpa and talked us about it.

  

Afterwards we had coffee together with the audience. A smiling lady who sat next to us told us very nice memories about bike tours she made with her husband and another couple when they were young. They used tandem bikes that were made by welding two old frames together. The tandems worked fine and were fast. She said that she can’t ride anymore but it is great to have that kind of memories when you are old.

We hope our memories of this bike tour will stay with us as long and as colourful.

Now we are riding from Valkeakoski to Janakkala. It is a day to forget. Grey and rainy and cold with headwind.

About adaptation

Yesterday we played at Vihreä talo in Riihimäki. It is one of those great places where the owner has his/her heart in it, and you feel it when you enter. Riihimäki is a big town, and Vihreä talo is a small place. But it is the only indie place for any kind of indie happenings in the area. So it was crowded, which means that it was exciting but easy to give the concert. We had good fun there, and afterwards, with friends. 

Today we woke up at 5 am and rode 90 kilometers to Työväen musiikkitapahtuma (Worker’s Music Festival) in Valkeakoski. It was a tough ride in the rain, and we arrived just 15 minutes before our firts gig. It was in a mall with no stage, no crew, no nothing. Well, the bikes and violin cases make a good feeling of stage, and we just started to play. Strangely, it was ok. People stopped and listened and asked questions and some bought CDs.

  

After lunch we had another concert. This time it was in the (not very) central square. No crew, no sound, no lights, just a few planks for a stage. Well, it was not raining so we just started to play, and it was great. A good crowd gathered around us, listened, asked questions, bought CDs.

  

A few weeks ago we wrote how important it is for a festival to integrate with the local community. To play in malls and squares is never easy, and it is far from ideal environment for rich details of professional folk fiddle music, but it is important all the same. It is what we asked for. And it is a challenge, sometimes even a rewarding challenge. You just have to adapt.

Helsinki is different

Today at 4 pm Emilia will play tour’s only solo concert in Helsinki. It will be different for many reasons. We will have to ride only a few kilometers to get there and back, and we know all the people involved in the festival.

Hopefully we don’t know all the audience, but that is always a risk in Helsinki. There is so much festivals and concerts and happenings here during summer that audiences are kind of segmented. You can listen to music you already know you like. That is a bit boring, and that is also very different to the Finnish countryside, where you can’t choose. If you want to go to concert, you must go to the only concert there is, which means you may hear something new. That is a good thing.

Well, the idea of Puistokarkelot festival is that people who come to the park anyway will listen to the music, and that may get some new audience for the folk music also. We’ll see.