Finland’s representative in this year’s Eurovision Song Contest Pertti Kurikan Nimipäivät (PKN) is a punk band with a lot of attitude, and Autism, or Down syndrome.
As their 2012 documentary The Punk Syndrome says, “This time you’re allowed to stare and wonder why they act the way they do.” The band put their feelings to music, and write their own songs, like the Eurovision entry ‘Aina mun pitaa’ (Always I have to). They sing and shout their criticisms of society, and treatment of the disabled, loud and clear. Their lyrics are about life with learning disabilities, like being annoyed at what they are told to do, having to live in a shelter for the disabled, or face dismissive attitudes. They critique politicians and people whose attitudes towards people with disabilities need improvement. Well, punk is not dead, but this band from the margins of the Finnish society is all over the internet, and soon in your telly, too. Genuine, political, and awesome.
The band’s origins trace back to a charity workshop, Lyhty ry, that serves people with learning disabilities. Their big break came when their song Kallio! (traditionally a working class area of Helsinki) featured in a Finnish movie called Vähän kunnioitusta (A little respect), which tells the story of Siiri, a young girl who wants to live an independent and ‘normal’ life despite having learning disabilities. They have performed in the biggest rock festivals of their country, toured in Europe, and recently won a prestigious Uuden Musiikin Kilpailu, competition for new music, and a chance to represent Finland in the Eurovision decided by public phone-in vote.
PKN are no strangers to Sheffield and you can see excerpts of their visit to DocFest and their 2013 tour below:
Their 2013 UK tour visited Sheffield:
Constant Flux created the opportunity with funding from Arts Council England for a band at the forefront of the UK’s learning disability music scene, Zombie Crash, to undertake an integrated UK tour with one of the best examples of learning disability music in the world, Pertti Kurikan Nimipäivät (PKN) from Finland.
The tour ran from October 1st – October 5th 2013, visiting London, Leeds, Sheffield & Brighton. The successes, failures and (overwhelmingly positive) feedback can be read in the full Tour Evaluation.
Hidden Perspectives cannot wait to see Pertti Kurikka, and his bandmates perform in the Semi-Final 1, on Tuesday 19th May 2015.
Watch their Eurovision entry performance, and their interview here:
More articles about the band can be found here:
By Minna Shkul