Ever wonder what I'm up to in my little ol' studio up here at the Mills Music Library at the University of Wisconsin? Well, now you can hear for yourself because a large chunk of my digitization work on the NEH Local Centers/Global Sounds project just went public. The home page tells you about the overall project and when you click on the Ethnic Music of Northern WI and MI on the right hand side of the page you can browse or search that collection. The Ethnic Music of Northern Wisconsin and Michigan Collection documents traditional music of European immigrant communities in the northern tier of counties in Wisconsin and the western counties of the upper peninsula of Michigan along Lake Superior’s south shore. The collection reflects the mix of musical traditions among the region’s Cornish, Bohemian, Croatian, Finnish, French-Canadian, German, Hungarian, Italian, Norwegian, Polish, Russian, Irish, Slovenian, Slovak, Swedish, Swiss, and Ukrainian immigrant singers, instrumentalists, dance hall veterans, and home performers. There are hundreds of hours of fieldwork recordings--including LOTS of Finnish-American music and some amazing fieldnotes by James P. Leary--searchable already. Whenever you see an event listed as 'Multiple Elements' that means you can hear all the field recordings and interviews (as streaming WAVs), check out the photos and the fieldnotes, and search the finding aid. Lots and lots of great stuff in here pertaining to music and immigration in the Upper Midwest and with much more to come soon! Check it out here: https://uwdc.library.wisc.edu/localcenters/
Well, the road to Finland was rough and rocky (30 hours!), but comparatively, the FinnAir direct flight back from Helsinki to Chicago was absolutely lovely. I had an incredible time in Finland and before I forget, I want to take a quick moment to thank those who made it all possible: To KK and Lauri Ollari, the organizers of the Rockabilly Rocks! festival in Järvenpää, Finland—that was awesome!!
Many thanks for inviting me be a part of such a cool festival. The Vanhankylän Kartano venue was amazing, the hospitality beyond generous, and Tuusula Lake—the same lake on which Jean Sibelius, Alexis Kivi, Juhani Aho, Pekka Halonen, and other famous Finnish artists built their homes (Alvar Aalto even designed some of the homes there, too)—was simply breathtaking. Once the weather cleared up, well, there couldn’t have been a better spot anywhere in Finland for such a festival--Truth! It was wonderful to see so many friends whom I haven't seen in some time and the bands on the bill were killer—I particularly enjoyed sets by the Truly Lover Trio, Russia’s Diamond Hand, the Swedish cats in Tupelo Highshots and Ed Cavin’s Blue Kings, and of course some killer Finnish groups that I really dig—the Rockin’ 8-Balls, Hal Peters Trio, Whistle Bait, the Million Dollar Tones, Pete Boy R'n'R Trio, 20th Flight Rockers, and Limiteds. I’d seen Paul Ansell’s Number Nine and the Blue Cats a few times before and they were again super fun, and of course I enjoyed hearing and meeting Matchbox—authors of my all-time favorite neo-rockabilly tune (see: "Rockabilly Paukkuu"). And of course, DJ Farmer John and DJ Daryl kept us rockin' until the wee hours. The whole event was a real testiment to the diversity of music that falls under the "rockabilly" umbrella. Most of all, I want to thank KK, Jake Lähdeniemi, Jussi Huhtakangas, and Jani Ahtiainen for holding everything together during our first set without any rehearsal (no thanks to American Airlines!) and still rocking the masses. Somehow it all worked out. And of course, I owe an extra special thanks to Jake and KK for playing a completely different set with me on Saturday and pulling that one off too. That second set was super fun, especially with the guest spot of Alexander Diamond rocking some Johnny Horton with us (now that’s some USA-Russia collaboration I can get behind!!), as was guesting with the Rockin’ 8-Balls (paras bandi mailmaassa!) for a little Link Davis-Starday mayhem. Lots of videos and pics are getting posted online and its great to see them popping up. Kiitos Hank Lemmetti, Kari Ponkilainen and kittos kaikkille!
Rockin' the '50s American diner in the middle of Helsinki with dear friends.
With Pekka Gronow, talking about both Finnish and Finnish-American music. Photo by kind woman.
Photo by me. "The Giant Pike" by Akseli Gallen-Kallela, "An October Day in Aland" by Victor Westerholm, "Bohemian Fiddler" by Ida Silfverberg, and the infamous "Aino Myth" triptych by Gallen-Kallela, seen at the Ateneum.
Ridin' the rides at Linnanmäki and getting super dizzy. Photo by Taina Vehkasalmi.