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Lesson Transcript

Hello, and welcome to the Culture Class- Holidays in Finland Series at FinnishPod101.com. In this series, we’re exploring the traditions behind Finnish holidays and observances. I’m Eric, and you're listening to Season 1, Lesson 20, Seinäjoki Tango Festival. In Finnish, it’s called Seinäjoen Tangomarkkinat.
The Seinäjoki Tango Festival is one of Finland's largest public celebrations, and it has contributed significantly to Finnish popular music. In this lesson, we will learn about the Seinäjoki Tango Festival and the popularity of tango in Finland.
Now, before we get into more detail, do you know the answer to this question-
Can you name the most famous and beloved Finnish tango song?
If you don't already know, you’ll find out a bit later. Keep listening.
The first Seinäjoki Tango Festival was held in Seinäjoki in 1985 and around 18,000 guests took part. In recent years, however, more than 100,000 friends of tango have gathered at the festival each year. A tango composition and a tango lyrics contest, as well as a popular tango song contest, where a Tango King, or tangokuningas, and a Tango Queen, or tangokuningatar, are elected each year, are held in connection with the festival.
There are many kinds of entertainment at the tango festival for tango-loving Finns. In addition to song and composition contests, visitors can follow the Finnish Champion contest in open-air tango, or lavatango in Finnish, as well as the humorous Finnish Champion contest in air tango, or ilmatango in Finnish. There are a variety of concerts, parades, and stalls around the tango festival, and if one wishes, one may also participate in the tango karaoke.
Tango is native to Argentina, but it spread to Europe in the early 1900s. The Finns fell in love with tango immediately and started to create their own tango style based on it. The Finnish mentality and cultural history can be heard in the Finnish tango as a melancholic undertone and as a longing for faraway places of the lyrics. Tango became especially popular in the 1960s, when “tango fever”, or tangokuume in Finnish, took over Finland. The best-known composers are Toivo Kärki and Unto Mononen. Nowadays, the Finnish tango is danced mostly in dance pavilions.
The tango festival and the Finnish enthusiasm for tango have attracted a lot of attention from abroad. Representatives of the press from around the world come to the tango festival each year to write articles, and to film documentaries.
Now it's time to answer our quiz question-
Can you name the most famous and beloved Finnish tango song?
Satumaa, which means “The Fabled Land”, a tango song composed and written by Unto Mononen, is the most famous Finnish tango song, and has even been called the Finnish national tango.
The song became very popular in 1962 when it was sung by Reijo Taipale.
How was this lesson? Did you learn anything interesting?
Have you ever danced the tango?
Leave us a comment at FinnishPod101.com, and see you again in the next class!