Kontula Electronic

MOIKA!

The weekend of the 21th there was a Electronic festival going on in Kontula. During these days music was playing around the area, activities and other performances were there to entertain the people of Kontula. This project is mainly made for bringing the people together, to bring joy to the area and to encourage the positieve vibe in Kontula and in the people living there.

We all know that Kontula has a bad name in Helsinki that’s why the makers of this project want to make something that helps their name give a positieve connotation again. These assumptions are made on only the bad news from the area but there are also a lot of good things going on here. That’s why we wanted to write a blog about this event. We saw the joy in people’s eyes relive again. We didn’t witness any thing that could have been seen as a crime. People were just enjoying this moment, and enjoying their neighbours. It was very nice to see. The people in Kontula talk much to strangers, what I think is very nice. They are not narrow-minded at all.

We also thought that it fits quite good with social work. It doesn’t always have to be about discrimination, racism, or other cultural problems, but now it’s really about a city that gets a bad name and reputation. People all over Helsinki know this place and know that it has a bad connotation next to it. We think this event is a really good thing, because it gives colour to the darkness.

Music brings people together, that’s we know for sure.

MUSIC IN KONTULA

There was a lot going on these day’s in Kontula but the main thing was electronic music. There were some amazing artists playing on the festival, not only from Finland but also some great international musicians. It was nice to hear how during the day there was some music playing outside around the shopping centre. And it was also fantastic to see how people really reacted on that. They came together, talked to each other, dunk some beers,… You could see how people were having fun. There was a very happy atmosphere and a lot of people seemed to enjoy the event.

There was a good sound and we thought it was a nice warm up for the rest of the evening. At the bars later in the evening the music was really good and you could see that is was appreciated by the crowd. There was a lot of people and the bars were very full.

Then we went to another bar called Patajäkä, a smaller bar but really good atmosphere, people were dancing. There was a catchy vibe and nice songs. You saw people having talks with friends and strangers, what was really pleasant to see. We saw persons connecting with each other and also with us. What we truly thought was amazing. A lot of easy going but different people coming together to have a drink and to dance on the vibes.

We think that the bars were full of nice people. The prejudice that Finnish people drink a lot, is a bit true. That is really a sad thing we think, but also a bit funny. In my opinion it’s also a bit weird that so many people drink so much, and some start quite early as well in the day. I mean: it costs a lot of money, but still they don’t really care that much about it and spend it to that. Besides next to the drinking, it’s amazing what kind of an effect Electro music had in Kontula. Everybody enjoyed it. For me, if somebody is listening to Electro music, he or she is a bit alternative and therefore knows about the problems going on in the city, country or world. We thought that was a very pleasant thought that more people are aware of the bigger picture. Maybe one day the world will go into a nice place.

After that we went to see the two bands in the skate hall underneath our youth hosue. The first band called “Rainbowlicker” a Finnish band who gave a strong live performance. The music was very good both; the instrumental as the singing was really powerful. And we thought the venue was amazing, really a cool place to have a live concert! The sound and the acoustic in the place was also good. After that it was “Stylish Nonsense”, a band form Thailand, his turn to preform and put the skate hall on fire. We thought in the beginning it was a little weird but after a while we start to get the music more. The band doesn’t have his name stolen and we thought it represented the type of music they perform. Whatever that kind of music was, it was very experimental but I wound not call it actual nonsense. The mix between electronical music and alternative rock was something different and we heard that they never play a similar concert, we really could believe that.

 

Even something for the smaller kids

At Saturday there was more activities to do during the day. In the afternoon kids could come to the youth house in Kontula, were we did our internship, to be part of the kids disco. The party had a five year old DJ who was playing and it was amazing to see her! The children had a really good time and danced a lot on the music. Later on, they also could test how to be a DJ by playing some music themselves, and they made a little karaoke where everybody was signing along. It was so nice to see them have fun. A snack and a drink were provided!

We think it’s a very good idea that they do something for the smaller kids as well. Because everything is mostly for the youngsters or the adults. We thought a 5 year old DJ was also something very cool to do! Although we didn’t see her that much… She ate some popcorn and hide somewhere, that was really funny. Her father took over and did a very good job! We think he is very proud of his little girl.

 

Activities and workshops

Beside the fascinating and innovating music, there were a lot of activities where people could participate. These activities weren’t always about the music, it was also about talking to each other about philosophical things and about the Kontula area. And one activity had as a goal to realise that woman are still denigrating in society.

MAKING MUSIC

In the Youth house in Kontula there were some workshops who learned people how to make music from old toys who make some sound and from coding.

The first workshop that took place on Friday the 21th, was made by a collaboration between Mehackit and Codebus Africa. We have met Tommi Toivonen and Jukka Eerikäinen, who gave us a very nice explanation about the working of Mehackit and what they do. They use the programme Sonic Pi to learn the youth and adults how to make some music by using a specific code.. For this workshop they worked together with Codebus Africa. Codebus Africa is a 100-day project all around in Africa, as a celebration of the 100th years independence celebration.

I thought it was a bit weird that they learned kids how to make electro music in Africa. The organizers from this project even said that some children had never seen a computer before in their lives. I think that must have been amazing for this child to see it in his or her life, but at the other hand: is it really this that we need to learn them? Is it so that we have to learn them something that they can do for only 100 days, never to do again untill they have the money and circumstanes of having or owning an computer and be able to do something with the making of the music?

Both the workshops were really interesting. I mean, it’s a different way of making music. And the people just loved it in Kontula! We think it’s nice that using a code or an old toy can create some decent music. Although we found it a bit weird but we think this is essential for electronic music. Electronic music is just something totally different than jazz of blues, rock or metal. You really have to hear and feel it, to understand it. We really liked it!

SAUNA AND SPINNING ON THE KONTULA-SQUARE

In front of the Youth house there was a sauna where people could have a philosophical discussion about multiculturality, ‘How to be a good neighbour?’,  and love. The conversations were already going on while we arrived, so we didn’t take part of it. I really think this is too bad because we thought this was really a nice idea. Also with the morning yoga, sounded really inspiring! We also thought it was nice that they had an philosophical corner, it gives a little bit more consciousness in the area.

A bit further there was an activity that spread the awareness about the status of woman in society. There is a song playing, and we think that the text was being translated on a big scream. In front of the scream there were 3 exercises bikes, so that the people could ride, read and listen at the same time. I wonder if there was only this subject, or also other subjects. Because this would have been very nice to show some problems that are living around the city. If people can get aware of a problem, others might react on it and prevent it to happen again. Around the people who were biking, there were people just listening to the songs and getting aware. That was really nice to see! By doing this activity they try to keep the people informed about the problems living in society and in Kontula. We think that creating awareness is a good step in the direction.

We think the title was something like:’’ let’s pedal Finland back into shape.’’

We think it’s very good that there is something like this spinning thing. I mean, showing the problems of society in an project where the area wants to get a good name. That is really good! It’s good that people know what is playing in other people’s lives. If everybody unites, we can change the world!

While we were walking in Kontula, we saw a big map of Kontula. We thought that was a really good idea, because we wanted to see the Museum of Impossible Sounds and Visions. But had no idea where to find it. We looked at the schedule but we didn’t understand that much Finnish, so we were quite lost. That’s why we would maybe advice to give some information in English as well, so that other cultures can fully enjoy of this event.

URBAN TRANSFORMATION MUSEUM

That’s also why we were pleasantly surprised when we came in the Museum. First it wasn’t a museum like you would visualize yourself. After searching the place for quite some time, we arrived in a room where five people were talking to each other and a group of people listening.  We had no idea we entered a room where they had a discussion about ‘What will happen and is happening to Kontula?’. One of the speakers was from Belgium, so we were surprised by that as well! Their discussion was really interesting. It talked about the changes in Kontula, the similarities and differences in comparison to Helsinki and Kallio for example.

They are seeing some changes in Kontula, that maybe aren’t for the best. Like for example: the banks have already left the area and the post office will leave in one year, what will be the consequences of this for Kontula? I mean, if you want to make a complaint, you have to go the whole way to the police station. The people will have to be more mobile, and go further to get to their service needed. Or they could do it over the internet, but the older people could maybe not get there. Also they saw that it made it change into an area with (groceries)shops, restaurants and bars.

We didn’t stay until the end of this conversation, although this was a really nice event. It talked about problems and solutions for this place, with people talking who studied the Helsinki area. It was also in English, so we thought that was really go. If something is in English, other cultural (minority) citizens could’ve come there and really participate to make the city a tint again.  It was wear dreary so everybody could just attend to that. I think this is really a good thing in Kontula Electro, because besides the nice music, the friendly people and the good food; these moments really helps this area getting better.

VEGE FOOD

In the old post office, Whanda Postti, you could get some vegetarian food that was really good! We were so hungry and only find some hamburgers in the Helmi Grillin Terassi and thought no were else you could get some food. But lucky this charming place offered us a tasty meal! I was amazed by the tastes and was really full when done. We think that in Finland you can really see that some people eat vegetarian food or even eat vegan. In the shops there is a shell for vege- and vegan food. You even have some restaurants only for vegetarian meals.

We took some Mini-taco’s and the curry meal. It was really good! In the curry meal, there were a lot of beans. I never ate them that much in Belgium, because we don’t have much recepies with them; but here I eat them often, and we both really like them! Especially with a red sauce like tomato or something spicy.

We thought it was a really nice idea to make some event for that purpose and in an area like this. We think Kontula is an area where there are a lot of cultures together, and that is a very good thing. Multiversity is good so that we can learn to live together, appreciate the differences and have some fun together! What we maybe did think about, was maybe making an event in Kontula Area where you could find any type of music or food, linked to their culture. Also because we thought that there were a lot of Finnish people in the bars, and not that much different nationalities, although we know they are here.

Still we think that the goal has been achieved, and that it really was nice for all the inhabitants of Kontula to have a place like this. The event took place in the middle of the centre, so that the people living around it, doesn’t have any complaints about the loud music in the night for example. It was really a good place to bring the people together, and enjoy the music and activities!  We hope that in long term period, this really makes a change in the name of Kontula!

A cultural change?

We were thinking about maybe organizing some cultural event, next to the Kontula Electronic. The Electo-event is very good to get the people together, to get them to know each other a bit more and just to let the city live. Also it’s good for the bars and restaurants. But this is not so good for the city, because in the museum of impossible sounds and visions, we heard that it’s not so good that Kontula will be an urban place, maybe it should stay like a city. Most of the people of Kontula agree with this.

We think that there weren’t that much people with another cultural background getting to the event, and that maybe it hasn’t that one ingredient missing to get them also included. What could you do more for social inclusion?

Just like in our internship they try to include everybody by making some special food, like for example; during the kontula Electronic, there were some people in the Youth house making some Afghanistan food. Johannes thought it was really good.

So maybe there could be still some coming together with the people of Kontula, to see what they really need. And it’s important that the minorities of Kontula can participate. I think it must be hard to get the minority in the group and to give them a voice. But they really need it and actually it’s for the best for everybody!

 

 Johannes Vanneste & Deborah Boon

~Love and Unity is the key ~

 

 

The Northern Lights

What pictures come to your mind when you think about Finland? Maybe green forests, a lot of beautiful lakes, crazy Finns and the NORTHERN LIGHTS? Forests, lakes and Finns are easy to find here but to find the northern lights was more difficult than we thought. Probably nearly everybody has seen some fascinating pictures with the beautiful green and purple lights in the sky, but what is the reason for this beautiful spectacle of the nature? The bright dancing lights of the aurora are actually collisions between electrically charged particles from the sun that enter the earth’s atmosphere. The lights are seen above the magnetic poles of the northern and southern hemispheres. So Finland is one of the places to see them!

Now we want to tell you about our quest in search to see the sky enlighten colourful.

First, in the middle of February Samuel and Grégory went to Lapland to discover the beauty of nature. They tried to catch northern lights but it was too cloudy. Every time again they tried to see the spectacle outside, days after days they lost their patience to catch them. Apparently Rovaniemi has too much light pollution and the weather was really bad to see the northern lights at that time. Grégory and Samuel’s last day in Lapland were even more disappointing because they had heard that at the last night some people in the north were able to see it. When eventually Grégory and Samuel came back to Kiljava, explaining their experiences with some of the Finnish students, they’ve been told that there is a possibility to catch some of the northern lights here in Kiljava as well!

Later, in the middle of march 9 fellow students went to Rovaniemi again. They all had a lot of different plans on doing something in Kiljava, but one thing was in common – they wanted to see the northern lights! In the weeks before the trip they were all sure: they would see them! Some of them downloaded apps on their mobile phones explaining that the probability would be high on the weekend, so they planned to go. Assuming if the app said exactly that, then it must be true? In the days before the trip the weather forecast showed cloudy skies. Meaning that it isn’t good for seeing the lights. So for the first night, standing outside, on a frozen lake, with ‘sooo’ many clothes on, the only thing they could see, was… the sky. A normal black sky, that everyone can see everywhere during the night. Sometimes someone said “ahh look there!”, but it was nothing special. It was slightly disappointing but all hopes were focused on the last night of the trip. The weather forecast back then showed that the skies were about to be clear and so there was no reason to become desperate. They had a lot of hope on seeing the lights that last night.

At the last night it was -10 degrees, the sky was clear and they were full of hope but also in expectation to get disappointed. Maybe the positive thoughts in their minds felt also a little bit cold and because of that they weren’t that motivated to be outside for nothing again. So, the last try in Lapland started as followed: Tessy was standing there with her camera (she made all the beautiful pictures we used in this post), Brian used music on his mobile phone to add some sphere and some people started to dance a little bit to get warm. And yes, there was something green at the horizon, but really it was not much. “Really? That’s all? Should we be happy, because we’ve seen anything? Or is it okay to be disappointed?” Tessy made a lot of pictures, but the pictures showed more than you can see with your own eyes. They waited a while with the hope to see better results, but it stayed a really dim light at the horizon. After a while we went inside before we would become ice blocks. Somebody said, that in the next week the probability is high to see the lights in Kiljava, so there was some hope left to see them later.

 

A few days after the journey to Lapland, everyone back at home, Mieke sent in our WhatsApp goup: “We see the northern light now!!!”, Brian: “WAKE UP AND COME”, everybody was soo excited, you could hear the people running, everybody wanted to see them. All ran to the roof and there was something to see, but not so much as expected after this big excitement.

 

A day later it was exact the same. That night the whatsapp message was in dutch: “NOORDERLICHT!!! NOORDERLICHT!!!…” The people started running again and yes – it was the night with the nicest lights for us. Now you could see them definitely. The funny part is, because of excitement, Grégory jumped out of his room and totally forgot his keys inside. It was just after taking a shower, so he stood outside with only his towel. Really… freezing!! Finnish people laughed a lot when they saw Grégory standing at the reception, asking for the key of his door, with only his towel around his waist!

But the Northern lights are really beautiful, just be careful you don’t end up as Grégory…

 

Written by Grégory Voltz and Antonia Koch 🙂

 

 

Music of Finland

Many of us are music lovers, that’s why we want to take you on a trip through the different genres of music that are related to the history of Finland, or those who are widespread in Finnish culture.

Finnish Folk

Finnish folk music is influenced a lot by Karelian tunes. Basically Karelia is an area divided between Finland and Russia. Karelian music is regarded as the purest expression of Finnish music, less influenced by Germanic and other outside elements.

Karelian music in itself is strongly linked to the Kalevala which is a 19th-century work of epic poetry compiled from Karelian and Finnish oral folklore and mythology.
Most of the Karelian tunes are composed with the Kantele, which is a traditional plucked string instrument.

Finnish music is also influenced by the Sami people. They are the native people of Lapland, living between Finland, Sweden, Norway and Russia. Their music is unique because they use the “Yoik”. It is a traditional form of singing, considered an art form. The sound of “Yoik” is comparable to the traditional chanting of some Native American cultures. It always has a link with a person, a place or the nature. These songs are most of the time highly spiritual and do not have lots of lyrics or rhymes and have no definite structure. They are all about a topic that the singer wants to sing about. In the Northern areas of Scandinavia and Russia, each person often has their own “Yoik”. Sometimes given at birth as a symbol of live.

example of the yoik

Sami folk music

Also, something really Finnish is the Humppa. This kind of music is related to jazz and very fast foxtrot, played two beats to a bar with instruments such as tuba or accordion. The humppa becomes also the name of the famous social dance in Finland. Humppa literally meaning the social dance. All these dances are strong based and have good rhythm to dance on. The dance itself has three forms, the one-step, the two-step and the “Nilkku”. The last one is based on slow/quick/slow rhythm.

Metal and Rock culture

A reason why some of us came to Finland was because of the love for metal and rock music, Finland is THE perfect country for that. A lot of famous metal bands are Finnish, and that kind of music here is quite widespread in the society. We realised that more often even people that don’t listen to metal music have a basic knowledge of it.

Generally, Finnish metal music is really emotionally deep, it gives us goose bumps.
We don’t know why metal music is so common here, but we talked with people in order to answer that question. They responded that maybe it’s because Finnish people are culturally shy, even if we don’t think so, and metal music allow them to let their feelings out in an easier way.

We went to Nosturi, which is a concert hall in Helsinki. There was a famous Finnish band playing, Korpiklaani. They sing mainly in Finnish language, using instruments such as the accordion or the violin. Their lyrics are about nature, alcohol and also spirituality. That’s because the lead singer lived for a few years among a Sami tribe in Lapland, so he was really close to nature, he used to try to communicate with the wolves by imitating their howling. Even now, he is part of another band, more folk music oriented, that uses the “Yoik” way of singing.

and many more concerts will follow 😀

 

Made by The Amazing Sam and The Terrific Brian

We do not own any of the showed video’s or songs that are used in this blog.

 

 

One day in Kiljava

Sun is up – the view from our living room 🙂

Our day start at 8:50 am respectively for those who can survive without coffee. Almost all the alarms start to sound now. So, you can hear how the people start to run to be on time in class. It is time to wake up, have breakfast, get dressed, brush your teeth, pick up the backpack. Maybe you can hear a lazy and tired ”Good morning”. But suddenly, you look at the clock and … 9:13 pm. OH NO!

 

Someone is shouting: “Guys! Hurry, in 2 minutes the class starts!”

 

Then you can hear people running down the aisles. We run down 4 floors to reach at time to class. And there we are! Our small group, with just 12 people in class. We don’t need to speak. Our faces say everything. We are soooo tired.

 

 

The class starts on time at 9:15 am. At 10:00 a.m. we have our first break. Sometimes we have another break at 10:30 am. You should know that Finnish people really love breaks. Really. At 11:00 am. we have lunch… Yes, you read it right. We have our lunch at 11:00 am. So, some of us -the lazy ones, not willing to cook- go to the cafeteria, and ate as much as they can. It is just 2,60 € per lunch and of course it should pay off, I mean Hello? We are poor students! The rest of us goes upstairs to eat kind of breakfast. I must admit it is nearly the same scenario than downstairs. they eat like if they hadn’t eaten in months. So, in the next two hours we almost can’t move because we are full of food. And we ask ourselves the same question everytime: “Why are we so hungry all the time?”

Hissi – the inner values count!

At 12:00 am, we must go back to class. We try not to fall asleep but sometimes it’s so hard. You feel the compassion and support in the face of all your classmates. You are just thinking about your bed, the sofa, Netflix, Fifa.. And another question is coming to your mind: “Why am I so tired all the time?” I really think that it is this country. But well, after three hours, and a looooot of breaks, the class is finally over! That means we go all together to the 6th floor again. Most of the time we take the elevator, which we lovingly call Hissi (it is just the Finnish translation of elevator.. but hey, we cannot be creative all the time) because obviously, we had a very busy day!! As soon as we arrive to our rooms the war starts! All the people want to enter the kitchen. All the people want to eat again! How is it possible? No idea and it doesn’t really matter.

 

Everything you need to get in shape.

If you haven’t died from a food coma, there might be some people which want to hit the gym. I know, it is hard to believe, but it is true! So, put on your sporty clothes and let’s go! But be careful. On the way to the gym people already got lost and were found two days later in the laundry room, confused and anxious. You need to know in advance that the building is like a labyrinth, if you don’t pay attention you might end up at some weird place. But fortunately, there are some signs, so if you aren’t advanced and not in a mood to go on an adventure, just follow them and they will lead you to the gym. Finally you arrived but.. OH NO! You forgot the gym key. Congratulations for that, now you can go all the way back. There is more than one time, where people cancelled their good resolution, because forgetting the key. To stay positive, it is a little workout though. But believe me, once you forgot it, you will never forget it ag ain. If you are not a gym person, you don’t have an excuse because there is also a possibility to swim. It means, if you are not distracted by green water, Kiljava offers the perfect chance to have a relaxing swim in its indoor swimming pool! You are still not convinced? Ok, then you should check out the sauna. Somehow it is like an obligation to go there, it would be even unpolite not to, because it is a typical Finnish thing. So, overcome your personal boarder, get naked

Did I promise to much? But Green is the colour of hope, right?

and enjoy the heat. Top secret: you can also wear a bikini if necessary, but you are here to try something new. So just go for it and like Bruno said: You are beautiful just the way you are! On your way back you look at your watch and realise: WOW, it is 9pm! If you learn one thing during your Erasmus exchange than that time flies. But it has also it good sides because “What time is iiit?” Fooooood time, yes! Just prepare your food and at this time of the day you will never be alone in the living room. Sit down, have a chat, watch a movie or just appreciate this magical atmosphere of a successful day.

 

So now, you might have a feeling how a day in Kiljava is. The people start to wake up, you can hear a lot of different accents, different languages, the sound of a guitar, the smell of some burnt food, laugh, screams. But suddenly you feel like home. All these crazy guys are your new family. Sometimes you would like to kill them. But they are so nice, special and perfect, that you can do nothing but love them.

Our little family <3

 

This amazing post is made by the strongest and most independent woman Ángela Córdoba Caballero and bunny-addict and nutella-banana-bread-lover Laura Hiestermann