It was a long ride from Helsinki to Turku, where we slept in an apartment of our friend’s friend’s friend. He was not home but we got the keys from his friend. Very friendly.
It was a normal ride from Turku to Iniö, except that we had to cheat. Iniö is an island, and we had to take a ferry. We are getting lazy and did not get a CO2-free row boat.
Iniö concert with extremely ad hoc PA system went well. The holiday season was at its very end, but there was a good audience at the local meeting point, Cafe Leonella. The owner of the place seemed happy with the business, which made us happy also.
After the concert a local nurse asked us to play next day in an old people’s home, and of course we accepted the invitation. It was an honor to play to the seventeen inhabitants of the nursing home, and it was a challenge to speak their native Swedish to them.
After the concerts we were offered a chance to spend a few days in a beautiful villa on the island. We have enjoyed that kind of hospitality and generosity a lot during this tour. When you ride a bike and play music there seems to be a huge amount of good people around you.
So we stayed there and watched moon waning, summer ending, autumn starting. We also visited Keistiö island and saw how Finnish archipelago has changed. On the small islands there is no one living and working. The fields grow nothing, shops have closed down, harbours are empty. The archipelago has turned into a summer holiday park. This time of the year it makes us a bit sad.
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.
Next thursday we will do this: Ride around Helsinki and play with friends. Not bad.
Hope you can join us. It is all free and fun and good for you!
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Friends, beer and folk music.