A tango for a dismal land

(I almost went with “Gloomy country tango” but then recalled, gol dang it, “country” has that musical connotation.)

The final Finnish selections for the Eurovision Song Contest 2011 were last weekend; 10 acts, each with a song. In my opinion three of these were tolerable; none of those got into the super-duper final-final, and a generic plastic product won.

This candidate, now, would have been perfect to represent Finland. He’s the reigning Tangokuningas or Tango King of Finland. This is not as insane as it may sound like: tango may be a South American sound, but it has been big in Finland for many decades, too. So much that there is a yearly competition for the best singer; and this fellow won it the last time.

So here is Marko Maunuksela with “Synkän maan tango” (something like “A tango for a dismal land”); I would have liked it to win, but it did not. A very poor translation after the clip; original Finnish lyrics here.

Fall comes again
Cranes move away
Toppling constructions
Wide open spaces make for anxiety

No willpower
For sale today
Light’s getting lesser
This city keeps on smiling

(Now all the people get to sing)

A tango for a dismal land
Others call it that
(Dismal land, dismal land, dismal land)
A tango for a dismal land
I don’t want to get away
(Get away, get away, I don’t want)

Each happy in their own way
Grief is happiness, in our land of sorrow
My soul’s landscape is so solid and stable
When I sing what I feel, which is easier here
(A tango for a dismal land, a tango for a dismal land)

My world changes
Kaamos never does
Soon winter will go missing
This change, it terrifies me

I’d have no peace
In eternal sunshine
Light’s getting lesser
This city keeps on smiling

(Now all the people sing)


A tango for a dismal land, in the minds of others
A tango for a dismal land, I don’t want to get away

* * *

And oh, the choir? Ex-royals of the same tango competition.

And there would have been other non-sappy ones too; say this entirely serviceable bit of metal-rock.

Or this… whatever this is. Who needs a guitar-plonking adolescent (whose bit, which won, I petulantly refuse to even name), when you can have bald guys with eye makeup, jumpsuited feather boa wielders, postapocalyptic raven suit men and top-hatted guitarists?

One Response to “A tango for a dismal land”

  1. mhilm Says:

    We were watching the Finland finals. Agree completely. I love this song. The only thing that I can see that justifies the winner is the ‘whole earth’ theme. Bubble gum pop.
    This song is the essence of tango – sultry, smooth, rich, rhythmic.
    Thanks for the translation. Having read your ‘Guides….’ I know a bit about what it means when the lyrics refer to kaamos,

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