Recordings for the second Casa Mika season started on Sunday and I travelled to Milan on Saturday to have a possibility to spend a few hours both days learning to know Milan before going to the studio on Sunday night. I’ve visited the city many times for gigs and different events and recordings and even spent there time with my family but never really learnt to like the place. I’m sure there are many hidden treasures for those who know Milan well but for an average traveller it’s a distant place. I’ve always thought it’s expensive and a bit too fancy for my taste and I didn’t feel any different this time either. I’ve travelled in Italy a lot and seen many places much more suitable for me than Milan is.

I visited a couple of cafes I had seen mentioned in articles and a bookstore I had hoped to see for a long time but mostly just enjoyed walking around. The weather was beautiful both days, almost like in summer even it’s October, and loved being in the sun and watching dogs, saw many of them. An elderly very elegant gentleman dressed in a carefully chosen suit walked his likewise elegant elderly dog and I couldn’t stop admiring this amazingly stylish couple. I randomly discovered a small bakery near my hotel and it looked like a small family business with mother and daughter and grandmother and I visited the place twice and bought coffee and gluten-free little biscuits and almost felt I have a nice new routine and I like having small routines like that when I travel abroad.

I couldn’t wait to see the first recording but also knew that this time it would be quite short and that Mika would even leave the studio to go to another one in a different building to perform his new song and I had prepared myself to a possibility we wouldn’t hear him singing at all not to be too disappointed if that really happens. As soon as he came on stage he confirmed to the audience he needs to do another recording in the middle of our session but also explained he would sing both before and after that and that while he’s gone the girls would film their part and we could watch that.

Knowing we could finally hear his singing made me incredibly happy and was so unexpected that I actually started to cry the moment he started to sing. That was weirdly emotional even from me and quite embarrassing and Ani gave me a surprised ”woman are you serious” look but I really couldn’t help it, I felt overwhelmingly happy. My eyes became horribly red of course. You know all pretty young girls who get teary eyes and become even more beautiful than they already are like real life princesses? I cry and I become one of those new species scientists have been discovering from the bottom of the oceans. No one even knew those creatures exist and now there’s a possibility I was filmed for Italian television looking like one and I don’t even care. I was so happy Mika is singing again and thought I now have everything I can possibly hope for.

He did a couple of songs and the version of one his most impressive live songs was absolutely beautiful and the audience went wild and people were standing and clapping and screaming and making noise with their shoes – obviously I wasn’t the only one who had missed his singing – and he looked a bit touched of this spontaneous reaction and after seeing that I cried even more of course.

Then there was a break while Mika did his performance in the studio next door and to be honest it wasn’t as disappointing as I had thought in advance at all because his family took over the stage and we could watch the girls and I love watching them. Those dogs are adorable! I can’t tell how long it took and suddenly Mika was back and promised to sing us a couple of more songs and we watched some clips and filmed some introductions for Rai 2 to be broadcasted in the near future.

Everyone was super excited to hear the new song and the performance was really good and energetic and I was once again surprised how different a song becomes when it’s performed live. I had heard a clip and thought My House is extremely catchy and perfect to use as a tune for his show but maybe not as suitable to play at gigs as his other songs but he did it in front of us and it was just like any other energetic song he performs regularly and will surely work well also outside the television show (and it has been playing in my head non-stop since we heard it). Then one more Italian song as a surprise and it fitted his voice perfectly and I very much enjoyed listening to it.

Mika’s singing was beautiful even he hasn’t been performing much lately. There was a warm tone in his voice slightly hinting he had a flu but it didn’t make his singing any less lovely and I only hoped singing wouldn’t hurt him and that way disturb the upcoming recordings. We didn’t see any guests during the first recording (a dream recording for fans) but as I can’t give any spoilers I couldn’t mention them any way and just wanted to write a small post to describe how the atmosphere felt in the beginning of the filming and will probably blog more detailed after the first episodes are out. We got little sneak peeks to the fiction parts Mika has mentioned in interviews and after seeing them I expect people to love them and feel very curious about them myself as well. There will be a lot of new details in the concept!

Now back home for one and a half day (to hug my kids and my dog and of course my husband who has a birthday today) and back to Milan on Wednesday. Keeping my fingers crossed for tickets and hoping everything goes well. It was lovely to be back in Italy and to see everyone again xxx

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It’s been more than two weeks since our New Year’s Eve in Florence and I still almost can’t believe we could experience it all nor imagine any better atmosphere or better way to spend that special day. The opera in Florence offered pre-sale packages for the New Year including the symphony concert and a dinner at the opera afterwards and to confirm our seats many of us bought those packages months in advance.

I didn’t give the dinner much thought beforehand, I just wanted to have my concert ticket as early as possible and intentionally avoided having any expectations regarding to the dinner. In my experience things in Italy can be either absolutely amazing (I could give many, many examples) or go terribly wrong in which case people just say “oh well we’re in Italy” like those words simply explained it all (and I’m starting to understand they do, lol!).

This time everything went very well and the evening was really nicely organized. The dinner was served smoothly, the food was delicious, we got wines, a dj, an open bar and impressive fireworks exactly at midnight and it seemed everyone was in a good mood, eating, chatting, dancing and generally having a wonderful time. The Italian girls had helped the opera to organize our tables (for around 100 fans from all over the world) and named every table according to different Mika songs. Ours was called Dr John (such a cute detail wasn’t it).

The concert on New Year’s Eve was extremely intense and transferred us to another world and the best thing with the dinner was that it didn’t remove us from our magical atmosphere. We were quietly guided to our tables and given a glass of wine. The music started (mostly Mika and older party hits) and several waiters started to carry first starters and then other courses. It was all smooth and gradually more and more cheerful and somehow quite surreal.

The tables and food looked festive with many different glasses and fancy details. Not sure what the starter was, maybe chestnut, but my pasta after that as a second course was delicious! Weird to be this excited about food but I rarely get really tasty gluten-free pasta… The main course seemed good but was brought to tables at midnight and suddenly everyone run outside to see the fireworks and I left my food just like the others which was okay as I was full after the pasta anyway.

After celebrating the midnight we all came back to our tables and had a wonderful dessert (mine was a small gluten-free chocolate cake) and some sparkling wine and people danced or just sat and had coffee until the staff said it’s time to go and we started – very gently – to prepare our return back to the reality and a bit reluctantly left our fairytale party, feeling ourselves like real life Cinderellas, literally looking for our shoes (mine were under the table, my feet were hurting so much) and trying to find a taxi to take us back to our hotels.

It was a lovely day, first the stunning concert and then this dinner party with so many familiar faces. Definitely something to remember years to come. See our international table below. Front from right: Renate and her husband, Marion and Miri from Germany, Becks from Spain and Rose from the UK. Behind: me and my husband from Finland and Christina and her husband from Romania (her son took the pic).

Thanks everyone for that special evening and night, I felt lucky to spend the New Year with you! Last but not least, a huge thank you to the Italian fans for their preparations and of course to the opera for organizing everything so well! X

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My husband and I spent a long weekend in Florence for these two symphony concerts and had two and a half days to walk around in this beautiful city. We arrived from Helsinki on Thursday and had no plans for the evening and decided to walk to the hill to see the city view and have a quiet, cozy meal after that.

We wanted to visit both the Uffizi and Accademia Galleries during the weekend but didn’t bought tickets in advance and were not sure if we are willing to queue long enough to see them both. Eventually we went to Uffizi early Friday morning just before the opening time, got in after a half an hour of waiting and had a peaceful experience in the museum, luckily only a decent number of people were let in at a time.

I love museums for their atmosphere… I love beauty and aesthetics in general but I guess I’m more interested in the artist life and those brilliant personalities behind the master pieces and the historical spirit living in old buildings than any form of art itself.

Botticelli’s Primavera must be the most famous piece in Uffizi and as it’s surprisingly positive compared to everything else it was my favorite as well and I especially loved it how Flora and her dress immediately brought my mind Ida and her lovely flower dress in Montreal! Uffizi art was full of mothers with their giant, fat, even muscled children and I couldn’t stop staring at them in all their fascinating weirdness. The colors of the round painting below made me think of this autumn colored sweater I had seen on a fashion catalogue. Everything modern designers do comes from history, doesn’t it.

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On Saturday we headed to the Accademia Gallery a little bit later than planned and the weather was chilly and the queue long already so we took a guided tour starting in a few minutes which turned out to be a good solution as we didn’t have to queue and got a nice history lecture before having time to walk around in the museum on our own.

Michelangelo’s David was absolutely breath-taking! This was my first visit in Florence so I had no idea how stunning, impressive and huge it is in reality. The amount of love and admiration for the male body put in this sculpture is simply astonishing. The body and muscles in all their perfection combined to the giant hands and clumsy ankles and even lovely natural light coming from above, loved it all.

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After visiting the gallery we had a plenty of time to walk around before it was time to get ready for the New Year’s Eve concert and we had a small rest in a cozy, colorful book cafe we bumped into on our way to the river. It was perfect for us, we both love books and as it wasn’t mainly for tourists it wasn’t crowded at all and we could have a calm and relaxed moment before walking to the Boboli gardens.

The gardens – actually a large park – must be my favorite of all the places I saw in Florence. It was big enough not to feel too busy and crowded (people were mainly gathered in certain spots to take photos) and we could have walked there for hours, I would love to go back there in spring time.

I took a lot of pictures of the beautiful small green observatory because it was exactly the kind of a building where I would love to live but I guess a historical observatory with an access to a huge, private park in the heart of the most important renaissance city in the world can be too much to ask. What a lovely and pleasant long weekend in Florence and as always, the anticipation of these two symphony concerts made my mood even better than it already was. The experience would have been different without them, it wouldn’t have felt complete like this.

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Finally back home from my trip to Italy and trying to collect my thoughts about these two amazing symphony concerts I just saw in Florence. I was traveling with my husband and we had a lovely short holiday, Florence is a beautiful city full of art and history and this was our first visit there. Also, I met many friends from all over Europe and Asia and we had a wonderful party together. Twice, actually. First MFC 10th anniversary party on Friday before the first concert (I will blog about that later) and then Opera di Firenze gala dinner on New Year’s Eve after the second concert (and will write a separate post about that one too).

Symphony concerts make me so emotional it’s always hard to find words, they are my very favorites of everything Mika does. The arrangements by Simon Leclerc are out of this world and I love being able to hear Mika’as voice so clearly and without too much distraction. I always enjoy the gig or festival atmosphere, being in the audience and experiencing music together with people I like but what makes me travel this much is the thought of seeing Mika on stage and hearing his singing. There’s nothing better than being able to totally focus on his performance and the symphony environment is the best way to do it. I love the drama and intensity he adds to the songs and how tangible every emotion becomes. I can feel transferred to another place – whatever it is in the song – and it’s the weirdest feeling ever, like everything in the story is suddenly happening for real.

I’ve seen all the six symphony concerts so far and noticed every concert is different, special and magical in their own way and I enjoy this fact they are all different. Just the venue itself has its own effect, the modern music halls in Montreal or Florence can’t compete with the breath-takingly beautiful old theatre we saw in Como, a piece of art itself. The Canadian audience was calm and that way exactly my taste but on the other hand the organization at the opera in Florence could control the audience surprisingly well. The crowd was restless and a bit distracting but at least people stayed still until the last song which, believe me, was well done and organized.

In addition to that there are technical elements. I couldn’t hear Max properly during the first Florence concert, not the way I heard during the second one and I enjoy hearing him well because I like his voice. Then there’s Ida and don’t even know where to start with her. I like Ida a lot and I missed her in Como and now really enjoyed having her back and think her pure voice added something special to many songs, not only to Happy Ending or OMS but to many other songs as well. Gives me a warm feeling to see Mika and Ida together on stage because these two know each other well and I feel Mika is better when he has loving people he knows and trusts around him on stage. To be honest I don’t know if it’s true or if I simply like Ida being there because I’m used to hear her there since the beginning and like stability like that myself. Either way, she sounded stunning, they had a lovely chemistry and I was happy she was in Florence.

Every symphony concert depends naturally mainly on Mika and how he feels and where he wants to focus on that particular night just like it is at regular gigs. If he is calm and careful he pays more attention to every nuance and I think he did that more on the second night compared to the first one even he still was very expressive as well. And I literally can’t breath when he performs like that, the experience is incredibly beautiful. I almost can’t believe I’m there to whitness it all and try very hard to catch everything and always wish my musical ear was better so I could remember every detail afterwards but of course I can’t. I can only remember how amazingly wonderful it was when it happened.

If he is excited to tell the story and focusing on the meaning of the song he adds theater in it and while doing it seems to suddenly get even more excited,  just for the childlike joy of performing and being on stage and it makes my heart burst. First there’s the emotion of the song. In seconds I’m transferred to another emotional state and to a new imaginary environment, always very intense. Then there’s the feeling of having so much love in my heart because I love watching him on stage. For some reason my mind automatically pictures him as a child. Dressing up in costumes, singing, acting, perfoming and wanting to tell a story after story forcing his family to gather around him to watch and to be his audience, like children do. The next moment I remember his family sitting in the current audience and I can’t help but smiling. Such a sweet and funny thought (said in a very loving, tender way).

The first Florence night was extremely emotional to me. I had looked forward to this night for a long time and had almost forgotten how well these symphony versions work, how real they feel. Mika was very theatrical since the beginning. He started with Toyboy and suddenly I was in a nursery, I had hardly time to understand the transition. I could see the colors and textures and all the toys, the toyboy, even needles in the eyes, and started to think how confusing it must be to grow up having all kind of feelings people have when they grow up and not always be sure if it’s right and acceptable. So touching. I never think anything like that at usual gigs, now it just happened. After Toyboy he changed quickly to Underwater and made it extremely dramatic, the water was everywhere and it was stormy and green. He has really found his acting side lately (maybe due to Casa Mika) and he made the song even more emotional and powerful than usual.

Boum Boum Boum was intense compared to the gentle gig version I got so used to last year, Rain emotional as well and then it was Last Party already and I tried really hard to keep up and jump from one song and emotion to another one, very quickly not to miss any of the songs, something that I’ve found difficult during the earlier symphony concerts but gradually learnt to do. I feel every emotion with my whole body and every muscle and it’s hard to relax and feel “nothing” between the songs and get ready to another one, there’s very little time. Last Party was as lovely as it always is and the version from second night somehow amazingly carefully done, beautiful and detailed. Next on the setlist Overrated and Any Other World (both wonderful symphony songs) and then Love You When I’m Drunk so cheerfully I had to wonder what is so funny in it, maybe an inside joke or a meaning I can’t find or fully understand.

Then Ordinary Man. I’ve learnt to love this song at gigs, it sounds different and more vulnerable without an orchestra and done in a smaller way. I’ve always thought the symphony version has a massive self-pity in it simply because it’s hard to see Mika ordinary with a formal symphony orchestra behind him. This man is not ordinary in the usual sense of the word, even the sweat he shakes over people after an energetic show is seen as a treat. He started the song and for some reason I decided to jump along with the whole self-pity thought and wow it worked well and the song was my biggest favorite during the first night and one of the favorites second night as well! I was immediately swelling in my misery. I could feel how dirty and disgusting my hair is in the darkest moments when I can’t bother taking a shower because no one really cares, when there’s no point to bother anything in this world. Loved it unexpectedly much, a wonderful experience. Then Heroes, one of the very best symphony songs so quickly over my pity party and focusing on it.

After the break Grace Kelly, partly sacrificed because it took time to adjust after the pause and I was grateful it was GK and not Over My Shoulder yet. I love OMS in every possible versions but especially symphonic and with Ida it’s even better than it usually is. It’s a dark but still calm and peaceful song and l loved how Ida’s voice gave it a tiny bit hope. Songs like this can take over my mood for a long time period and a little bit of hope makes everything easier to handle. Lovely Good Guys (so good with an orchestra) and then Make You Happy and surprisingly my another big favorite both nights but especially on the first night. He kept repeating the line and suddenly I started to believe him, it was very convincing. I had totally forgotten how much I like this song. Happy Ending is always stunning but on the second night it was extraordinary, maybe my all time favorite version. I’m sure time stopped for a tiny moment, it really did.

Origin was powerful with the big choir. I loved the choir in many other songs as well, it had an impressive effect and it added a lot of extra. Then Relax, one the most important songs for me personally and lovely, gentle and natural both nights but particularly on the second one. EMD and Love Today are not my orchestra favorites because the audience can’t stay still and there’s too much distraction (which always shifts my mood) but Stardust after them was still lovely of course, even the audience was too restless at the time. There was an extra song both nights, Grace Kelly on the first and Underwater on the second. The crowd was in chaos in front, everyone taking pics and vids but I didn’t care, just felt happy and thankful, overwhelmed and exhausted.

Such a wonderful, once in a lifetime experience for fans, these two concerts with a fun pre-party on Friday and a nicely organized dinner-party on Saturday. Stunning work from both Mika and Simon Leclerc and of course also from Ida, Max, the orchestra and everyone involved. More reports to come. Monta suukkoa.

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Happy New Year from Florence with a couple of quick photos I took in the end of the second sinfonia pop concert (cameras were not otherwise allowed of course). The second night was even better than the first one. Mika was more focused on his singing so we got many especially stunning versions. He was very careful with some important songs but still managed to create a lot of drama around every song so there was a good balance and I really enjoyed the whole night, very special. The fireworks were crazy and the dinner organized by the opera and included in the concert tickets nicely organized and it was good to spend time with so many familiar people from all over the world. A longer report later. xxx

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The first of the two sinfonia pop concerts at Opera di Firenze was so, so emotional my heart could only barely handle it all. Mika sounded absolutely beautiful, he wasn’t controlling himself a bit but instead threw himself into every possible emotion, mood and tone and seemed to enjoy it a lot, his stubborn curl (you know which one I mean) kept flying left and right, he couldn’t stay still for a moment but danced, waved his hands here and there, even jumped (yes he even jumped). Ida was stunning. Her part in these concerts is so essential, she really made many songs as they should be. Simon Leclerc wasn’t being strict at all. I was almost disappointed that he wasn’t until he went wild and started to guide even the audience! Too funny and somehow so sympathetic. The big choir was strong and powerful and had an impressive effect in many songs.

The orchestra made me feel very emotional but as this was already my fifth symphony gig I already knew that I can’t stay in one emotion no matter how strong it is, I have to move on to the next one in the next song and the one after that and I managed to do that and could focus almost every song and saw colors and images and stories I haven’t even noticed before and really can’t wait to write a long report about the set list and different songs. Last Party and Over My Shoulder were both as fantastic as I expected and definitely my usual favorites but the biggest one was surprisingly Ordinary Man, didn’t expect that at all. I jumped into the self-pity feeling in it, couldn’t help it and it was simply wonderful, I really loved the version and very convincing Make You Happy as well just to name a few songs.

Wonderful, almost overwhelming night that made me totally exhausted – in a good way – like these symphony concerts always do. Can’t believe there is another one tomorrow, we are extremely lucky. The MFC party before the concert was so much fun. A huge thank you to the Italian fans for organizing, everyone seemed to have such a good time. I took a lot of pics, will blog about the party when back home.

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It has never been only about music, we have always had a whole Mika universe. A surreal place full of colors, imagination, energy, love, joy and especially tolerance. His world has always had enough space for everyone and for every emotion, a happy mix of smile and tears.

We have learnt to know his cartoonlike, half-fictional characters and along with his music – which has become more direct lately – also the world around him has evolved and become more realistic. Casa Mika looks like a description of his real life, dreams and personality different rooms representing different parts of it all.

Living area represents music of course. It’s for making music, singing, playing piano, dancing, entertaining and creating a show. Kitchen is for people. For being alone or for personal and serious conversations with friends. Well that’s what I do in my kitchen while cooking; either think my own thoughts or enjoy chatting with a friend.

Art studio (there must be one even if we haven’t seen it) is for design projects. His study is for writing, literature and culture. The garden is kind of an extension of the living area and a suitable place to do musical collaborations. I like to imagine the symphony orchestra was in the garden, I’m sure I could see stars. You saw them?

Bedroom is where to start a new day or to end one before having rest. To be hopeful (in the morning) or grateful (before going to bed). The small clips filmed around Italy are about the world around Mika, around us all, and from his trips.

The show is meant to be entertainment and it’s a compromise between what people want to see and what he wants to show. It’s interesting to see how his life is. He can’t spend much time in London so I guess doing things he loves and being surrounded by people he cares needs to be enough to make him feel home.

Usually when we visit someone’s house we first spent time in the living area. It can be formal but it doesn’t have to, a living room can be relaxed as well, mine is. If I know the owner of the house I often walk directly into the kitchen and always, always check the library. It’s the most interesting part of the house whether I know the person well or not and especially if not.

Music is my favorite part of Casa Mika, I love everything in it. Choirs, orchestras, cabaret style dance performances and Mika singing alone on his couch the girls next to him. I’ve enjoyed his music guests and find some of them a true discovery and will definitely watch my favorite duets later which is actually quite rare, I usually avoid duets.

The living room seems to be in the centre of the house and the music played in it can probably be heard everywhere in the house. He can quite easily just run up the stairs or dance from one room to another but sometimes he might want to go for example to his study, close the door, sit down and spend a moment there, maybe writing his book. And he should be able to do it.

Asking him to focus on only his music and nothing else is a little bit like telling him he is not allowed to leave his living room. “What a beautiful, beautiful house you have, unfortunately you are not allowed to enter any other room than your living room.” And that’s not something we can say to an adult person, not in their own house. It doesn’t work that way.

I’ve enjoyed being in the audience, first (and especially) in the studio and then again at home, doing this small house tour in Casa Mika and watching him with his guests. He is so warm with people, so lovable when talking – very passionately – about things he finds important, things we all should find important. No wonder Italy seems to like him so much.

I can’t understand Italian well enough so I’ve missed a lot of details but luckily some nice people are subtitling all the episodes so now also foreigners can watch and understand everything interviews included (see here).

My favorite performance was the symphonic Last Party from the end of the last episode of Casa Mika. So incredibly gentle and comforting, I loved it and had never thought he could make this song this comforting. Like all the sad news were somewhere far, far away.

I will post more next week, have a good weekend xxx

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My blog post about the first part of the Casa Mika season (episodes 1-2) is here, now a few words about the latter part (episodes 3-4). I missed the main recording for the third episode (so couldn’t wait to see that one on television) but was lucky to be there for the fourth episode. The recording was the weekend just before my birthday so I had planned in advance to be in Milan that time and kept all my fingers crossed for tickets for both nights and was lucky to get them. So happy!

First of all a huge thank you to the Italian fan crew, it was a true pleasure to be there and meet everyone again. This is the time of the year when my country is literally the darkest place on earth and it cheered me up to be in Italy in so many ways. Everyone was in a party mood and had so much energy that it would have been impossible not to catch a part of it for myself and I felt so much more energetic after the weekend than I did before it.

Secondly, can’t express how much I’ve enjoyed this project and how incredibly grateful I feel that I could follow it this closely, it was so important to me and it means a lot to have this memory. Casa Mika has been one of my favorites of the all projects Mika has done so far. I didn’t expect to feel this way in advance but this was such a big challenge for him and it was wonderful to watch how he made it happen. I’ve seen him doing television work many times before this but none of it can be compared to the amount of work and investment and presence he had to put into this one and the performances he did for his own songs during these shows were some of the most interesting I’ve seen so far and I’ve seen many.

I saw the third episode on television (despite of short parts filmed while recording the second episode) and my favorite part of the show was Good Guys with the dancers (loved it that he had chosen matured dancers and generally included all age groups in different performances) and especially the performance with Eros Ramazzotti. This was the song Mika has written for Ramazzotti wasn’t it? I had never thought I could like it so much, it was lovely to hear them singing it together! Such romantic song and not my usual style at all but lovely indeed.

Then it was time for absolutely breathtaking Underwater and it was so beautiful it almost made me a little bit sad because I hadn’t seen it live (how could I miss such special live performance, I should have made more effort to be there) and most of all because I suddenly realized there might not be any gigs next year, maybe not before the new album is out and I had to remind myself that Florence is only a few weeks away so it won’t be long until I can hear Underwater again even if there’s a break next year. This Underwater was one of my favorite Casa Mika performances (and will definitely watch it again later).

About my Milan trip and the recordings for the fourth episode. Rai has already advertised having Kylie in their show so I won’t spoil anything telling that one of the highlights for Saturday was naturally to watch her performance and warm chemistry with Mika. She is so tiny and pretty and cute! Definitely one of the guests I wanted to see live. I generally love watching Mika with his guests, he is a good host and very warm with people. They did their new Christmas song and it was lovely and christmassy to see them on stage together.

Mika did a beautiful cover in the end of the Saturday’s recording (the girls on the couch with him) and I couldn’t wait to hear the song and totally didn’t expect another one of his guests to join him and neither did the rest of the audience and the collective disappointment when we realized it (that he won’t sing alone) was the size of a house! Lol! They did well together though. I would have loved to hear him singing the cover alone but on the other hand can’t blame him for being generous and sweet and wanting to share the moment with his guest. Lovely ending for that Saturday anyway and my favorite part of the whole recording.

We knew to expect an orchestra for Sunday but I still couldn’t handle my excitement when I saw the stage full of seats – enough for a symphony orchestra – and the short last recording was naturally the best part of the whole season. There’s nothing better than Mika with a symphony orchestra and I had thought in advance that just one song is more than enough reason to be there but we were lucky to hear first an Italian song (not for Casa Mika but for another purpose) three times and then the ending song for Casa Mika two times. Even his speech between those songs had the orchestra on the background. Lovely, lovely ending for the season, it couldn’t have been more beautiful.

During the third take of the Italian song some people started to feel restless and chat a bit. Well it was the third time we heard the song but still couldn’t believe it. There’s only one rule for symphony performances and it’s sit still, be quiet, listen to the music and think grateful thoughts. Talking is not okay unless someone needs urgent medical help and I won’t even start about singing along. I mean you want to sing along with a symphony orchestra? Well wait to be invited for their vocalist. I can’t control myself if someone is disturbing while Mika sings symphony, I will be watching everyone in Florence.

So it’s all over now with Casa Mika recordings. It all happened so quickly and they had to do all the work in such a short time period. I still can’t understand how he got everything done so well. I loved it how some people working there could already remember I was a foreigner and said good bye and see you next time in English. There might be another season, I wouldn’t be surprised and by that time I can hopefully understand Italian a little bit better.

Italian fans had organized Mika a wonderful Casa Mika themed cake for the final recording, it looked amazing and he came out later on Saturday to say hello to people. The cake looked stunning (it was made by a professional cake designer) but he was brave to cut it and share it with people. I wasn’t close enough to take any pics, there were a lot of people and I knew he wanted to meet and thank his Italian fans so I stayed a bit further away and used the opportunity to say hello to the girls. They weren’t interested a bit (poor exhausted dogs, I bet they couldn’t wait everything to be over) but it’s rare to see them from close distance and they are so sweet, so polite and so well-trained.

Hope to post a couple of blogs before Christmas. Take care everyone xxx

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The second Mika “pigiama party” was organized in Bergamo last night and even I have only a few pics to share I still wanted to write a small report to describe how my experience was. First of all it was good to see everyone again! Thank you so much for everything, I had already missed your familiar faces! I had looked forward to meeting also Lucrezia who has been kind and helpful and translated me all kind of Italian material I couldn’t otherwise understand but she wasn’t feeling well last night so we need to reschedule our meeting next time I’m in Italy. So sorry you couldn’t be there, sweetie, I hope to see you very soon!

The event (filming a few clips for the upcoming Casa Mika show) was at Piazza Vecchia, the pretty old part of Bergamo. It was very wet and cold (it was raining the whole day), the event wasn’t as much a ”pajama party” as the event in Aosta night before but more like a ”singing In The Rain” group action but Mika was super sweet and it was interesting for me to see how the filming is done and it was all totally worth both traveling and waiting in the rain.

I’m trying to shortly describe what happened starting from gathering together at the piazza. Okay, I’m an extremely awkward person when it comes to being in a group or in front of cameras or people. In guided group activities I’m definitely too slow or going to the wrong direction. In pictures I’m the one eyes closed and mouth open and in front of Mika I certainly say the most random and unplanned things. I shouldn’t be near cameras during recordings and I know that but somehow always forget it and ignore my common sense and do these things again and again. I guess I’m optimistic and for Mika I’m willing to go through even awkward situations.

This time I hadn’t seen him since the summer and had missed him. He was kind and sweet and just seeing him there made me feel better. The weather forecast told it will rain the whole day and I was worried the production would cancel the event. The buildings around the piazza offered some roof though and it was possible to place cameras/lights and the bed under the roof. There was no space for the crowd so we all stood in the rain during the event. For me this was obviously still the best option, my flight was leaving early morning and I couldn’t have rescheduled my participation and was happy to see the party and recording even it was raining.

We gathered at the piazza late afternoon and got instructions at half past six but waited a few hours while the team was preparing the set. We had been told to wear colorful pajamas but most people were actually wearing animal costumes and other silly outfits. I had my striped pajamas and felt surprisingly comfortable wearing it in a public place as for me that was the least awkward part of the whole situation. I had gotten the email telling about ”colorful, unique pajamas” the moment I was leaving at the airport and all I could do that time was to add a giant soft Moomin toy and a very colorful umbrella to my outfit. I bought both at the airport and looked a little bit like a travel ad but couldn’t help that and noticed later that the toy definitely got Mika’s attention when he saw it.

We were organized and we practiced dancing with our umbrellas until nine or ten PM. Then Mika finally came, looked smiling and talked to the audience. He did a small speech to honor Dario Fo and just before it saw me with my Moomin and smiled (and commented something in Italian). He must have been surprised to see people coming from far away just to see a filming. After that we started recording the clip of Mika dancing in the middle of the audience and did the same part several times because the crowd didn’t give him enough space and the team had to eventually organize us again.

The lady from the production was determined to push me as far away as possible but Mika started to walk around and saw me and came to talk to me so there I was in front of the camera again. I didn’t first realize they were filming (I thought he was having his tea break!) and generally had no idea what he said in Italian so I’m afraid that was embarrassing from my part but he was super sweet coming to say hello of course and it was lovely to see him there and made me very happy. He did his dance a few more times and said good bye to people after that but still continued filming his own part and we were allowed to stay and watch until it was done and he waved and left.

The whole night was very wet and cold and most of us probably caught a cold. Mika was wearing a dark blue pajamas with white clouds on it and had a blanket or hoodie on his shoulders while having breaks. The audience wasn’t following the instructions all the time (and some people were quite excited about him in general) so the recording was a lot of work for the production team. I hope my face won’t show in the final clip but if it does it will definitely be a good lesson for me to stay a little bit further away from cameras in the future, lol!

I know many fans wouldn’t bother to travel only to spend time in the rain but it was definitely a good and interesting experience for me who appreciates seeing everything first hand and as this is the first own television show for Mika it feels that way important as well. A few pics of the area and fans above, the one with the moomin is me (we were allowed to use mobiles between recordings but it was raining and I had my hands full with my umbrella so this time no pics of Mika, sorry!). xxx

mumu_milan

I was in Milan on my way to Cernobbio and decided to go to the Mumu signing session organized by Swatch at their local store. I wasn’t sure what to expect. I had heard some events similar to this in other countries were hectic and of course I already knew that the celebrity culture in Italy is different from what I’m used to in my small Nordic home country.

I often worry about security arrangements in advance. I’m not worried for my own safety, I’m a bit scared of the security people. I want them to give polite instructions (which I’m happy to follow) and I want to feel they are there to protect me and the others and to keep the situation controlled and calm. Giving rude orders, coming too close or treating everyone as a security threat is always unpleasant.

The event turned out to be very well organized, I was impressed. I arrived (together with some other fans) to see a queuing area surrounded by barriers, calm and nicely dressed security and a stylish smiling lady, probably in charge of the store or the campaign, who greeted and guided me inside. I bought my Mumu and was explained that I could have it signed only if waited in the line until the official event in the evening. I told I’m happy to wait, got my number and joined the queue.

I was over-tired and not feeling well but the queueing went still smoothly. We could stay in the shade and use toilets and get coffee from cafes around the square as often as we liked. Mika arrived as scheduled. Some girls further away screamed a bit but it just made him look popular (everything was filmed). The whole situation was extremely organized. We got in the store in groups of ten and everyone had a possibility to get their boxes signed and exchange a few quick words with Mika.

I have met him many times during years so it doesn’t make me nervous but of course it’s always exciting. I like him and I’m not used to talk with him and even I know he can remember my face I’m still always a bit insecure if he can recognize me in a busy and crowded situation or not. After waiting for a while it was my turn and we greeted each other. He was kind. First he said something nice referring to something that happened earlier and it made me very happy. We told how tired we both were and looked, he signed the Mumu I had bought for my son and we exchanged a few more lines too random to explain.

I always dream that some day we will have a discussion not that random and I will say something if not smart at least normal. It could happen, it’s not that unrealistic. However, in this situation where he had to improvise discussions with 200 people and have something to say to everyone and I was so over-tired I could hardly remember my name, we both did fine. He was kind and sweet and I was happy to have that short meeting with him.

Thanks to Mika for being so polite and patient with people and to Swatch for organizing such pleasant circumstances. Sorry I don’t have more pics to share. There was a professional photographer but I didn’t ask a pic (I wasn’t feeling well and looked awful) and regretted it later. It’s rare to have a possibility like that, maybe some other time.

summertour_1

When I was a child my mother used to watch only movies based on true story – otherwise they would be nonsense – and I never understood her logic. It still makes no sense to me. What’s the point of making movies look like a real life when we can make our real lives look like a movie. These days I often have a feeling I live inside a screenplay and I love it. I love every moment.

I’m not talking about fancy and glamorous Hollywood style films, those things mean nothing to me. What I have in mind is more like a low-budget, really weird alternative one. Even my home life is quite colorful, but when I travel, I see places as beautiful as any movie scenes, meet people who could totally be film characters and get in situations I can hardly believe myself even I’m there. And there’s a soundtrack. My life has a soundtrack, for real.

When I watch Mika on stage I can see a weird combination of an adult fairytale, old-fashioned musical and Marvel super heroes, happening right in front of my eyes. Regarding to traveling this summer was all my French and Italian favorites put together. The tour itself was probably my favorite summer tour so far and I’ve looked forward to writing a small summary and collecting my thoughts about it.

This tour was different compared to any previous summer tours I’ve seen during years. It was very carefully considered. By that I mean every night was separately planned as an opposite to the old system with a basic structure songs added or left out depending on the current feeling. This time I got the impression every setlist was separately considered which felt thoughtful and very professional.

I appreciated it that the show was significally different every single night. Of course I did. It made a big difference and not only to fans like me who saw many shows but to everyone because it meant there was an extra excitement before every gig. Every night could stand out as it was and there were particular, detailed news and individual memories after all of them just based on the structure.

Having everything so carefully planned in advance means inevitably less spontaneous, random interaction between Mika and the audience which is something he is so good at and something people who are used to it might miss. I can see their point.

However, it looked to me that all the planning allowed Mika to be focused on his singing and that’s basically what I hope him to do. I just want him to sing to me. So if he is now more focused on his singing and performing than he has been for a while I definitely won’t complain. I have absolutely nothing to complain. I’m just happy I saw all these concerts.

Molfetta was the most idyllic location with the sea, salty smell, fishermen and cats. Palermo had the most amazing setlist of the whole tour. Not sure people even realized how challenging and generous it was. Perugia Jazz festival was one of the coolest events I’ve seen and I’m not even a jazz person. Padova was one of my personal favorites. I didn’t think anything during the whole gig, just enjoyed the music and maybe for that reason it seems to be so hard to write a report (but I will at some point).

La Rochelle was big, messy and colorful. Nimes was special (the venue, stunning performance and very special atmosphere). Carcassone and Sollies Pont were the same, fantastic style as Nimes in a bit smaller scale. Then back to Italy. I spent a beautiful, pleasant day in Trieste but the gig was a bit loud. Chieti was like an opposite to it, one of my favorite summer gigs ever (I wrote about those two gigs here). Rome was a bit peculiar but we got some gems and Cernobbio was simply put super emotional. Very touching indeed.

I noticed that if something was wrong during any of the gigs it was quickly fixed before the next one which added the professional impression (I had always thought they don’t have time for that). I could see Mika was relieved in Cernobbio like always in the end of the tour. For him it means first holidays and then something new and interesting to do in the future. For his fans it means another ending (which I don’t like but can deal with).

Usually we are all tired together. Now I was exhausted and my friends probably felt the same but Mika could still do high-energy, very high quality shows until the very end of the tour. It made me wonder if he takes good enough care of his health. I didn’t worry much though. I used to worry that something bad will happen to him. I don’t worry much anymore. He makes me feel safe.

Even those rare times when we happened to be in the same plane I felt totally safe and calm. I can’t explain why I automatically assumed that someone who travels with his mother could possibly protect and save a whole plane but that was my first thought. He would figure something out. He will figure something out.

I can’t thank enough everyone who I met this summer. The German fans from my another, adoptive home country (how cute it is to say that). Isa and Ani (you ladies know how much I appreciate it that sometimes we can just have a glass of prosecco and deal with everything after that). The whole French group (I love it that I can refer to you all as “one group”). Italian families (Grazia, Valeria and the others who I meet also outside Italy, the long-time Italian fans, the gorgeous younger generation and also new fans who I now learnt to know better). My Korean friends and all my international friends from different countries.

Thank you. I will miss you. Hope to see you soon again. xxx

Rome_stage

Cavea open air theater at Auditorium Parco della Musica in Rome was one of the most interesting venues for the whole Italian tour. Formal and modern, not historical or other ways particularly beautiful or unique. However, the acoustics was wonderful and as long as the audience stayed seated the view seemed to be good from all parts of the venue. The stage was low with no barriers, one of those stages I would have loved to experience from a close distance. I couldn’t help but touching the soft red carpet every time I walked past the stage while waiting the gig to begin. So tempting.

We met as a big group of fans before the show at a restaurant next to the auditorium, chatted, took pics and had drinks, everyone dressed up a bit and looking forward to a civilized, adult event. It wasn’t going to be like that in reality of course. I knew it, the other fans knew it, Mika knew it and even the venue security knew and admitted it in advance. It’s not possible to do a normal, seated gig in Italy, the audience won’t allow it. I was disappointed to see the chaos at the stunning, historical venue in Taormina last summer, this time I was prepared and already knew to expect it.

No Place In Heaven in the beginning of the show was a kind of a countdown (see my vid here, it’s from far away but the sound is good like during the whole evening) and as soon as the first notes of Big Girl started the crowd run in front. The whole front area was filled in a few seconds. I did the same as all the other people in front of me and took a place in front row left side of the stage.

Mika saw me and Ani in the middle of the pushy crowd and laughed at us and stopped a few times to sing both sides of the stage so it was possible to see him. We saw a few songs quite well and then the security asked us all to move backwards which we naturally did. In two seconds our places were taken. Mika announced that it was okay for him that everyone stayed where they were and we were stuck in the crowd people in front and behind of us.

He can’t control the Italian audience at seated venues. He is too nice and is supposed to be that nice to people. The reason why I trust Florence will be a peaceful heaven is Simon Leclerc. Mika will sing and it will be stunningly beautiful and Simon Leclerc will take care of the rest. He has the power and the authority and he knows how to be strict. I have childlike faith in him. He won’t hesitate to silence those people. There will be no ugly posters, no screaming, clapping or even singing along. Those will be two magical nights.

Rome turned out to be a weird one. I felt like a stranger, squeezed between people I didn’t even know wearing a dress and heels, my feet and back hurting. Mika was a little bit like a stranger on stage as well. With that I mean he was there but I couldn’t see any details and it’s important for me to see him during the show. I used to think that during performances I can see only his stage personality. Now I’m starting to think those are the only moments I can see the real him. In the middle of his songs he is always familiar and someone I know so well so it feels important to also see him.

Another reason is language of course. I also used to think how much I want to see him happy (and be happy for that). Now when he talks a lot but I’m not in the group he is talking to and can’t understand his words I’m pleased to see any unfiltered emotions on his face. Happy, angry, whatever tells the story. It’s the only way to follow what’s happening on stage. He has learnt to use controlled expressions but during performances it’s a good time to let them go.

It was strange and weird but the sound was good and paid a lot of attention to it and then it was time for Over My Shoulder. And it was absolutely breathtaking. Suddenly I could recognize myself and I could recognize him and forgot my shoes and hurting feet and thought this is the reason I came to Rome. There’s always a good reason. Always. There’s a video below but it can only slightly express how amazing it was live. A stunning moment, one of the highlights of the whole tour.