Tomorrow will be our first day off in almost three weeks. We have ridden more than 1600 km. We have played (and talked…) more than 15 concerts. We have given interviews and updated social media more than we can remember.
It has been great, but we feel… well, not tired, but kind of thin. The human mind is built so that it can achieve the goal but no more. The last kilometres to Emilia’s parents’ house in Suolahti felt heavy. Tomorrow we will eat strawberries, do nothing and stay in one place more than one night. That’s what we have been dreaming of, even though all the places we have stayed one night have been great.
Today we played at Jyväskylän Kesä festival. First a nice, small summer cafe concert that was not too well organized by the festival, but the sunshine made it worth it. And then a short session at the city center for a big crowd.
The biggest folk music festival in Finland is Kaustinen, no question. The whole music genre is there simultaneously. That means it is impossible to meet all friends, to play in all jam sessions, to listen to all intresting bands. Kaustinen is a festival of compromises.
We had good time and our biggest concert in Iholla hall was good. The acoustics makes it easy to play.
But the biggest happening was undoubtedly Antti Paalanen’s concert in Areena on a rainy night. One angry man with one loud accordeon made several hundred people dance like maniacs. We will soon edit some video material, it cannot be described in words.
After Kaustinen we have been riding south again, to Jyväskylä. Rain, thunder and too big roads, but also incredible hospitality that is possible only in the Finnish countryside.
At the moment we feel tired, mainly mentally. Lots of concerts, lots of media work, lots of learning. And lots of Finnish roads.
Kuhmo would be nothing without its festivals, especially the chamber music festival that spreads wealth and life all over the region. When you visit Kuhmo and its surrounding towns and compare, you understand that investments in art are really worth it.
This obvious fact may still go unnoticed, if the art does not directly link to the local community. In Kuhmo the local attitude to art and artists is exceptionally good, but during Sommelo festival we could sense a fine line in between. There is still work to do when planning a festival to different communities.
Sorry, nothing to tell, really.
Well, trailer’s wheel started whining after the rainy day. We had to disassemble the axle, remove the bearing rubber seals, clean the bearings and add some grease.
Emilia’s seat mast also slipped 5 mm, probably to compensate her handlebar that was raised 5 mm. It was easily fixed.
Ortlieb panniers seem to have screws that don’t like gravel roads. We have to check them every now and then. Our chains need cleaning, but we are still waiting some TF2 bottles to miraculously appear during roadside stops.
Healthwise we are doing well, no aches or pains. Long flat straights near Kärsämäki make you prone to mental issues, so you have to take gravel roads occasionally.
Kajaanin runoviikon molemmilla keikoilla oli hyvä, keskittyvä yleisö. Moni tuli kertomaan että runojen kuuntelu on niin intensiivistä puuhaa että musiikki helpottaa oloa. Kyllähän teksti on sujuvampi niellä sävelten kera. Runous ja musiikki olivat alkujaan yhtä, mitä niitä erottamaan.
Äsken runovartissa festivaalin johtaja Taisto Reimaluoto hoiti tuulisuojan vaativaa tehtävää.
Nyt ajamme Kärsämäelle. Siellä ei ole keikkaa. Johan niitä olikin seitsemän putkeen.
Imagine riding a Tour de France stage. With 25 kg of equipment. Then eat some soup, train two hours with a new band and play a concert with them.
Sounds tough, eh? That’s what Emilia did yesterday here at Sommelo festival. Kare did only a few hours of production work at hotel after the ride. This tour is fun but it is not a walk in the park. You need endurance, also to tolerate each other.
Today we had our own concert. The set is beginning to settle down, Kare is getting some stage experience and Pajakka Hall of Kuhmo House was an excellent place to play with good sound equipment and acoustics.
Now we are in Sommelo club and Emilia just asked Kare to fetch the violins. Some dance music is needed…
Last night Bar Kaiku was full of poetry, music and good people. Kare read some poems with locals, then Emilia played two sets. That was normal, but the contact with many people was special. The bar felt like an oasis of culture. Just an ordinary bar in Nilsiä they say.
Today we ride about 155 km to Kuhmo. That is a bit much but we feel good after a few easy days. At this stage of the tour we have only one speed left but we can keep it going as long as needed.
The Finnish summer showed its power yesterday. It was raining heavily before the concert. People did not disappear from Siilifolk, but took shelter under festival tents, that were quite far away from the stage. Kare has no previous experience in playing to audience that cannot be seen or felt, but Emilia took the audience anyway. And the sky was clear when we rode back to school.
A few local newspapers have covered the tour. We cannot link them, they are on paper…
Today we continue to Nilsiä and Bar Kaiku. They have a poetry night and Emilia will sing some runo songs.