List of Finnish Tango Bands and Artists : Vote for your favorites.

Finnish tango, or FINtango, music is an established variation of the Argentine tango but whose rhythm follows the Ballroom tango. It was one of the most popular music forms for decades in Finland. Brought to Europe in the 1910s, and to Finland itself in 1913, by travelling musicians, Finns began to take up the form and write their own tangos in the 1930s. The first Finnish tango was written by Emil Kauppi in 1914 for a film called Salainen perintömääräys (meaning The Secret Testament). It features a typical Finnish rhythm pattern with habanera. In the 1920s the tango was danced exclusively by Helsinki’s bohemians. By the 1940s about half of the entries on the popular music charts were occupied by tangos, and the post war period saw tangos spread from a popular urban phenomenon to their enthusiastic adoption by the countryside as well. Finnish tango peaked in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Special characteristics of Finnish tango include the change of rhythm to beguine during chorus. Also habanera rhythm is used often. The bandoneon was replaced by the accordion and drums were added.

The Finnish tango is distinguished from other forms of tango by its almost exclusive performance in minor keys and themes reflecting established conventions in Finnish folklore. As the head of the Finnish National Broadcaster's gramophone library explains, "The central themes of Finnish tango lyrics are love, sorrow, nature and the countryside. Many tangos express a longing for the old homestead, or a distant land of happiness. The changing seasons of Finnish nature are frequently used metaphors: the spring breaks the hold of the winter, and flowers appear, creating new expectations. Autumn rains and dark evenings are symbols of crushed hopes."

One of the highlights of Finnish summers is the Tangomarkkinat, or tango festival, held annually since 1985 in the central Finnish town of Seinäjoki. The festival attracts more than 100,000 participants annually (from a population of just over 5 million) and is capped by the coronation of the tango King and Queen, who receive much domestic media attention and often recording contracts as well. Another tango festival is the International Helsinki Frostbite Tango Festival. The city of Tampere hosts the much smaller annual Maailmantango (World of Tango festival).

The most well known Finnish tango composers are Olavi Virta ("Punatukkaiselle tytölleni"), Toivo Kärki ("Liljankukka") and Unto Mononen ("Satumaa").

Symphony Splash played the Finish Tango in Victoria BC, Canada on August 6th at 9pm.


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