Stephan Meier - Satumaa (fairyland) (VHS)
On the road with the
"Lasse Santakangas Ensemble"
hach, if i could only one time ever get
into this fairyland, then i would never
fly away from it like any bird.
but without wings it-s not
possible for me to fly,
i am a prisoner of this earth.
The tango "Satumaa" (fairyland), that Unto Mononen composed and texted in 1955 developed over the years into the
secret national anthem of finnland. the wish, to leave this dark and frosty country must be burned deep into the souls
of its inhabitants. in nearly every jukebox - you will find the most famous version of "Satumaa", that forest worker
Reijo Taipale recorded in 1962. but still today "Satumaa" can be found in many repertoires of young punk and rock bands
(for example the band Kumikameli recorded it 1996)..
While The Lasse Santakangas Ensemble considered the central-european tango after world war two only to serve an escapistic
sentimental exotic und to survived if at all as a rhythmic pattern, tango in finnland became it-s very own genre with very important social and cultural functions. the tangos that got composed after the war with their finnish texts became a
substitue language within the culture of quiet, to communicate about difficult topics like love, happyness, worries and
It seems that the tango found a new home in finnland, though you can hardly recognize its roots. no filigran bandoneon, that "mourns and coughs and while setting aggressive accents" but the weary five row knob-accordeon cries and comforts. the is no syncopes. all tangos are played in minor chords. and the dance of the couples is far from any erotic or obscenity, no "forever fight between man and woman making love" , but a melancholic with eachother, sharing the knowledge that all are "prisoners of earth".
The finnish tango tells its stories about the lost paradise, the worries of life, the loss and disappointment and the dream
that the suffering ends. no "sad thought, that you can dance", but a sad life, that has to be lived inspite.
No tourist will ever find it-s way to Somero, in the southwest of finnland. it is located absolutely off the beaten tracks, the highways and is a plain rural village. but the main drag is not decorated with beautifull woodhouses coated in red paint, its all baracks and cemented flat buildings. they stand around like dice randomly thrown and leave alot of space for vast oily, muddy, watery lots. nevertheless this little village embodies finnish music history, as the finnish composer of tango Unto Mononen lived there, second well known after Toivo Kärki. he composed and texted "Satumaa" (the fairyland) in this very village. and there did he shoot himself dead after alcoholic excesses in the year 1968.
"Lasse Santakangas Ensemble" originates from Somero as well. it consist of 5 musicians and a singeress, who all work in other non artist-professions as well, if they are not pensioneers. every summer they get on the road and play in every village, on little festivals and in the backrooms of bars and restaurants. their repertoire is mainly finnish tango, and they are specialized in the compositions of Unto Mononen. the accordeonist Lasse Santakangas was born 1927 and had his 60ies band anniversary in 2202. his daughter Kaija sings and his grandson Markus plays the drums. the three musicians of the Santakanga family are joined by Aarne Tuomola playing guitars, Erkki Aalto on bass and Teuvo Ihanus, born in 1932, playing the second accordeon.
The film shows a very intimate portrait of the musicians and has them tell their tales about their lives, their music and last not least, talk about the melancholia of the finnish tango. the tango is the blues of the finnish people.
The Lasse Santakangas Ensemble plays tango from Finland
Lasse Santakanga - accordion
Teuvo Ihanus - accordion
Kaja Santakangas - vocals
Aarne Tuomola - guitar
Erkki Alto - bass
Markus Santakangas - drums
A film from: Stepfan Meier
Kamera: Bernd Schuller
Cut: Marcel Belledin
Production: Körnerstrasse Film
PAL, Duration ca. 30 Min
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