Antti Kokkomäki & Tammikuun Lapset make Welsh place names seem normal

Antti Kokkomäki & Tammikuun Lapset – Etana

Etana (Sulka Records) is the beautiful new song from Finland’s Antti Kokkomäki & Tammikuun Lapset and the first single from their forthcoming 2nd LP. It’s a country/folk tinged eulogy, with a deeply felt vocal duet that sends shivers down my spine. We don’t usually include much from press releases here but in this case, we make an exception, it’s well worth knowing the back story to the song, especially if you’re not fluent in Finnish.

The band’s lead singer Antti composed the song as a goodbye to his grandmother Sirkka; a distant and cold old lady traumatised by the Second World War, who he only became close moments before she passed away.
“I feel so sad to admit this, but my last conversation with Sirkka was the best one we ever had. It was the first time I heard her cry,” Antti describes their last moment together.

Sirkka had lost her ability to move and to function independently in her everyday life. She had become a prisoner in her own home.
“Maybe it was her Finnish pride but asking help from others was something she never did. She couldn’t stand the idea of being a burden to someone.” 

In Finnish culture, independence is often idealized excessively. For Antti, self-sufficiency has always been a weary load.
“That very last conversation at her kitchen table made her cheer up again. I could tell she really knew I understood how she felt, that I carried that same pride with me preventing me from getting close to others. Though we were distant before, we suddenly became close at the last minute,” Antti describes.

Antti filmed the music video for Etana in Northern Norway, near Tromsø, to honour the memory of his grandmother.

“Sirkka used to drive all the way to Northern Norway to meet her relatives. The beautiful fjords and valleys of Norway are stunning but that’s not all there is. I know my grandmother was haunted by the cruelties of the Second World War. Maybe she wanted to process that in her own way.”

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