Showing posts with label finland. Show all posts
Showing posts with label finland. Show all posts

Friday 30 September 2022

Finland Awakes, Art & Culture shape our Destiny

Music crosses borders but also expresses our souls 

"Finland doesn’t have a history of kings and castles. We have always been occupied.  When we finally became free it was built on language, literature, painting and music. Jean Sibelius created the idea of what Finland sounds like. You can hear his enthusiasm for discovering the Finnish sagas – folklore that’s ours alone, even as he was becoming a universal composer.”

writes Dalen Stasevska (BBC Symphony Orchestra principle guest conductor) 

who returned as principle conductor to Lahiti – home to Jean Sibelius. 


Sibelius (1865 – 1957) helped force Finland’s independence in 1917.  He was a violinist who found inspiration in Finland’s myths, sagas and folklore, particularly in the poetry of Kalevala.


Jean married Aino Janefelt, whose family was artistic and activist – her three brothers were a painter, composer and writer. Their mother was determined to fight for Finnish independence and she gathered a Finnish-speaking, pro-independence circle around her, including Sibelius.

Aino Janefelt & Jean Sibelius
Defiant Finlandia

“we fought a 100 years for our freedom and I am part of the generation that achieved it. This is the song of our battle – our hymn of Victory. “  Aino Janefelt

But after a civil war, Russia again attacked during the WW1. 

Lahiti built Sibelius hall from wood in 1996. At this time there was 28% unemployment, so it was hard to justify a new concert hall. But the government was keen for a prestigious building as part of the Year of Wood, Plus they had the backing of businesses – Metsa and UMP.


The concert hall now hosts a Sibelius festival and is rated in the top ten for acoustics. The area was rejuvenated around the site with restaurants, and a new marina developed.


Jean Sibelius

(extracted from Lesley Riddoch article - Finnish composer and the lessons we can learn from Nordic neighbours


Thursday 21 February 2019

Celtic Connections music festival 2019

If we loose Indigenous languages wee loose colour and diversity”  Brexit has brought the Celtic nations together

One of the highlights of my year is attending the wonderful and top class concerts of this highly respected folk, world and roots music festival. I’ve been shooting at Celtic Connections now since 2008, and its interesting to see how the festival evolves each year. I enjoy the atmospheric Old Fruitmarket , the main concert hall, the Danny Kyle stage and the enthusiastic buzz of this major Glasgow music festival

This year my concerts included  -  New Traditions: Talisk, Xabier Diaz, Vishten; Grace and Danger: concert to celebrate John Martyn; Kathleen MacInnes and amiina; Transatlantic Sessions with Cara Dillon

Celtic Connections 2019 included the Opening Concert, when 100 young musicians from Scotland and Galicia took to the stage on the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall performed alongside leading traditional Scottish artists.The festival line up included - Cherish the Ladies, Graham Nash, Elephant Sessions, Bokanté, Loudon Wainwright III, Judy Collins, Ronnie Spector & the Ronettes, Kathy Mattea, Shooglenifty, Aidan Moffat & RM Hubbert, Susheela Raman, Songhoy Blues, Mariza and a special performance of ‘An Treas Suaile’ (The Third Wave) with Julie Fowlis and Duncan Chisholm.

**A celebration of quality live music and challenging collaborations, which stays true to its Celtic roots and while also being innovative. This years International partner in 2019 was Spain’s Galicia. (given autonomy in 1981). Finland will be the festival’s partner in 2020. The festival includes: Showcase Scotland opportunities; Educational Program with morning concerts and workshops; Celtic Connections encourages new talent Danny Kyle Open Stage. Includes music, ceilidhs, talks, workshops, screenings and more, the world-leading annual music festival Celtic Connections 2019. 

** Celtic Connections encourages indigenous languages – as part of 2019 Unesco International year of indigenous Languages, Canada sent over artists and cultural leaders, representing their indigenous languages, to exchange ideas, dialogues, and to practice with Scots Gaelic talent. To give artists space and time to interrogate how Scotland and Canada’s shared colonial histories manifest within contemporary creative practice. 

18 days of music, ceilidhs, talks, workshops, screenings and more, of this world-leading music festival Celtic Connections. 2000 artists from 25 countries in 300 events on 35 stages across Glasgow – the most widespread Celtic Connections since the festival began in 1994. With attendances over 130,000 the festival was a huge draw for audiences from all over the world. Celtic Connections is a festival which stays true to its Celtic roots, while also exploring new ideas, musical styles including folk, blues, techno, jazz and Americana.  

Donald Shaw, Creative Producer for Celtic Connections, said:The commissions and special collaborations which are one of our hallmarks, have travelled in musical directions which have amazed us all.“We sought to make this year’s festival our most innovative yet and thanks to the musicians who joined us we achieved this. It’s hard to believe it is almost over, and time now to start thinking of how we can better this next year when our incredible festival will return.”        

Alan Morrison, Head of Music, Creative Scotland said:The festival proved yet again that Scotland is as eager to welcome international acts with open arms as it is to share our own musical heritage with all our visitors, building friendships across borders. Celtic Connections 2020 can’t come soon enough.”

Friday 23 December 2016

Norway's Independence

Scotland is often compared to Norway - in terms of population, oil, geography, long coastline, domination by an external power and more...
Norway was for 430 years tied to a union (due to Royal manoeuvrings much like here in the UK) first with Denmark and then with Sweden) For centuries Copenhagen was the cultural and business capital. Some of the union worked well with Norway trading wood, fish to Denmark. Eventually though in 1905 , Norway negotiated a peaceful separation from Sweden. It is not possible that Norway would ever wish to go back! Norway has a long border with Sweden too (just like Scotland and England) and both countries appear to manage their own sovereignty.

The Union with Denmark lasted between 1388 – 1814) – 434 years.
“Known as the 400-Year-Night.” Norway joined the Kalmar Union of all the Nordic countries ( ) in 1388.
The KALMAR UNION 1388 - King Magnus VII ruled Norway to 1350 when his son became Haakon VI. He married Margaret, daughter of King Valdemar IV of Denmark. In 1379 his son Olaf IV, at ten, accession to both the thrones of Norway and Denmark led to a personal union. Olaf's mother, Queen Margaret, managed the affairs of Denmark and Norway and wanted a union with Sweden, by having Olaf elected to the Swedish throne. Olaf IV died suddenly in 1388 and Denmark and Norway crowned Margaret as a temporary ruler. Queen Margaret decided on Eric of Pomeria, grandson of her sister to be king. Thus at an all-Scandinavian meeting held at Kalmar, Eric was elected King of the Scandinavian countries. Royal politics resulted in personal unions between all the Nordic countries and the thrones of Norway, Denmark and Sweden were under the control of Queen Margaret - known as the KALMAR UNION. (In 1521 Sweden broke out of the UNION)

The "400-Year Night” - Norway remained in a union with Denmark until 1814, a total of 434 years. In the 19th century, the national romanticism was known as the "400-Year Night", since the kingdom’s entire royal, intellectual and administrative power was centred in Copenhagen Denmark. Denmark supported Norway's needs for grain and food supplies, while Norway supplied Denmark with timber, metal, and fish. A great famine of 1695–96 killed 10% of Norway's population. The harvest failed in Scandinavia at least nine times between 1740 and 1800, with great loss of life. After Denmark–Norway was attacked by the UK in the Battle of Copenhagen, it entered into an alliance with Napoleon. Denmark lost in 1814, and ceded Norway to the king of Sweden, while the old Norwegian provinces of Iceland, Greenland, and the Faroe Islands remained with the Danish crown. 

**Norway took this opportunity to declare independence and adopted a constitution based on American and French models, and elected the Crown Prince of Denmark and Norway, Christian Frederick king in 1814. This is the famous Syttende Mai (Seventeenth of May) holiday celebrated by Norwegians and is the Norwegian Constitution Day.
Norwegian-Swedish War and Union with Sweden 1814 - Norwegian opposition to the great powers' decision to link Norway with Sweden caused war to break out. Sweden's military was not strong enough to defeat the Norway and Norway's treasury was not large enough to support a long war. British and Russian navies blockaded the Norwegian coast. They were forced to negotiate Convention of Moss and Union with Sweden. Christian Frederik abdicated the Norwegian throne and authorised the Parliament of Norway to make the necessary constitutional amendments to allow for the Personal union that Norway was forced to accept. On 4 November 1814 the Parliament (Storting) elected Charles XIII of Sweden as king of Norway.

Norwegian romantic nationalism - Norway kept its own liberal, independent institutions except for the foreign service. Following the recession caused by the Napoleonic Wars, economic development of Norway remained slow until economic growth began around 1830.  Norwegians sought to define and express a distinct national character. The movement covered all branches of culture, including literature Henrik Wegeland[1808–1845], Biomstierne Biomson[1832–1910], Peter Christen Asbionsen[1812–1845], Jergen Moe [1813–1882]), painting Hans Gude[1825–1903], Adolph Tidemand[1814–1876]), music Edvard Grieg [1843–1907]), and even language policy, where attempts to define a native written language for Norway led to today's two official written forms for Norwegian: Bokmai and Nynorsk.

King Charles III John, throne Norway and Sweden 1818 - 1844, was the second king after Norway's union with Sweden. He protected the constitution and liberties but he was also ruthless in the use of paid informers, secret police and restrictions on the freedom of the press to put down public movements for reform— in particular the Norwegian national independence movement.
**Dissolution of the union 1905 - Christian Michelsen, a shipping magnate and PM of Norway, 1905 - 1907, played a crucial role in the peaceful separation of Norway from Sweden in 1905. A national referendum confirmed the people's preference for a monarchy. No Norwegian could legitimately claim the throne because none was able to prove relationship to medieval royalty and in European tradition royal or "blue" blood is a precondition for laying claim to the throne. The government offered the throne of Norway to a prince of the German royal House of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glucksburg. Prince Carl of Denmark was unanimously elected king by the Norwegian parliament, the first king of a fully independent Norway in 508 years (1397: Kalmar Union). He took the name Haakon VII. In 1905, the country welcomed the prince from neighbouring Denmark, his wife Maud of Wales and their young son to re-establish Norway's royal house. Following centuries of close ties between Norway and Denmark.

Norway is considered to be one of the most developed democracies and states of justice in the world. From 1814, c. 45% of men (25 years and older) had the right to vote, whereas the United Kingdom had c. 20% (1832), Sweden c. 5% (1866), and Belgium c. 1.15% (1840). Since 2010, Norway has been classified as the world's most democratic country by the Democratic Index.