Saturday, 11 July 2009

Amadeus, King of Tango

Once in a blue moon, reading Finnish tabloids can make you shout for joy, and today was such a memorable occasion. Ilta-Sanomat reported that Amadeus Lundberg, 20, had been elected tango king of the 2009 Tango Festival in Seinäjoki by a narrow jury vote and an overwhelming call-in vote from the general audience in the semi-finals. Lundberg's repertoire included the titles Romanesca, Rakkaus ei oo pysyvää (Love Isn't Permanent) and Onnemme kyyneleet (Our Tears Of Bliss). (More about the cultural significance of the tango in Finland.) Lundberg has promised to be kind and humble during his reign.


The tango festival in Seinäjoki is a very Finnish institution, albeit a rather recent one (the idea was conceived in a sauna in 1984). This year, a change was introduced: instead of a king and a queen, only one single person could win the crown. This ensures that the best, and only the best, will win, regardless of gender. Perhaps the judges were wary of Lundberg due to his young age. He shows a lot of promise and who knows how far he can go if success does not quench the flame. One of the tango king's privileges is a guaranteed place among the 12 national Eurovision finalists. I almost hope that Lundberg will decline this "honour", although he could beat Alexander Rybak in a cuteness competition ...

(Photo: Helsingin Sanomat)

Amadeus Lundberg comes from a musical family. From a young age, he was taught to play the violin and to sing professionally. His father, Taisto Lundberg, is a founding member of Hortto Kaalo, the first commercially successful Romani band in Finland. We nostalgically remember their hits from the folk wave of the 1970's, such as the international Gypsy classic Tsaiori, the socially conscious Miksi ovet ei aukene meille (Why Won't The Doors Open To Us) and the comical Ei raha tekis pahaa (Some Money Wouldn't Hurt). Amadeus has toured the last 3 years as Hortto Kaalo's lead singer.

Taisto and Amadeus Lundberg (Photo: Turun Sanomat).

More Finnish Romani tango singers

According to blogger "Life after Helsinki 2007", Lundberg won the televote in the semi-finals "to visible dislike of the jurors". Yet, he went on to win their hearts and minds in the finals. To quote Unelma-tango (The Dream Tango, 1932) by Arvo Koskimaa and Erkki Ranta:

… tummien silmien taa
viittoopi kultainen maa.

… beyond dark eyes
a golden land beckons.

1 comment:

Tinet said...

The "Life after Helsinki 2007" blogger also tries to explain Lundberg's win like this: "meaning the gypsies were watching and voting as always" ...

As if no Finns would ever vote for him, and all Roma would only vote for him, just because of his ethnicity? I think this guy is vastly underestimating Lundberg's talent and cuteness ...