Summing up 2015

So, when I said I’d get back to you with proper post “soon” I guess that meant 2,5 months. Oh well.

Only five posts during the whole year, it seems, so quite a few things happened in between those posts. I’ll try to sum it all up.

Chinese Bridge (Finnish competition in April, semifinals in China in July)

In the spring of 2015 I took part in the Chinese Bridge competition for the second time (first time was in 2013). I’m not going to explain again what the competition is about (scroll down for earlier posts to find out) but here are a few thoughts about the whole thing.

As I had participated in the competition once before, and had narrowly missed out on making the top 30 (out of some 140+ competitors), this time I had a very concrete goal in mind. I prepared for the Finnish preliminary competition a lot more than I had two years ago, and it paid off. I became the first in Finland to represent my country in the semifinals for the second time. Sadly, in the end it didn’t take me any further than two years ago, and again I was eliminated before the finals. In the European group of forty-something participants, I was the 10th or the 11th, if I recall correctly. Not quite good enough.

This time I had made the firm decision to only perform original music in the competition, and I guess what disappointed me the most was that the audience didn’t seem to appreciate it all that much. Then again, I’m not sure just how fixed the whole competition is to begin with. In any case, the competition was over on my part around mid-July and it was time to move on. But of course, beyond the disappointment, there is still the great (twice-in-a-lifetime) experience of being part of a show of such epic proportions, and more importantly, making a lot of new friends. And also getting to play my own music for at least a few million Chinese television viewers.

559cbe7a3af38马维 (my Chinese name) at the Chinese Bridge semifinals, July 2015, in Changsha, Hunan province.

Summer 2015 China tour

Sounds much more grand that it actually was but still, it was a very cool thing to do. After the Chinese Bridge competition I got in touch with a friend who’s previously organized gigs for a few Finnish bands in China (Yang Wang), and he’s a man of  many contacts and helped me get in touch with some other friendly people, who helped me put together a small “China tour”. In practice it meant three gigs in Shandong province (Zaozhuang, Tengzhou, Lanling), one more in Tianjin and another one “back home” in Beijing (at good old Blue Stream).

It was a very cool experience and I hope to do it again next summer, with hopefully a few more gigs. Here’s one picture to show that it actually happened:

山东兰陵第1216号咖啡馆 1

China in Finland at Malmitalo, November 14

“China in Finland” was originally a vision of mine that was in the works for quite some time. It was in March 2015 that the venue was finally booked and the date was decided. So, what exactly was (or, rather, is) “China in Finland”?

It was a few years back when I had the idea for a concert that would be a true Chinese-Finnish cooperation on all levels, with the organizers, performers and audiences all being ideally 50/50 Chinese and Finnish. The concept quickly moved from a concert towards an evening of performing arts, with Wusheng Company (the first ever Peking opera group in Europe) booked as the main act. Other performers included many talented young Chinese musicians living in Finland as well as a vocal ensemble from the Vaskivuori Upper Secondary School. I also performed, and was especially delighted to have the chance to perform one of my songs with my brother Jussi.

Of course, I wasn’t alone in putting the show together. From the very beginning, the Finland-China Society (Suomi-Kiina-seura) and the Chinese student organization CSSA-UH were very supportive of the idea and also became the main forces behind it. The newly founded Finnish China Alumni also helped out towards the end. The event was a success, with Malmitalo being sold out and the feedback has been very positive. And the next event is already in the talks…

A few pictures for you:

And a few news articles about the event: on the Chinese Embassy website and Xinhua online.

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