Monday, December 21, 2009

Finnish culture...

It's not all that often that we encounter things from Finland here in Portland. So imagine my surprise when we're on our way to our weekly date-night with Tove, and our baby-sitter is gushing about this adorable and wonderful Finnish YouTube video.. She apparently have been watching it three or four times a day for the last few days (weeks?), laughing hysterically.

I'm intrigued by this notion, so I look it up, and notice that I am very late to an internet phenomenon. The thing in question is Armi & Danny's "I Want to Love You Tender", which has apparently been a big hit on youtube for several years now.

Now, people who aren't from Finland may not realize the whole depth of that video. To an outsider, it may look like some highschool musical number with particularly inept dancing. It's funny, yes, but you go on to watch keyboard cat and dramatic chipmunk.

But to somebody from Finland, the first reaction is "I recognize that tune". The second reaction is "Oh, it's them!". That's not some inept highschool musical number, that's one of the most beloved Finnish entertainers ever! Ok, so the version you hear in Finland is in Finnish, and the above is the English version - and Finns back in the seventies weren't really all that good at English. That explains some of it.

When I grew up, the Swedes had ABBA and Björn Borg. The Finns had Armi ja Danny. Really.

Now I just find myself wishing that we'd have Finnish meal-pouches with musical accompaniments. "Rudolf in a Bag" MRE's (reindeer meat with lingonberries) with Armi and Danny on BluRay.

Although I'm not sure I could take the concentrated awesomeness that is "I Want to Love You Tender" in glorious HD. Maybe it's safer in that low-quality YouTube version.


Anonymous said...

You are really reaching for nostalgia there my friend. Maybe you should keep this alive there in Portland, just do your best to make sure it doesn't become a hit here in Seattle, I might die :)

Alan said...

We now know what to get you for Christmas.

Unknown said...

Hi Linus.

Have you seen Loituma's Ievan Polkka?
Its another Finnish big hit on youtube worldwide. (I love that song :-) )



Tom said...

That is just a Star Trek exercise video to me ..

Linus said...

Alan: don't get me wrong. I do not like Finnish music. When I said "Swedes had ABBA and Björn Borg, Finns had Armi ja Danny", I meant it very much in a "most Finns felt like the Swedes had somehow gotten the better deal" sense.

It was (and still is) a big deal when there were any Finland-vs-Sweden athletics competitions. Especially ice hockey, but the yearly "Finnkampen" (kind of a "local summer olympics between Finland and Sweden" thing) was/is big.

Whenever Finland wins it, it makes up for ABBA and Björn Borg. For a few days, at least.

goose said...

Um, I'm from the South East US, and I actually thought that the song was pretty decent. The video is bad, but in the same way just about every video at the time was bad (wardrobe, set, special effects, dancing), but it really could have been a whole lot worse.

Harrison said...

yeah well.. don't complain much, at least you have mustamakkara! and that delicious reindeer meat and many winter delicacies!

and apart of food, the music now a days is awesome in Suomi. In Spain the music sucked and sucks..

Mingos said...

I never realised it was a classic Finnish band from the ABBA days. I listened to the music and thought, damn, this is such a shameless copy from Smokie's "I'll meet you at midnight" :D Seriously tho, it's not a bad tune at all. It's just the video that's cheesy :D

@Harrison: Spanish music doesn't suck, it's just that the most prominent bands suck big time. But dig a little deeper and you'll find true pearls... just don't let them sing in English ("con las ingles" - © Risto Meji(o)de, hahaha!)

Erbo said...

The video looks very 70's to me, kind of campy. But they have great voices, and the song itself is not bad. I may see if I can download the track to put on my iPhone alongside Nylon Beat's "Sex While A Taxi Ride" and "Africa At Night."

Speaking of Finnish culture...I recently ran across some material on YouTube that's both bizarre and fun. It's a show called Kuorosota (loose translation: "Choir Battle"), in which Finnish musical personalities assemble choirs from different parts of Finland and they compete kind of like a choral version of American Idol, doing covers of a number of different songs, in both Finnish and English. Some of the performances I saw are pretty darn good. Search "Kuorosota" on YouTube and you'll be able to find a LOT of material, which you'd probably get more out of than I can. (My ex-wife, currently in Kemi and soon moving to Vaasa, watches that show, too.)

Valentine said...

Oh my goodness. That is so embarrassing.

Alan said...

Could be worse. Someone could get you a copy of "Brandy" for Christmas. "Lordi" might be better.

Vitls said...

Many Finnish metal groups are popular in Russia. I think, the first place belongs to The Nightwish (with Tarja Turunen), and of course, Loituma's Ievan Polkka. It is just brain explosion.

Erbo said...

Vitaliy, Nightwish has considerable popularity in the USA as well. I had the honor of attending their most recent concert here in Denver, and the house was packed. Of course, this was with their new lead singer, Anette Olzon, but she does perform a lot of the older material, too. Sonata Arctica also draws good crowds in America, to name another popular Finnish metal band.

Anonymous said...

Holy hotchicks from hell, that's great!! The lead female singer is definitely following Olivia Newton-John's lead during those days. Besides, the blond in front among the dancers should be renamed Swivel-hips. She's hot!

Thanks Linus, I needed this.

Jet said...

Your blog is very nice :) .I really like it !
Merry X'mas !

Welcome to my website : This is a website where have a lot of beautiful wallpapers . Especially , all free !!!!

Diego Viola said...

Merry Christmas Linus! :D

Vitls said...

Happy birthday. Linus.
And.. thank you for Linux.

Hormold said...

Happy birthday!!
I wish you all the best! Good luck! You're the best!
Thank you for Linux!

P.S. Hello from Russia!

David said...

Apocalyptica, Children of Bodom, HIM, Immortal Souls, Loituma (Internet hit only), Lordi, Nightwish, Sinergy, Sonata Arctica, Stratovarius, Warmen... that's some of the Finnish bands I can name doing a quick search on Wikipedia. They are very popular internationally (at least in Spain where I am).
BTW, happy birthday Linus!

Pablo Sebastian Colombo (Totito) said...

Linus! Happy Birthday!! best regards from Argentina!

Кои VIII-ой said...

Thanx for your system!
From Russia with lowe (not gay)
Remember about Detcy Mir by 80's in Moscow - it's fun, i know too :)

Unknown said...

And of course there's nothing like learning how to disco from a Finish guy:
Classic! LOL!

Unknown said...


Yes we had ABBA and Borg but you had M. A. Numminen and SISU! Loved it when you kicked our asses in the hockey rink just because you just HAD to beat the sweadish team.

Happy new year to you and your loved ones from a grateful swede.
Christer at

Sahachiel said...

Thx for designing the most beautiful idea, regarding OS's... i hope you have a happy new year and a happy b-day. Salutations from mexico

alvaro said...

Hey Linus, happy birthday!

sintecho76 said...

Happy birthday, Linus.

The only gift I can make you reach is my personal gratitude for having started and provide continuity for the best OS.

Greetings from Spain.

Diego Viola said...

Happy birthday Linus :)

Unknown said...


Sweden may have ABBA, but Finland has Simo Häyhä, Paavo Nurmi, and ... uhhh ... Matti Nykänen.

OK, let's just think about Simo and Paavo. :)

Another lovely slice of Finnish culture that has become somewhat viral is the Learn To Disco video. Give it a watch.

Oh, and hyvää syntymäpäivää! Onneksiolkoon!

I'll be in PDX for OSCon. Get in touch and I'll make sure I bring you some salmiakkikossu as a belated present. :)

Nähdään myöhemmin.

shentino said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
reine said...

Happy birthday Linus and (extended worldwide), family!. Linux, Floss world domination.....already!.

Jack Knife said...

Happy birthday, Linus! I wish you as small amount of bugs in life and in the kernel as possible. Keep up the great work!

Unknown said...

happy b'day l,

may i post this link? i think it would interest your fans:

btw, was rms really your muse?

happy holidays,


Unknown said...

Happy birthday, linus...thanks god for your great efforts for linux. you are one of my inspirations in life. many thanks to you.

Unknown said...

Happy birthday, Linus!

I'd like to thank you so, so much, for supporting the freedom of Choice, and for providing the foundation for one of the most revolutionary movements and pieces of software in the history of mankind.

Also, I hope had a great big cake and enjoyed it.

P.S. Have you learned to like Root Beer yet?

rissajeanne said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
rissajeanne said...

Happy belated birthday. =)

mr.Kodirov said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
mr.Kodirov said...

Hello from Uzbekistan!
Tnx for GNU/Linux :)
I love Debian Lenny

P.S. Happy birthday!

IceMaiden said...

Hey there Linus,

Came to your blog from Wikipedia. Belated happy bday! :)


Portal Job Info said...

Dear Sir Linus Rorvalds,

Could you posting your news info about Linux in our community on
I'm really hope waiting you answer immediately.
Thx for your attention.


Anonymous said...

Good to see ARMI and DANNY mentioned in Linus' blogg.

Anonymous said...

Good to see ARMI and Danny mentioned in Linus' family blog!

Unknown said...

Hey Linus,

I'm sure you probably are aware already, but just in case you are not, there is a Finn store in Astoria, Oregon... It's a short drive to the coast for you... "Finn Ware". We order Finnish things from there...

All the best!

Robin K. said...

I'm surprised nobody has mentioned the no love tender lost mashup of the I Want To Love You Tender song and Joy Divison's No Love Lost. It's pretty cute in parts.

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Since the dawn of civilization the good thinking and all that is good are culture. It is complete picture of life. It represents what we do in our daily life. Language ,music,ideas about what is bad and good,ways of working and playing, and the tools and other objects made and used by people in the society-all these are part of a society’s culture. Cultures vary from society to society or country to country.

dsavi said...

Jag är glad att jag är född på nittio-talet. Jag har fortfarande ingen aning om vem dom här "Armi ja Danny" är och jag vill inte ha det heller.

Gleno said...

Holy crap, it's like Lawrence Welk and Abba had a baby and it was that video.

Was anyone really that awkward and innocent?

Thanks for posting.

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