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J. Karjalainen in Olavinlinna Castle

4/27/2017 9:34 AM

Finnish artist J. Karjalainen is to end his summer tour with a concert in Olavinlinna Castle at 18 on Sunday August 6, 2017.

J. Karjalainen is one of the most popular singers and songwriters Finland has ever seen, and an artist who follows his own star. In adapting the American music tradition to a Finnish environment, he stands in a league all of his own, regardless of what treasures he picks from that trove. Time and time again, he has proved that the Finnish soul is equally in tune with blues.

J. Karjalainen began his recording career in 1981 with a number titled Three Cowboys – the first to impress itself on Finland’s collective subconscious. Next came Anchor Button and Heroes. Doris followed in 1985, and ever since then, the winning streak has been nothing short of amazing in its length and scope: Crazy, The Man to whom Nothing ever Happens, Telepathy, Wild Lupines, Where’s That Väinö?, Laura Häkkinen’s Eyes, Bloody Man, Past Man, Amber Room, Stindebinde and many other fine songs have etched themselves on the Finnish soundscape.

These songs have made J. Karjalainen a firm favourite with the Finnish people, and his popularity has continued despite his tendency to strike out in whatever direction his muse seems to lead him. Even the banjo odyssey in the latter half of last decade, with its accordion-playing boys of paradise setting sail on American-Finnish folk waters was both an artistic and a commercial hit.

So far, J. Karjalainen has released 22 studio discs, most recently For You, Sofia. The songs are classic J. Karjalainen rock and the musicians – Janne Haavisto, Pekka Gröhn, Mikko Lankinen and Tom Nyman, all familiar from classic 1980s and 90s bands – really make them sing. The musicians, mixers and photographers making the disc have been getting together ever since the early 1980s, regularly hiving off to do their own thing but always returning to the family fold. And the family has grown with each new project.