14. Performing National Identities


These examples cover the main audiovisual material of my chapter on the spectacular manifestations of Finnish national identity.


1. Leningrad Cowboys, Total Balalaika Show




This is a Spotify playlist of the full concert by Leningrad Cowboys & Alexanrov Enseble 12 June, 1993, at the Senate Square, Helsinki, Finland. A live album was released on CD as Total Balalaika Show – Helsinki Concert (Plutonium, 1993, PLUTOCD 7004).


2. Leningrad Cowboys & Alexanrov Enseble, “Knocking on Heaven’s Door’”

From the concert film Total Balalaika Show (Aki Kaurismäki, 1994).




This performance took place 12 June, 1993, at the Senate Square, Helsinki, Finland. The often surreal combination of Bob Dylan song, Finnish band Leningrad Cowboys, and the Alexandrov Ensemble, also known at the Russian Red Army Choir and Orchestra, provided a combination of Western rock and Russian folk influences in a massive live concert setting. Soon after the fall of the Soviet Union, and the end of the Cold War, this combination was meant to be a celebration of the newly found harmony and understanding between people and nations.


3. Lordi, “Hard Rock Hallelujah” (official music video)

From: The Arockalypse (Sony BMG 2006).





This is the official music video of the song with which Lord won the Eurovision Song Contest in 2006. It is provided here for contextual reasons, and for a comparison on how the actual live performance emphasize the national spectacular quality of the event. This music video has more to do with the American 1980s style teen slash horror fiction than Finland. As such it is a good example of how Finnish music was internationalized after the Millennium.


4. Lordi, “Hard Rock Hallelujah” (live)

From Eurovision Song Contest 2006.



This is the live televised performance of the Lordi songs from the Eurovision Song Contest on May 20, 2006 at the Olympic Athletic Center of Athens’s Arena in Greece. Lordi ended up winning the Eurovision that year, which was considered nationally important.


5. Lauri Porra & Apocalyptica, “Finlandia” (music video)

Released in the official YouTube channel of Apocalyptica.



This is one of the most interesting music projects to celebrate the 100 years of Finnish independence, released in the Finnish Independence Day, 6 December, 2017. There have been musings in the Finnish public press that ‘Finlandia’, composed by the national composer of Finland, Jean Sibelius, should actually be the national anthem of Finland. Here the combination of the ‘Finlandia’, instrumental skill of progressive metal bass player Lauri Porra, the harmonies provided by cello metal band Apocalyptica, and the visually stunning nature of the Turku archipelago, provide a spectacular tribute to Finland as a nation state.