It’s been a few months since Käärijä rocked the Eurovision stage in Liverpool and took Europe by storm with his anthem Cha cha cha. In this post, our Communications Officer, Ela Suleymangil, shares what it’s like to live in a Käärijä-dominated Europe and why she is so excited he’s coming to Belgium!
Sitting in the back of an Antwerp taxi with my dog – yes, having not taken a single taxi during my nine years in Belgium, I find myself taking a taxi because of my anxious dog. We are on our way to Rivierenhof, one of the many beautiful parks that sits just outside the ring of Antwerp.
Suddenly, a familiar beat comes on the radio. “Pidän kaksin käsin kiinni juomista niinku Cha, cha, cha, cha, cha, cha, cha…” I know this. Well, I know the song, but I don’t know the lyrics word for word. My colleagues have told me the gist of it. A lot of drinking is involved.
“Oh my god! They are playing Cha cha cha by Käärijä! This is Finland’s Eurovision song!!” I excitedly squeal at my mum, who is visiting me and sat in the front seat. She looks back at me, unfazed.
For someone who hasn’t watched Eurovision since I was a teen, I am extremely excited about this. I look at the taxi driver’s face in the rearview mirror to see if there are any signs of recognition. Nothing. Ok, but hey, they are playing a song in Finnish on the Belgian radio, and it’s been over a month since the Eurovision frenzy ended. This is epic!
“If you haven’t yet, now is the right time to listen to Cha cha cha by Käärijä. For the first time ever, a song written in #Finnish language tops the global list on Spotify. Not bad for a language with 5 million native speakers!” shared This is Finland on Twitter on the 15th of May.
I have been working at the Finnish Cultural Institute for the past year and a half and Finnishness, at least Finnish arts and culture is part of my every day now. And having filmed many minutes of footage over the last months of my colleagues dancing and pumping their fists to the words Cha Cha Cha, I feel quite connected to the green Finnish phenomenon that is Käärijä.
Having narrowly missed out on the top spot at the Eurovision song contest, Käärijä definitely won the hearts of the people (including mine!) and not just in Finland, receiving the top public vote on the night. In an interview with Dutch-speaking radio station StuBru (Studio Brussels), radio presenter Eva De Roo and her colleague enthusiastically invited the singer to come to Belgium this summer. And it seems that Käärijä has obliged! Last week he announced his European tour dates, starting in Sweden on the 14th of October, and ending in London on the 23rd of October, the 8 stop tour will be landing in Belgium too! Käärijä will meet his fans at Trix in Antwerp on the 18th of October. The news was announced in Dutch-language newspapers HLN (Het Laatste Nieuws), Het Nieuwsblad and GVA (Gazet van Antwerpen).
“Those who want to sing along will have to work hard on their Finnish. He sings in his native language” writes Het Nieuwsblad.
Well, we know somewhere you can start learning…
Tickets for Käärijä at Trix go on sale on the 13th of July at 10:00 CET. See you there?
Photo: Eurovision – Käärijä from Finland attending the Turquoise Carpet event at St. George’s Hall, Liverpool. Photo: Sarah Louise Bennett – EBU