Laila Kinnunen
October 14, 2010 2:55 PM   Subscribe

Laila Kinnunen was very popular in Finland in the fifties and sixties. She sang beautifully in Finnish, but had also the ability to perform in many other languages. As performer Laila was quite versatile, just compare these two performances. Though in her heart of hearts she probably wanted to be a jazz singer.

Laila's life was a tragic one. She was sent to Sweden at the age of four as war refugee and spent the next six years there separated from her family. She started performing as a teenager and soon found success. After many hit songs, four movies and many popular tv-programmes Laila withdrew from public at the end of the sixties. Her career basically ended before she was even thirty years old. Changing times, alcohol and abusive relationsips took her from the music. There was an attempted comeback in 1980 and though her voice was mostly gone the results do have a rough beauty about them. She died at the age of 60 in 2000. Laila's music is still well-loved in Finland.

Here are some more examples of Laila's music. In addition to Finnish songs, she sang many covers both in Finnish and in other languages. (So many songs in the Finnish section below will probably sound quite familiar.)

La mucura

Kellä kulta sillä onni | Ylitä Jordan | Näitkö sen? | Kun hämärtää | Soittajapoika | Niin paljon kuuluu rakkauteen | Valoa ikkunasta | Sä kaunehin oot | Pieni sydän | En saa | Tiet | Apassi | Tuska | En koskaan kiusaa Kallea | Epävireiset sydämet | Kurkota kuuhun | Älä kiusaa tee | Bää bää karitsa | Käy ohitsein

Together with her sister Ritva:
Rinnakkain | Pojat | Lauantai
(Bonus track from Ritva Kinnunen, Milord)

I will follow him | A summer song | Goldfinger | Comes love | Girl don't come | These boots are made for walking | Ferry cross the Mersey | Mack the Knife | Boy from Ipanema | Hernando's hideaway

Kärleken | Tipi-tii | Hello Dolly | Min Dröm | Sila snacket

Tschau Amore | Sagapo | Kann den liebe spiel sein

Non, je ne regrette rien

Il mondo | Guaglione

Szép a rózsám & Csak egy kisleány

Hava Nagila

Mandshurian kummut (name in Finnish)

El cumbanchero | La paloma

Sarie Marais
posted by severiina (4 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
I'm impressed by her accents. She makes every language sound like her first.
posted by LSK at 3:37 PM on October 14, 2010

She's one pair of glasses frames away from being Nana Mouskouri.
posted by Faze at 3:49 PM on October 14, 2010

The Finns are an amazing people. With a population of around 5 million, less than most major cities, they have had a disproportionate influence on western history and culture. They seem to excel at almost everything they’re interested in... from beating the Russian army to F1 racing.
posted by Huplescat at 5:48 PM on October 14, 2010 [1 favorite]

She makes every language sound like her first.

Her facility with accents is impressive. I could mistake her performance of "Boots" for Nancy Sinatra's if I wasn't listening closely. It's a shame there isn't a good Kinnunen comp available in the States (or anywhere as near as I can tell).

Here's a Jobim tune in Portuguese and here, in Finnish, is Kinnunen's cover of "From Russia With Love," which is funny and sad because the Finns got nothing but love from Russia.
posted by octobersurprise at 6:46 AM on October 15, 2010

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