May 21, 2013

394/917 Vesa-Matti Loiri: Huilumies (Finland 1980)

After a very controversial local selection procedure Finland chose one of the most loved actors, comedians and singers to represent it's colours in Hague in 1980. The 394th Eurosong was composed by the celebrated songwriter Aarno Raninen (who had composed the Finnish entry three years back) and on paper it looked very promising indeed. In reality the hopes were not that high.


Vesa-Matti Loiri was, and still is, one of the most popular actors in Finland. He became also famous as a singer of old poetry set to contemporary music. Apart from this he also is a competent jazz flutist. This versatility of talents was vey useful when he was asked to participate in the Finnish selection of the Eurovision Song Contest in 1980 with a song Huilumies (= The flute man), which combined schlager and jazz tunes with a hint of comedy added. 

The two part selection in Finland caused loud outcry as the people's favourite artists and songs failed to proceed from the semifinal to the final. The lineup of the final consisted of more artsy and jazzy songs, none of which were worthy of the international final (according to the loudest protesters). When Vesa-Matti Loiri was chosen, the general public was unanimous, Finland was not to expect high points in the international final.

Despite of this Vesa-Matti Loiri and his backing team managed to put some fire on the final performance, which is much better than the version in the Finnish selection or on the record. The song is well arranged and the conductor Ossi Runne is clearly enjoying himself during the instrumental break (check the video above from 2:00 on). Hardly no-one was surprised, that Finland received its fourth last place.

To me time has healed the wounds and the performance by the team Finland is fun to watch and to listen to. The last place in Hague did nothing to Vesa-Matti Loiri's career, he continues to act and sing to this day to enthusiastic audience.

My points 2/5.

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