The punk band with learning disabilities competing to represent #Finland at the #Eurovision

As some of you may have noticed, I’ve been going a bit off-topic recently on this blog, talking about my guilty-pleasure Eurovision hobby. As it happens, there’s a development which neatly juxtaposes this with my professional interest in health and social care.

In a fortnight’s time, Finland will pick their Eurovision entry. In the running is a punk band called Pertti Kurikan Nimipäivät (which means Pertti Kurikan’s Name Day). They all either have Down’s Syndrome or are on the autistic spectrum.

They are Kari Aalto (vocals), Pertti Kurikka (guitar), Sami Helle (bass) and Toni Välitalo (drums) and they formed at a music workshop run by a disabilities charity called Lantern. Here’s their song Aina Mun Pitää (meaning, “I always have to”).

Musically, I think it’ll appeal to people who love a bit of old-skool punk. Admittedly that’s hardly seen as the sort of thing that wins at Eurovision, but as Lordi will tell you, the contest does have a track record for surprise wins.

I suspect they’ll have to overcome a lot of prejudice to win, but last year I was convinced that widespread transphobia would prevent Conchita Wurst from taking the prize, and I was proved wrong about that. Perhaps Pertti Kurikan Nimipäivät could do for learning disabilities and developmental disorders what Conchita did for gender identity?

As for them being a punk act – if selected, they’ll be going to the biggest music contest in the world, surrounded by stunning-looking people singing carefully-crafted pop. Their statement would be, “We’re not physically perfect, we’re from one of the most disadvantaged sectors of society, we’re playing two-chord guitar rock, and we are here.” I can’t think of a more punk statement than that. No doubt Sid Vicious would approve.

If you’re interested (you aren’t) two other countries selected their entries yesterday. Iceland chose Unbroken by Maria Olafsdottir.

I think it’s a good song and she’s got a great voice, but possibly a little too close in style to 2013 winner Emilie de Forrest. Sending a clone of previous winners tends not to be a good move. Also, she needs to lose those annoying backing dancers. My guess is that it’ll qualify for the final, but won’t win.

Meanwhile Italy have picked an opera boy band, Uno Direzione, I mean Il Volo.

Again, a good song but Italy never seems to score highly on the night, so I doubt they’ll win either.

Serbia will be selecting their entry this evening, just in case you need to avoid my Twitter feed like the plague.

In the meantime…



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