The Tampere Flute Fest festival will be held on 24–25 April in the distribution of SemiLive and partly on Facebook. The festival program offers culture and art to everyone in the form of master classes, orchestras, and competitions. SemiLive interviewed the festival's director Beatriz Macías and producer Petri Mäkiharju.

– Tampere Flute Fest is an international online festival held for the first-time last year. Last year, Tampere Flute Fest was also planned to be held live at Tampere Hall, but when restrictions hit, it had to be moved to an online event. After the event, we had big plans for this year. The intention was to hold a three-day live event at Tampere Hall, but now the plans have changed, and we are organizing a two-day online event. Petri says.

The festival will be held on Saturday via Facebook in the form of master classes on Tampere Flute Fest's own Facebook page, and on Sunday the main day of the festival will be streamed in SemiLive's service, which is filled with a varied program. According to Beatriz, the festival gives flutists more interactive and global opportunities.

– Tampere Flute Fest sees international guests from all over the world, such as artists and teachers and young talented musicians. A big part of the event is the youth competitions, which have received a record number of participants this year and we have received hundreds of applications from around the world. Saturday, April 24, 2021 is reserved for master classes, some of which are held remotely on Facebook and we have participants from around the world. Petri describes Saturday's program.

– Sunday 25.4.2021 is the main day of the festival. We have collected highlights from the entire festival program and stream it from Tampere Hall at twelve o'clock to 8pm. The program promises e.g. a children’s concert, last year’s competition winner’s concert, and star guest Silvia Careddu, a world-famous flutist. In fact, she is the only planned foreign performer to be brought to Finland. Sylvia holds one of the master classes and has her own concert on Sunday afternoon. Sunday night culminates in a gala concert where the winners of the competition will also be announced. Petri describes.

– This year we have implemented two special events when Veera Degerholm, known from Pikku Kakkonen, will take part in the children's concert. We also have an all-Nordic inspired Gala Concert in collaboration with Top-Finnish fashion designer Jukka Rintala. Beatriz adds.

Tampere Flute Fest is an international festival that requires a lot of work but is also a welcome concept in the world of music.

– Organizing an international festival is extremely interesting and rewarding, even though there is a lot of work in it. But clearly there has been an order for such a festival and it has found Finnish people in the field, but also gratifyingly the international audience. We have received really good feedback internationally and now we have partners from major companies in the industry around the world. Without the support of partners, this festival would not even be possible. In addition to them, we have industry enthusiasts around the world as partners. There are local enthusiasts and flute clubs on every continent who have received really good feedback on the implementation as well as the idea, because during this time everyone misses live events and competitions. Now we can offer an alternative to these events and we want to offer it specifically as prime quality and professional, and not just as Facebook live. Petri says.

Silvia Careddu esiintyy festivaaleilla

The festival was also held last year, when the decision to turn the live event into an online event came quickly. Petri also urges last year’s attendees to join in this year.

– This year's event has been better implemented and we have learned a lot from last year. Of course, the festival also has new artists and new alleys, as well as high-quality competitions. As a special thing, we want to bring out children's concerts that are also suitable for the little ones. The festivals have something to offer from baby to granny and there is something for everyone in the program. It is also possible to buy just a part of the event if you do not want to buy a full-day pass. Petri says. Petri says.

– Even if you are not a great friend of flute music, you should participate. However, it is a diverse cultural event, so there is a diverse table setting and we aim to bring culture to home audiences in as diverse a way as possible. So, the festival is not only aimed at that one strict target group, but all lovers of events and culture are welcome to join. Petri says.

– Professionally streaming from Tampere hall, allows us to provide our viewers with a high-quality event. And, most importantly, it gives our audience the opportunity to truly dive into the stage with us and experience the same emotions they would get at an actual live occasion. With “state of the art” facilities, artists, and collaborators, we believe our 2021 Tampere Flute Fest will uplift, inspire and be everything our audience is waiting for! Beatriz adds.

Expectations of the festival are high for both. Beatriz expects the festival to make a unique, significant, and positive impact on the cultural world.

– My own expectations at the festival are high. We hope that we will set a record for ticket sales and above all we hope that the planned Festival will be carried out in the highest possible quality without any technical problems, which are always a possibility at online events. However, we hope there will be no surprises and we will be able to pull off a stylish event from start to finish. Petri describes the event.

– We anticipate to make a unique, significant, and positive impact in the cultural scene, in Finland and worldwide, with our 2nd Edition! Thanks to advanced technology, the world has become far easier to reach. This gives us the possibility to make this year’s festival accessible to everyone and the opportunity to reach and connect with a wider and more diverse audience. Beatriz says.

You can find more info & tickets to the event from this page.

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Mariska & Jouni Aslak, Sandhja, The Black Bubbles and Johanna Von Hertzen will perform in the form of a joint concert at SemiLive on April 14, 2021! The purpose of the concert is to support the activities of the 1981 HELSINKI company, the other founder of which is Niina Klemetti, a member of The Black Bubbles. SemiLive interviewed the attending artists.

Mariska is a satisfied customer of the 1981 HELSINKI store and wants to support small businesses in difficult times. Mariska considers it important that the clothes have a face.

– I've been a satisfied customer of Helsinki in 1981, and when Niina told me about the support idea, I was happy to join.

– I find it nice when the production and design related to clothing takes place nearby and in an environmentally friendly way. It matters to me when my garment maker gets a face and it’s not just some cheaply produced product. Of course, I want to support small businesses at a time like this. Needless to say, the 1981 HELSINKI clothes look good in my opinion.

1981 HELSINKI represents similar values in the field of fashion as Jouni Aslak. He values sustainable development and believes that small businesses keep development going and the street scene interesting.

– I joined because 1981 HELSINKI represents the values I believe in in the field of fashion. Under the umbrella of sustainable development, high-quality and recycled products, exquisite designs, and unisex designs delight and are the perfect countermeasure to the prevailing fast-fashion culture, which no one admits to favoring, but whose market share still dominates the entire industry globally.

– I work as a “small entrepreneur” or, more truthfully, as a self-employed person, so I know how holistic a lifestyle is. The existence of small businesses, both in the clothing and non-clothing sectors, keeps development going and creates new ideas and ways of working. Thus, it also steers larger players, which are slower-turning ships. Moreover, without factors like the 1981 Helsinki, the street scene would be much duller.

Sandhja describes the concert to be held about the unity and camaraderie of your demonstration. It is also easy for the consumer to support small businesses regardless of the amount.

– The concert is a show of unity and camaraderie, not only for the 1981 HELSINKI vintage store, but for the survival struggle of all small business owners and artist colleagues in the Korona era!

Sandhja

– The consumer can most easily support a small business by buying the company's services and products, regardless of the amount, and by positively promoting the company's activities. Every form of support is important both financially and mentally; the community's demonstration of the importance of the company, combined with financial support, creates hope, and encourages the company's struggle to survive.

Niina Klemetti is a member of The Black Bubbles and one of the founders of the 1981 HELSINKI store. In addition to the 1981 HELSINKI store, participation in the concert also supports other Finnish small entrepreneurs.

– The concert will help us small entrepreneurs and through us also our subcontractors and suppliers. Our subcontractors are Finnish small entrepreneurs themselves, and we also buy our materials mostly from domestic players.

– By purchasing a ticket to the live stream, the viewer supports Finnish small entrepreneurs with a wide arc. The support of the concert will help the 1981 HELSINKI store to cope with fixed costs due to the loss of sales caused by the corona and to keep our subcontractors active until the end of spring, after which we hope to alleviate the situation in all respects.

Check out tickets & more info about the concert here.

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Jones Häkkinen is a musician, animator, producer and one of SemiLive's core team members. Jones' podcast Sunday Boyfriend is available to listen to on SemiLive. In his podcast, Jones wants to bring out a wide variety of stories.

– Communication has always been a part of my life experience. I've always believed in a lot of communication, and it has played a big role in my life. I believe in the possibility of podcasts as a mediator of stories, and we live in a time when we need diverse communication. We need stories and good people to tell those stories. In addition, we need people who know how to ask the right questions. I personally feel like I am the kind of person who has the ability to communicate with people naturally. I feel like I get a lot out of people and I can find a note with people that one converses naturally with. Also, I feel the ability to be interested in other people and maybe that’s exactly the kind of core thing in myself.

– The podcast combines this so that the ability to be really interested in a person brings out the best in that person. It brings out the story of what that person himself wants to tell. Maybe this is the way I have gone to shape the "Sunday Boyfriend" podcast. How do we get out of what a person really wants to tell us. Because it’s not necessarily what a person starts to say if they’re just asked a simple question.

– I think there is a strong need for us to hear a wide variety of stories and for us to have people who ask a wide range of questions. It is my own starting point as to why I wanted to start doing a podcast and why I believe that it is important to bring those stories up. We are all interested in something, but the fact that a person can be interested in others is a skill that can be learned.

Jones' podcast "Sunday Boyfriend" focuses on creativity and things that artists go through in Finland. In the future, Jones would like to bring everyday creativity in as well.

– There is a lot of talk about creativity as such a megatrend. So far, my podcast has dealt with a lot of other people's artistic processes, but also the paths that artists, for example, go through in Finland. Through in-depth interviews and in-depth discussions, those interesting, personal stories, and insights into how, for example, the music business operates in Finland are formed. Those things I think this podcast handles well.

– In the future, I would like to dive even deeper into how creativity and processes can also affect the lives of those who do not work in the creative industries. All people are creative, of course, but creativity manifests itself differently in their lives.

The Sunday Boyfriend podcast is for anyone interested in creativity and creative people. The biggest interest in the podcast has come from the connection to creative doing.

– The podcast has received the most feedback from people who experience a connection to creativity and the creative process in some way. The audience for a podcast is not one specific age group, but everyone is interested in creativity because a person experiences a connection to their creativity throughout their lives. I think the largest audience for the Podcast is made up of people who are interested in creative people and creators, but most of all, interested in their own creative process.

– That's one reason why I am interested in the future to expand a podcast to everyday creativity, because the biggest interest in the podcast has come from those people who are experiencing connection creative activities. That’s why I would like to create even more content for those who experience a connection to the creative process. But then on the other hand also for everyone who is interested in creativity. Creativity is the starting point in a podcast. However, I am also interested in social phenomena and human experience in general. Somehow those phenomena and social issues, though there will never be any political podcast here. One could say that such everyday creativity is the anchor in which direction I believe the Podcast will take shape in the future.

SemiLive currently offers the first season of Sunday Boyfriend. In the second season, audience will probably hear more about the factors of everyday creativity.

– In principle, one season has now been completed so far. Plans are still open, but probably a small format change is coming. I envision that in the next season I will perhaps seek more of the kind of everyday creativity and how creativity is reflected in working life and as a holistic experience through my own happiness to my own identity.

– SemiLive is a good channel for a Sunday boyfriend because SemiLive as a platform promotes similar things as I want to tell and promote. It is just such a creative experience to expand one’s own skills and one’s own creative identity, both as an audience and as an experiencer and author himself. Promoting it is part of my mission and that’s why I see that SemiLive’s offering, especially in the future, will be in sync with the Sunday Boyfriend podcast.

– I encourage everyone to listen to the first season of the podcast to know what has already been done and there are interesting stories. And most of all, the upcoming season of the podcast is sure to be a good addition to SemiLive’s other services. It will be a great experience for any SemiLive consumer.

Check out Jones' free podcasts on SemiLive here!

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Kristiina “Krisse” Kivistö is a personal trainer, fitness boxing instructor and nutrition coach from Helsinki. Kristiina has now published the first fitness circuit in SemiLive, where the whole body gets movement using boxing techniques. We interviewed Krisse about the fitness circuit available from the SemiLive service.

–The workout is suitable for people of all ages and with basic health who want to improve their fitness at home. The workout is especially suitable for terminal workers because this workout really puts the shoulders in motion and with regular training, many have experienced boxing to ease the shoulder movements caused by terminal work. 

– It is a workout that loads the whole body, where the movements are done in sets of three against time. The workout uses boxing beats to raise your heart rate and do muscle fitness with your own body weight. So, no equipment is needed for the training.

There is no need to buy equipment for Kristiina's fitness circuit and the training is also suitable for those who have only little experience in fitness. The fitness circuit develops oxygen uptake and muscle endurance and is a good support for weight loss.

– In each movement, the most important things about techniques are discussed, which it is good to focus on. I have chosen the condition of the circuit movements so that they fit as many as possible. I also give easier variations for the challenging movements. I also go through boxing techniques, so it doesn’t matter if you have never boxed before! The punches are made by hitting the air, so there is no danger of hurting yourself, even if the punches are not perfect. But if you’ve never done squats or pushups, I recommend personal tutoring instead of online coaching. 

– I have chosen the condition of the circuit execution times, depending on that a little bit more experienced Trainer can also work up a sweat. but everyone still trains according to their own condition. It’s ok to do at a calmer pace than I do on video or for a shorter time. Your fitness will improve, and your endurance will definitely improve as you start training regularly. 

– Now, there is certainly a decrease in physical activity for many, when group exercise is on hiatus and work trips are canceled due to working remotely. In this workout, you will develop oxygen uptake and muscle endurance. In addition, you put blood around the neck–shoulder area and improve upper body mobility. The workout is also great support for weight loss. You will also get to know a little about fitness boxing.

Driving a fitness circle remotely is a new thing for Kristiina, but more trainings are also coming to SemiLive's service.

– Pulling the fitness circuit remotely requires familiarizing when you can't see or hear anyone. I would love to see the trainers and how the movements are made in training. However, it has been nice to get feedback from the participants after the workout. 

– The next fitness circuit focus on the thighs, buttocks, and middle body.

You can find Krisse's fitness course from this link!

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SemiLive is celebrating its birthday today 13th of march. To celebrate the anniversary, we asked SemiLive’s staff what their thoughts of the past year are. Johanna Von Hertzen, Jessica Häyhä, Jones Häkkinen, Senni Rissanen and Riku Turunen participated in the interview.

On Friday, exactly one year ago, Johanna Von Hertzen had a strong feeling that all summer events and gigs would be canceled.

– For our company, Storia, this meant that the work went almost 100% off. I lay on the bed, staring at the ceiling and calling my colleague Jessica, who lives in Bali, if we should stream a couple of gigs now. Already in the first call, I spun the idea of “Somehow on live, maybe Semilive” which then formed the final name of the service. SemiLive producer Johanna says.

– After the call, I started making our logo right away. After that, I started building a platform for the stream, and I quickly realized that if we wanted to do this properly, we needed help. One call to Riku and he happily came with us! Within a week we also had Senni, Tiina, Jones and a film crew on the team. Jessica, SemiLive’s creative director, recalls.

It was only a week since the call, when SemiLive's first test broadcast was already taking place. The enthusiasm for the fast pace came from nature, but the desire to be Finland's first streaming service had an impact.

– The nature of our team includes speed and doing it to the fullest. However, nothing airs bad or unfinished, and we have worked every night and day to make the service a little better every day. Johanna states.

– In SemiLive's core team, everyone is a fairly experienced person, so the operating culture had already developed around quick response and fearless implementation. We had a big and clear problem to solve. After all, that week only seemed short-lived when you thought about it in retrospect, so effective and motivated our group was from the first meters. Producer Jones adds.

– Personally, I got excited about the idea of promoting live music during the corona as well, and usually if I get excited about something, things happen quickly. A couple of days seem to go from the first call to the fact that SemiLive's first really working draft existed. I do remember that those couple of days were pretty busy, I guess I did go all night while working on it. Riku, who is responsible for the technical side of SemiLive, describes his own journey.

The year of SemiLive has accommodated a wide range of culture in its various forms, but the best remembered memory is the excitement of the first gig, as well as the gigs of Lost Society and Amorphis that took place at 3am. SemiLive also played a part in Johanna Von Hertzen's album release party whose cancellation developed the idea of streaming.

– I vividly remember when I was working at the Lost Society gig from my remote office. The sun began to rise to a new day in Finland, the metal music played in the stream and people around the world felt it virtually in social media and Chat. In it, I thought to myself that something big and cool is being done here right now. Just a week after that, Sonata Arctica played acoustic gigs at SemiLive and I remember the Zoom audience having been a success at these two gigs. As the host I was greatly moved to notice the communality of the fans. The conversation continued after the second gig so long, that finally after the third hour I ended up giving host privileges to one of the fans and leaving them to hang out with each other. Are they still there in Zoom? who knows. Senni, who works in content production, ponders.

SemiLive's goals were already high at the beginning. The dream was to be a global community and international, which was absolute for SemiLive from the very beginning.

– I wondered a thousand times, that may If only I had known. SemiLive feels like a life's work, a favorite child and a concept full of potential. It is also definitely the most demanding and the most work to do a project where I have been involved, but it is ideal for producer who loves challenges! Johanna says.

– My experience of the world of events and media has taught me during my career that only change is permanent. When we started, I didn’t really even think about where it would lead, because I knew a lot of things would affect where the service develops. Innovation is a reactive change in nature, so while the journey has, of course, been constantly full of surprising twists and turns, it has never been surprising. Jones says.

– Yes, I imagined it would be at this point. In fact, I expected that things would have gotten bigger much faster, but little by little realism has reached me, and nowadays the service is being developed more moderately. Riku adds.

– The spring of a year ago and the journey from there to here has been incredibly rewarding for sure for our entire SemiLive team. I don’t think any of us could think of where we would be at the point about the situation in the world at all now, live streaming have come to stay. Senni states.

SemiLive's future is expected to see interesting new projects and the development of the streaming field. SemiLive wants to develop ways to better support cultural creators and inspire people. Thus, on a birthday, SemiLive wants to tell its customers and partners that SemiLive is open for ideas and wants to hear wishes and feedback about the services, not forgetting to support cultural services.

– I would like to urge customers to consume Finnish cultural production, but also to feel free to interact with SemiLive and tell us how the streaming platform could best serve you. The aim is to bring added value to the life and cultural enjoyment of our audience, together we will get there the fastest. Jones states.

– As a team, we already have a good experience of streaming around the world. Hybrid events and distance learning have come to stay, and SemiLive’s platform is a great place to implement them! Johanna starts.

SemiLive was never made to compete with live events. We (almost everyone with a background in music) in SemiLive are guaranteed to be among the first to rock at festivals whenever it is possible. When developing a service, we always think primarily of the audience who, for one reason or another, want to enjoy their content mainly online.

It’s a bit like that sometimes you want to go to a restaurant, sometimes cook for yourself and sometimes order food at home. Sometimes distance, health, or something else makes it impossible to get to a concert.

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Hans Välimäki and SemiLive start cooperation! As a result, SemiLive's service offering will be further expanded, this time in the form of virtual cooking schools. Hans Välimäki is a top Finnish chef who is familiar from many television programs. He has been seen in Kuppilat kuntoon, Hans Välimäki!, Hansin matkassa and Top Chef Finland.

A virtual cooking school called Hans at Home will start on Maundy Thursday, April 1. In SemiLive. It prepares Easter dishes together with Hans.

Cooking school for every home

SemiLive interviewed Hans Välimäki and producer Santtu Palmi about the coming cooking school. Hans says the idea of virtual cooking has been present throughout the Korona period.

– Virtual Cooking Schools have been a familiar thing since last spring, when I did 22 streams for ISTV from home, Hans says.

– Then a few people asked if it would be possible for me to do such a service. The viewers' wish came true and we were in fact the first, or at least among the first, to make a virtual cooking school in Finland.

– We have developed the concept and now families, individual home chefs and friend groups get to cook together.

Hans and Santtu are committed for giving everyone a comfortable and tasteful moment in these otherwise difficult times.

– The idea of the cooking school is to be a nice experience, where good food is easily created, Santtu explains.

Available and affordable ingredients

Hans and Santtu want to create a cooking school experience that everyone has the opportunity to participate in. The ingredients used are readily available in stores and the prices remain reasonable.

– The idea is that the livestream lasts a maximum of one and a half or two hours. We don’t want the experience to be in any way too complicated or long-winded.

– The aim is to keep the dish mountains under control, a relaxed atmosphere and to keep the cooking pleasing from start to finish. Also interesting in this concept is how to make something new out of the usual ingredients, Hans says.

– Let's do it in peace and without haste, Santtu adds.

Participants will receive a trade list in advance and recipes for themselves

– The training leaves all participants with recipes for the dishes to be prepared during the stream. I think the recipe is learned when it stays in the back of the head, and at some point, you find yourself modifying it to your own preferences. No recipe is perfect, but they must live with the times.

– If those involved after the stream have a good mood and a tasty food on the plate, we have succeeded, Santtu adds.

For the first "Hans at Home" stream, Hans has created an Easter-inspired menu: Salmon Sashim as an appetizer, lamb "iskender" as the main course and fried chocolate mousse as a dessert. Everyone who buys a ticket to the cooking school will receive an exact shopping list and a recipe week before the stream.

– You should go to the grocery store a couple of days before Maundy Thursday's stream so that the fresh ingredients don't have time to go bad, Hans reminds.

– And no worries, if Easter Thursday does not fit on your schedule, you can watch the Hans at home stream later at a time when it suits you better, Santtu adds.

Tickets on sale 12.3. from here!

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On Friday, 26th February, SemiLive will be filled with jazz music, when saxophonist Jukka Perko will perform a gala concert in honor of the anniversary of Charlie Parker, whose style of music he was inspired at a young age. In the interview, Perko talks about his jazz journey and his expectations for Friday's concert.

– I chose the saxophone as my instrument by chance. As a young man, I listened to records where the saxophone was played, and it was such a coincidence. Through saxophone, I was also interested in jazz music and what struck me the most was the way jazz musicians played saxophone. Through that instrument, I caught up with the genre. Music has always been a part of everyday life in my family. It was always listened to on records or radio, so my earliest memories of music take me back to my childhood. At home, we always listened to or played something.

Jukka Perko is especially known in jazz circles for his Charlie Parker-style music and has been nicknamed "Little Bird" according to Parker's nickname. However, Perko also has other role models in addition to Parker.

– I think anyone who has listened to Charlie Parker’s music realizes there is something to it. Whether you liked jazz music or not. Parker’s music is very powerful, and it somehow evokes really talented improvisation. Parker’s music is caught in an instant and it appeals to the listener. Also, I think it’s very skillful technically, and extremely inventive musically. Although Parker represents its jazz style for a certain period of time, I still find it very timeless.

– My Little Bird nickname is not as honorable as one might imagine. On the one hand, it flatters but on the other hand, anyone who plays saxophone or jazz knows that they will always be far from Parker and I feel the same way myself. As a young man, the nickname, of course, encouraged and helped me understand that jazz music has a point. and I am good at what I do, and I should continue doing this. It felt good back then, even though I already knew back then that the nickname wasn’t all true. But of course, it is accepted as a positive incentive.

– In addition to Parker, I could name two role models. One of these is Paul Desmond, who has become known for his song “Take five.” He is a very personal player and a great influence. Secondly, I could mention Jan Garbarek, who has been an important role model for me. He is a Norwegian player in many relevant jazz recordings and Keith Jarret's configurations. He relies very much on his own sound and has such a Nordic dimension present.  

Next, the discussion shifted to jazz music and its future, which Perko sees as bright.

– Yes, I believe that there are enough friends and enthusiasts for jazz music, but also those who love to listen and play it. I don’t think jazz will ever become mainstream music, although every now and then there are popping up players who make jazz into the consciousness of a larger audience. I would say that the future of jazz is bright. It remains viable and redefines itself in a healthy way, always at regular intervals. It keeps jazz music alive.

– I'm the kind of person who loves the traditions and things that build around them. So, of course I hope that there will still be enough people in the future who are passionate about maintaining jazz traditions and giving their lives, time, and talent to keeping the traditions alive. It is important to me, as is the development of new ideas. I hope the jazz culture is broad and strong so that there are enough makers for both of these jazz genres.  

Perko also had time to reminisce about his jazz career and friends in jazz.

Now I want to tell a story that has nothing to do with playing or being at a gig - Perko starts.

– I just remembered over the weekend with my wife when I was in Dizzy Gillespie’s band at the age of 19. We were in Andorra for a gig during the tour and we had a moment of free time. I went shopping with Dizzy and he persuaded me to buy a watch for myself that was way too expensive. Then while we were drinking coffee, I told Dizzy that I should buy some gifts for my mom and dad from this tour. Dizzy replied, “I know what you need to buy. You need to buy an electric toothbrush. In that way every morning when your parents brush their teeth, they remember how nice a boy they have.” And so, we set out to buy an electric toothbrush.

– I have friends in jazz circles with whom I have played for a long time. They have grown into being my brothers, so I do not consider them as my colleagues. We have developed a deeper connection. I used to play a lot with Severi Pyysalo and we had a lot of fun playing together and we had amazing moments with him. Over the past few years, I have been playing more with Teppo Mäkynen. We’ve been playing together more or less since 1996 and it's always kind of brightening to play with him.

Eventually, the speech moved to a gig on Friday, 26th February.

– I would describe Friday’s gig as interesting. I think the good gig always starts with such a relaxed performance, but because of the corona, there have been no gigs, which creates more expectations for the upcoming gig. It will be interesting to see what happens when there is such joy and enthusiasm when you get to play after a long time. On top of all that, we get to play Parker’s production, which is always a kind of treat for itself. Friday’s gig is going to be meaningful and awesome, at least for us, and I think it’s showing up to viewers as well. You should come see how the guys are excited. It’s no longer self-evident that we’re on a live gig. It's everything else.

Tickets and other info here.

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The Christmas concert, conjured up by the popular pop kantele player Ida Elina and conductor Teemu Hämäläinen, attracts its listeners into the atmosphere of a soft and white Christmas. Traditional and newer Christmas songs get a renewed musical look as kantele arrangements by Ida Elina and a joint interpretation by the St. Michel Strings.

We interviewed Ida Elina about her streamed Christmas concert. The streamed concerts have become familiar to Ida Elina, who performed at, among other things, historical Finland's Independence Day's celebration called "Linnan Juhlat".

– I was very surprised when I was asked to be one of the performers among all the artists. It was an honor and a great experience and I got a lot of good feedback.

Streaming concerts lack the right audience and reactions, but Ida Elina thinks streaming gigs are also fun.

– It’s a bit like shooting one gig-length music video. On the other hand, the mood is a bit like on TV – things go as they go, she says.

Ida Elina believes that the concert, which will be broadcast on Thursday, will have a wonderful and fresh sound.

– There will be something that you have never heard! The combination of a kantele and a string orchestra is really rare. In addition, we have such a division of labor that I take care of the rhythm side of the kantele, and the string orchestra paints and plays even perhaps differently from the traditional!

The concert program has been built in collaboration with conductor Teemu Hämäläinen. His career began as a violinist, and with his studies as a conductor, work has shifted from an orchestra to a conductor’s podium. Teemu Hämäläinen is the artistic director and chief conductor of Sinfonietta Fortis.

– The songs were decided together, and there are also many of my own favorites. I’m really looking forward to White Christmas, for example, where I’m actually playing something other than my kantele, Ida Elina reveals at the end of the interview.

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On Thursday 3rd December soprano Päivi Pylvänäinen from Savonlinna will be the soloist of the St. Michels Stings’ concert. Pylvänäinen graduated from the Sibelius Academy with excellent grades in the spring of 2015. Pylvänäinen has played several significant roles on domestic opera stages. He rose to the awareness of the general public with her acclaimed lead role in Ilkka Kuusisto's opera Aino Ackté.

The program is based on Finnish songs by Toivo Kuula and Oskar Merikanto, as well as Puccini's opera arias. The program also includes Erkki Melartin's Serenade for string orchestra and Puccini's string orchestra works Crisantemi, Tre Minuetti and Scherzo. The concert will be conducted by concertmaster Jyrki Lasonpalo. SemiLive interviewed Päivi Pylvänäinen about the concert and the future.

– The year has been really challenging since March. Fortunately, it was time to do Carmen at the Tampere Opera, but after that everyday life changed completely. In principle, all work has been postponed for at least a year, says Päivi Pylvänäinen.

– This year, I am more focused to take care of myself as a singer. There is a place for doing alone, but now there has been quite a lot of time for that. That’s why it was a wonderful feeling to get to train with the orchestra for this concert, and of course perform on Thursday.

Pylvänäinen also sees a light at the end of the tunnel: – If there is something good in this time, then we have learned that you can take singing lessons via Zoom around the world and communicate with colleagues. It has become more commonplace.

Päivi Pylvänäinen says that some of the songs to be heard on Thursday have been familiar for her for years. For example, O mio babbino Caro and Quando m’en vo have been in Pylvänäinen’s repertoire for a long time.

– Tuijotin tulehen kauan has touched recently. Its ambience suits the autumn feel, and the small wretched associated with the situation. Then we'll move on to the more hopeful Aamulaulu, which I sang already when I was a young girl, says Pylvänäinen.

Pylvänäinen says that the plans for next spring have already come a long way - there will be, among other things, musical rejoicing Hajuvettä ja lihapullia, where she will perform together with actress-singer Maria Lund. Stunning musicians Anu Kosonen and Elisa Järvelä will also be seen on stage. There will be a fun and varied performance about women’s lives. The script is the handwriting of the working group and the producer of the presentation, Kalle Pylvänäinen.

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This season’s last Tuska Utopia episode takes the torch bearers of cello metal, Apocalyptica, to perform at the ruins of the medieval Church of St. Michael. The episode premieres on Friday, 27th of November 2020, at 9pm (UTC +2) and the ticket includes viewing rights for 48 hours. SemiLive interviewed Apocalyptica’s Eicca Toppinen about the spectacular concert and future plans.

What is Apocalyptica and it’s members working on right now?

– First of all we’ve been getting ready and doing all preparations (mixing etc) for the release of Tuska Utopia show. Beside that we have been doing pretty much our own things but last week we gathered together for a week to brainstorm what to do next. As it doesn’t look promising to get back on stage soon, we luckily got lots of other plans to work on and the upcoming winter looks pretty exciting now with loads of work. We will tell you more once we’ve got further..

Photo: Anastasia Pajanen

How was it to film this Tuska Utopia episode? 

– This was an amazing opportunity to do something inspiring during these times. We did a few streams earlier this year and this one had an interesting approach plus a big professional team to create something different this time. The setup was great, church ruins gave a special atmosphere together with outstanding lightning. Hardest part was the weather, when the sun set down, this massive humidity landed and stayed inside the walls and the air was technically ice. The cellos tend to change very much with the temperature and humidity and icy cold air is also the worst for muscles and fingers. But even though it was lots of pain it was super fun too!!!

How would you describe the location and atmosphere of your concert – Church of St. Michael?

– The ruins felt like a combination of church and a castle. I think these kinds of ancient walls full of details and structure are telling you some stories and wisdom, they’ve also seen terrible things happen as well as good. This kind of grounded energy gives a perfect surrounding for our music I think.

What are your favourite places in the world?

-– It’s kinda impossible to name any as our planet is full of beauty and places which are amazing in their own ways. I am personally a big nature lover so I prefer places with strong performance of nature. Lapland in Finland, Mountains in Norway, Alps, Rocky Mountains, Ocean and jungle in Mexico and Southern America. And I have been lucky to find warm and sweet hearts people basically everywhere in the world.

What are the best things in Finland?

– Finnish people are quite good on taking things as they are without additional bullshit. I love that I can trust their words and actions. We also have lots of beautiful nature, fresh air, fresh food, safe society, reliable governmental instances etc.

How do you see the future of live stream concerts? 

– I think it is a great way to do cool things and reach your fans and audience from time to time. It is still never gonna replace the magic of a real live connection between the artist and the audience. So it's a cool thing to do but not much more. Works as a plaster until the serious action can begin again and then as a side tool.

Why should EVERYONE watch this amazing upcoming stream concert?

– Because it's simply amazing!!! It’s great deeply emotional music with intense and soulful performance, mixed, decorated, filmed and edited in the most professional way. Simply great!!!

Apocalyptica @ SemiLive 27.11.2020

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