Mika is turning 35 and I wanted to celebrate it organizing a small library party. Library party means cake, flowers and chat about books and is my usual way to celebrate everything worth celebrating in life. I needed a theme and thought nothing could be as suitable as a Moomin garden party. I’ve been re-reading Tove Jansson stories to my son this summer and The Exploits of Moominpappa (1950) and especially the description of their fantastic garden party made me immediately think of Mika and different fantasy elements in his shows and how much he – at least I imagine so – would enjoy a party like that.

A journey through a green wild flower garden. A beautiful, blue lake and explosions and showers to wet the guests in their little boats in the middle of it. A giant fake spider built to scare the whole crowd. A merry-go-around with white horses, an orchestra playing on the background and an egg-hunting lottery with golden painted eggs. Some lottery prizes meant for lazy ones, some that can be found with methodical search and some asking for a certain amount of imagination. The last group naturally meant and available only for the most creative ones!

Tove Jansson’s biography Tove Jansson Life, Art, Words by Boel Westin  is a description of Tove Jansson’s life and career not only as seen from outside but also using her own words and thoughts as written in her numerous personal diaries and detailed letters she wrote throughout her whole life. It was not a coincidence Tove Jansson became the world-known author and illustrator she was. As a daughter of a sculptor and an illustrator she knew from an early age she wants and will be an artist and wrote and illustrated small books since she was 6 and published her first story at the age of 14.

Despite of battling between art and responsibilities, the growing Moomin business expanding her duties, she always knew what is important. Her art. Her art and pure, honest joy. Young Tove Jansson attended several art schools in different countries and even after that never stopped learning. She constantly practiced new methods and techniques. She traveled, learnt from books, filled a notebook after a notebook with her texts, illustrations and research. She lived and spent time in her beloved Paris breathing the atmosphere and inspiration, pictured Italian landscapes from her trips in her stories and drew her sharp political observations in hundreds of political caricatures.

Even though Tove Jansson loved traveling, a small quiet island near the town of Borgå was her special place and she spent there summers writing, fishing and doing ongoing research on the sea and nature, making notes about colors and textures to later use in her books like Moominpappa at Sea (1965) and Moominvalley in November (1970).

One of my favorite Moomin books is the short story collection Tales from Moominvalley (1962). It starts with Snufkin on one of his many adventures. Snufkin, Moomintroll’s dear friend, stays in Moominvalley only summertime, otherwise he’s away. He needs his alone time and loving Moomintroll stays in the valley sitting at home, waiting and longing for his friend, trying to be brave, trying to accept that Snufkin must go away. Makes me a little sad to think about loving Moomintroll and his terrible longing but as Moomin wisdom tells “you can’t ever be really free if you admire somebody too much” and while walking Snufkin writes his spring tune and I always wonder if writing songs is like that in real life as well.

“It’s the right evening for the tune, Snufkin thought. A new tune, one part of expectation, two part of spring sadness and for the rest, just the great delight of walking alone.”

The other short stories in the book include the story of Fillyjonk who feared an unknown natural disaster, then faced a storm and experienced a weird feeling of freedom after that – when the worst has happened there’s nothing left to be afraid – and the heart-breaking story of the invisible child. When children are treated badly they eventually become invisible and no one can see them anymore and takes a lot of time and good care and learning to fight for them to become visible again.

The first Moomin book The Moomins and the Great Flow was written 1945 in the end of World War II to create something innocent after the depressing war years and the second book Comet in Moominland was out a year after that. As an opposite to cheerful Pippi Longstocking by Swedish Astrid Lindgren (equally familiar to many generations and published at the same time) Moomins bring the war, the darkness and fear, natural disasters and people leaving their homes for everyone to see. The both authors had a nontraditional, even bohemian perspective to the concept of the family. Pippi lives alone accompanied just by her monkey and horse. The Moomin family is enlarged and includes friends and foster children and the door of their originally round-shaped house is always open for everyone in need of warmth and comfort.

The Moomins and the Great Flow describes how Moominmamma and her son Moomintroll look for and eventually find both Moominpappa (who had gone away with hattifatteners) and a peaceful place to live in Moominvalley. Comet in Moominvalley offers a full range of dark, scary things. The comet that many ways can be seen as a symbol of an atomic bomb is coming and the red glow in the sky looks day by day more and more threatening. Everything is covered by grey dust, the ocean disappears and the dry bottom of it is soon filled by refugees who’ve been forced to leave their homes. In the middle of it Moomins try to hold on to small familiar things.”But first I should like to have some coffee.Oh I want to dance! Couldn’t we dance?

Many characters in Moomins are inspired by people close to Tove Jansson: her family, friends and lovers, both male and female. Moomintroll and later Toft (from Moominvalley in November) are said to be her own alter egos even both are actually male characters, Moominmamma ja Moominpappa have features from her own artist parents. The real life role model for Snufkin was Tove Jansson’s friend and fiancé Atos Wirtanen, a Finnish intellectual and journalist and, using Jansson’s words, “an enfant terrible” in our parliament. Tiny duo Tingumy and Bob in Finn Family Moomintroll (1948) refers to Jansson’s short but passionated relationship with theater director Vivica Bandler (characters are originally called Tofslan and Vifslan referring to Tove and Vivica) and energetic Tooticky in her red and white striped shirt is based on her long-time partner Tuulikki Pietilä, one of the most influential people in Finnish graphic arts. Moominland Midwinter (1957) where the two characters meet was written soon after the couple started their relationship in real life.

Year 1947 Tove Jansson painted herself and Vivica Bandler on a fresco ordered by Helsinki City Hall and in the biography Westin sees that something that can be compared to Tingumy and Bob opening their mystical suitcase, something that showed the couple’s love to the whole world. In Moominland Midwinter Moomintroll finally finds his inner freedom and Jansson writes in her personal letters how she’s finally arrived to the person she wants to be with, how she’s finally found the peace in her world. Sometimes the line between the fiction and real life is hard to see and according to the (biography) author it’s supposed to be like that. The reality fed the story and the story fed the reality and it’s hard to tell where something ends and something else starts and I find that astonishing. How someone’s personal life and art, their current time and the surrounding world could be integrated that way is fascinating beyond words.

People often read Moomins to children but the stories and wisdom in them are equally interesting and important for adults and that’s how Tove Jansson meant them. In the beginning her publisher was careful and said “the books might amuse also adult readers” but during time it became more and more obvious Moomins are not just for children and in some countries it was asked if they are suitable for children at all. Well of course they are.

Age is a complicated thing. I know from my own experience children are capable of very advanced thinking and on the other hand, the essence of us stays the same throughout our lives. What is deep in us was there already when we were children, it never really goes away. I know I can be as adult and mature as ever needed but when no one is asking or demanding anything I choose to do the same things I did when I was a little girl, I spend time with my dog and stay in my own thoughts thinking about different themes behind the books and music I love. I can’t always see the child in people, I can’t always see their real passion, maybe because our society often wants us to leave that behind. Lucky for us for artists it’s different. Their inner child is connected to creativity. Their inner child accepted, even encouraged.

I baked a berry cake to celebrate this special day hoping Moomins would approve it. I didn’t send any birthday gifts this year, there are no gigs at the moment and it felt appropriate to donate money to refugees instead. A lot of people are forced to leave their homes today the same way people were forced to leave their homes the time when Moomins were created. Happy 35th birthday to my favourite singer and one of my very favourite people. Have some cake everyone xxx

I’ve always loved reading about artists and their lives. Writers, painters, rock musicians. Not just about their work itself but the people behind it. There’s something fascinating in their life style and in stories about people constantly creating and focusing on their work whether they are already famous for it or for time being only known in their own circles.

Artists can have as much influence as scientists and politicians. Art has made the world as it is today as much as inventions and political decisions. Artists look at the world and describe it for other people to see, pointing out what’s important, opening people’s eyes. They can make a difference and be an active part of change. I’ve always seen Mika as one those people. I’ve always known he is intelligent and creative enough to have a real influence on people and to be a part of a bigger change through both his music and his words and example.

Something I read the other day made me think of his albums and how he described the world in them. He changed his perspective in TOOL. LICM described the world using examples and characters. In TBWKTM he was watching himself watching the world. I’ve always wondered why I feel it’s the most distant of his four albums even I’ve been lucky to hear many of the songs live and really enjoyed them. Maybe something was lost in translation, like it’s possible when I read Murakami and the Finnish translation is based on the English translation instead of the original book. Or like watching things through two filters instead of one.

Origin and No Place In Heaven (especially the title songs) felt different from beginning. Like watching a photo without any filters. Like seeing the world described by someone who is brave enough to face it directly and I think this is the reason NPIH is my favorite of these four albums. I love it how listening to music can make everything different. There’s so much to see, so much to love. Can’t wait for new songs, for all these reasons.

I read Mika will be talking to young filmmakers at Giffoni Film Festival in Italy this week and remember clips of him answering questions at the same festival last year. The audience was young, creative and enthusiastic and he seemed so inspired and interested, such a big difference compared to many of his usual interviews and Q&As. I can only wish to have an opportunity to listen to him speaking like that some day and hope these young people know how lucky they are.

I love hearing him talking – through his music or in public – about life, love, tolerance, equality and being an artist. Whether he wants it or not he is an example to many young people. And I wonder how it is for artists (in general) when they grow up. Is it still all about being creative or does it become more like business management with busy schedules and decisions, finding the right people and managing projects.

The photo above was taken at Bercy during Underwater, an unforgettable moment. The lights look like stars. X

There’s a summer competition on Mika’s FB page with the theme “how Mika’s music makes you feel” and I’m not feeling creative enough to take part but still liked the idea of people sharing their love and wanted to write a few words about the topic and made a collage above putting together some lyrics and think it sums up my feelings.

Mika’s music is huge part of my life and obviously gives me strong emotions. I enjoy especially live music, for several reasons. I’m a bit of an adrenaline junkie and concerts offer a safe, healthy way to get loads of it. Waiting for the moment, gathering together and sharing energy with like-minded people, gradually feeling the excitement coming from the stage and finally experiencing the music taking over the whole audience like a giant wave. There’re no words to describe it all. I can feel it my whole body, in my every muscle.

I enjoy observing as well. Watching people doing their work on stage, seeing the chemistry, paying attention to every detail and following how the show develops during the tour. Every song has a story and just knowing it feeds my imagination. I enjoy traveling and different cultures and feel amazed to watch how music brings us together time after time, concert after concert.

Listening to the singing is the most important part of the experience of course. That moment there’s nothing else in the world. Anxiety, tiredness, whatever was disturbing me is gone. I feel harmonious and happily aware how different and extremely beautiful the world suddenly looks. It’s a blissful moment, I can travel as far as it takes to experience it.

I carry the feeling back home with me and start noticing details and colors and feel a powerful urge to do something new and different and surprisingly have also energy for that. Sometimes I travel between gigs just to see his face to be reminded of his universe but I listen to Mika’s music at home as well. Not in my car or on the background (it’s too important for that) but for comfort and choosing songs carefully. Usually something soothing, maybe something I can’t hear at gigs.

What I particularly love in a live concert situation is how real it shows the artist. I used to think artists are more themselves outside the stage (naturally, because on stage they are performing or even acting a role) but I’ve learnt it’s the other way around. Stage is the place where they have to face everything exactly as they are.

It’s rare moments when any of us can be who we really are and not pretend anything. That’s not because people are generally fake but because this is how our society works. There are rules that tell us what to do and ignoring them can mean no job, no money, no status, no access, no friends or no likings in social media. People say things they don’t mean, pretend to care, are aware of opinions and try to fulfill expectations whether they want all that or not.

And those expectations can follow artists on stage but when the performance is extraordinary good, when the artist is truly inside the song, focused on the music and feeling pure enjoyment of being on stage there’s no space for them any more. There’s only that particular moment and the openness with no possibility to be distant, that’s not even an option. And it’s somehow so real. Well it’s as real as it can be.

Being able to experience all that is one of the biggest luxuries in life. I feel grateful to have this music in my life. xxx

I can feel the lack of Mika gigs in my stomach. I’ve had this feeling before so I can recognize it. It’s not the waiting, I can be rational with that. It’s the uncertainty. I’ve never liked not knowing.

I enjoy live music in general so a couple of days ago I went to see a concert by a local artist I like. It was a huge, special celebration gig and made me very touched. Not just as a concert even everything went well but as an overview to someone’s career and whole life as an artist. What touched me most was the way this artist seemed to value both the opportunity to perform at the legendary venue and the crowd sharing the event with him.

Seeing this one of the kind anniversary concert made me automatically think of Mika and his big shows at PDP and Bercy and how grateful I am for seeing them both. Massive, special spectacles are rarely the best ever concerts (there’s too much pressure and expectations for that) but can have and often do have a huge personal meaning for the artist. For a fan it’s like seeing someone’s career and life-long dreams in two hours. If everything goes well and these people put their hearts and personality into the show we can see them not only as artists but also as persons and maybe even children they once were. This is what I thought while watching the Bercy show. I imagined Mika as a child. The dreams he had.

I discovered the local artist I mentioned a few years ago because of his story-telling skills. I went to see a gig after listening to his lyrics, enjoyed it and have seen several gigs after that. I was impressed by his professionalism both with the audience and as a musician. I don’t know much about music but have seen many artists and bands on stage and can recognize when people know what they are doing. I love watching Mika’s musicians as well and I’m always impressed by them and especially by the ones who ask only little attention but take a lot of responsibility. Watching Curtis taking his guitar and joining the wild playing during Love Today (in the middle of being busy in every way) is one my favorite moments during every gig.

The artist I saw the other day is known as a private, introverted person which seems typical for many artists even it feels paradoxical while watching how confident they look on stage. Sometimes people are born to be on stage. What happens outside it doesn’t matter, on stage they can be whatever they like. Sometimes artists learn to be good performers during time simply because they have to (to be able to make music). I’ve always seen Mika in the first group and thought performing is an instinct for him but of course he has come a long way during the past ten years as well.

Reading people and their reactions and connecting with the audience may start from natural sensitivity but to really value the audience and to truly understand the meaning of the crowd comes only after hard times when it’s clear not only how it feels to work for success but how it feels to work for it and still not achieve it. When it’s not taken for granted that people will show up. So cruel but also an important part of growing as an artist. I couldn’t help but thinking about all this while enjoying the music the other night.

Usually it’s all about music but these big, special shows make me emotional in many other ways as well. I love watching how artists shamelessly do something they have always wanted to do, no matter how grand it is and even if it means taking a risk of not everyone understanding them. I love watching them taking time to value the moment, the possibility to be on that particular stage that particular time and the audience around them. Something so easy to forget at regular gigs.

We are all lucky every single time we can share a gig experience together. Can’t wait to do it again. Sending love xxx

I read some old entries and soon realized how much I miss traveling. I’ve travelled crazy amounts during the past few years and loved every moment. I travel actually more than it looks because most times I travel back and forth to see my family between the gigs. Sometimes I do three gigs during one week and travel back to Helsinki after every gig and it’s a lot of sitting in planes and trains but I like it and don’t mind it at all. In the future my traveling will probably be easier because my boys are getting older and don’t seem to need me as full-time as so far.

The next thing I thought was how much I’ve loved every gig I’ve seen. I don’t much hide my love and it’s growing day by day and the first collage is referring to that. Even my family seems to think it’s something totally natural and they listen to me talking about Mika and his music like he was a distant relative who we don’t actually know but obviously still have a reason to be very proud of.

I wanted to do “my favorite gigs list” but it was surprisingly difficult. My memories are a mix of personal feelings not only related to music and performances but also to traveling, people and many special details I connect to different gigs. This and this day came to mind as examples of my favorite Mika related days with small intimate gigs in the both evenings. This day didn’t include a gig but is still one of my dearest memories.

It’s safe to say that Mika symphony concerts and his collaborations with Simon Leclerc have been my favorites of many different collaborations Mika has done during years. The circumstances for symphony concerts are unique and special every time and I can’t pick only one as my favorite and would say I just generally love the concept ( here is my report from Como and the blog post I wrote about the symphony album).

Listening to Mika at his piano at tiny venues comes very high at my list after that and I’m loving new The Art of Song covers and hope there will be something similar like the Intimate US tour (2013) in the future. The interaction between Mika and his audience at small club style gigs is warm, lovely and very special and I’ve seen also many other memorable small gigs both in the US and in Europe and even in my home town Helsinki.

It’s still important to see also colorful, high-energy band gigs and proper tours with many details and well-thought stage settings. I can so well remember the happy feeling I had after the first Heaven Tour gig in Rennes or the high-energy and cheerful gig in Strasbourg. Even some festival settings like the one with paintings and historical costumes have been extremely memorable and are definitely worth mentioning on my list.

I’m always super proud when Mika is doing high-quality headlining performances at massive old-school and well-known festivals like he did at Paleo or Sziget or Ostrava Colors and would never skip big and important one time only events like PDP or Bercy which both involved a huge amount of work, planning and personal investment from him and were not only big moments that time but also considering Mika’s whole career.

In the second collage the heart balloons are symbolizing love and not real balloons of course (I mean you release your balloons and they are gone forever). I don’t like the idea of forcing people to anything or setting them demands or limits and was thinking of that while doing the collage. The result is always better if people feel they are free to do what they want and if something doesn’t happen it was not supposed to. A little bit off topic but I still added the collage above. xxx

In this month it will be 9 years since I saw my very first Mika gig and later this year it will be 10 years since I discovered this artist and it doesn’t feel that long. I can remember the exact moment and even the days and weeks after hearing his music for the first time like it was yesterday. I was totally mesmerized. I still am.

When I think of this time period I realize how much has happened. I’ve travelled and visited more than 30 different countries, seen many concerts, festivals and events and watched Mika on stage at all kind of venues and learnt to know wonderful people from all over the world.

Discovering his music changed my life but during these years I’ve changed a little bit as well. When I compare the past few years to the beginning of this time period many things are similar but many things are also different or I see them differently than I used to.

For example I don’t want to apologize any more. During the first few years I always wanted to apologize for being in the audience so often because with the same people the audience is not fresh and new. However, a totally new fan base doesn’t appear overnight, it’s not realistic to expect that and people coming back simply means the artist has done something right and well.

I used to be embarrassed for being a fan, too. I’m not anymore. Considering the world and the situation around us at the moment we all should find strength and positive energy in everything good and beautiful, music being just one example. Years ago only a small group of fans travelled long distances  but now a bigger group of fans travels and we meet all around the world and I have friends who travel for other artists as well.

There’s this label we get when we become “fans”. People think we must be somehow weird or crazy or obsessed and I kind of understand it because being this dedicated is unusual but always try my best to be polite and respectful and give everyone privacy and space and think that putting someone high on my priority list should make them feel loved and not me embarrassed.

I’m astonished how much Mika has developed as an artist during the past few years. The same vibe I earlier got adding things up comes now purely from his singing. He is so much more open on stage than he used to be and somehow everything I want to know is suddenly there as soon as he starts to sing.

Also, he is braver than he was in his early days and not afraid to show his old-fashioned elegance. Despite of his age he sometimes looks like an old man (or at least definitely not the boy he was 10 years ago) and it’s so very charming. I love his sense of style and how we can see it in everything he does.

After all these years I’m still here because I know I can expect something special. Not just an album and then a tour and then the same again but something much more interesting. Symphony music, theater, a circus or other huge spectacle or something intimate and personal, even a monologue on stage. xxx

 

casamika_2016

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

Yesterday the first thing I read in the morning was the tragic news about David Bowie’s sudden death. I felt shocked and sad and couldn’t believe it was true. Not that I had or have any deep knowledge of Bowie as an artist/his production, born in the 70’s I just naturally grew up knowing his music and somehow always understood what a remarkable person he was. What kind of an influence he had, how much ahead of his time he was. During years some of his older songs just happened to become my all time favorite tracks.

I kept reading news, articles and comments I saw on my social media timelines. People who were lucky to have seen his concerts cherished their experiences, everyone linked their favorite Bowie songs and explained what the songs meant to them and many people described the role he had in their growing up and becoming the persons they eventually became. It was all so huge and touching that I had tears in my eyes while beginning to understand the massive impact Bowie had on so many generations of people.

It’s emotional to think how much impact certain artists, their songs, albums and concerts and music in general can have on us and on our lives. How much my own life changed when I finally discovered music that could match with my thoughts and world. How lucky I was to find an artist who’s music can always magically give me the energy I need the moments I need it most.

It’s not only about the pleasure I get from the music or the artist personality I’ve learn to love. It’s also about the atmosphere created around the music, someone encouraging and showing how to be more curious and learn new, how to sometimes choose something else than the most obvious choice, how to be passionate, love life and beauty and genuinely care about other people and the world.

I will blog more in February, the month will be hectic. First meeting fellow Mika fans in Korea and Japan. So excited about my trip to Asia, about (finally) experiencing the Korean audience and about going back to Japan and can’t thank enough my Asian friends for all their help and organizing. After that to China together with my husband. The timing is good – our winter holiday week – so I casually suggested my husband a trip to China together. I wasn’t sure he wants to travel all the way just for concerts but to my surprise he said yes so we started to make plans. Really looking forward to writing about everything I see during my trips.

Meanwhile listening to my favorite David Bowie song and to all my favorite Mika songs as many times as I feel like. Just because I can and because music makes life better.

A little summary of this year before starting the European tour. 2015 seems to be my favorite Mika year so far! I’m happy with the new album. He says he makes joyful music but I can hear the melancholy… I love it as it is and it sounds real. Mika is finding his place in the music business and that reflects on his music as well. Also, I’m impressed and proud he is turning his new celebrity status to a very meaningful direction and speaking out, setting an example and taking part several charity projects. Some of my favorites for the year 2015 so far:

Montreal, of course. It feels like it was a life time ago but it actually happened this year. An extraordinary experience for everyone who could be there and something I will never forget. The big orchestra gave the songs the justice they truly deserve. I used to think nothing could top the Intimate US tour, I absolutely loved the intimate setting, getting deeper in the music and the whole concept. However, Montreal was beyond everything I could ever expect. The acoustics was wonderful, the orchestra incredibly powerful and Mika’s singing focused and more beautiful than ever.

I did trips to the US and Asia earlier this year and loved them both! I felt grateful for seeing the new setting and some smaller gigs before big summer season festivals and for the opportunity to meet new people and to finally get to know Japan (which I absolutely loved). I still highly appreciate those experiences and hope to be able to visit both North-America and Asia again in the near future. My photo galleries from New York here and from Tokyo here.

I saw several great shows and festival performances during the summer months and even it’s difficult to pick only two I’ll say Cattolica and Colors of Ostrava Festival as my biggest favorites. I read my thoughts about Cattolica and it immediately brought back the memories. Definitely my favorite show for the summer.

Ostrava on the other hand was one of the best festival performances I’ve seen. It was sharp from the beginning to the end and extremely respectful towards the audience, he went close to the crowd and literally gave his everything ignoring the pouring rain and his fancy outfit. I generally like old-school festivals with long traditions, it’s also an honor for Mika to be a headliner and a part of their good lineups. My photo gallery from Ostrava is here.

The tour dates for September/October below. Makes you wish you lived in France, doesn’t it? I’m planning to do like I always do with tours, trying to see the beginning and the ending and as many shows between as I can easily fit in family schedules, including different countries and some interesting looking venues.

September

18 September Le Liberte, Rennes, France

19 September Zenith, Paris, France

20 September, Zenith, Lille, France

22 September Heineken Music Hall, Amsterdam, Netherlands

23 September Forest National, Brussels, Belgium

25 September Den Atelier, Luxembourg

26 September Komplex 457, Zurich, Switzerland

27 September Mediolanum Forum, Milan, Italy

29 September Palalottomatica, Rome, Italy

30 September Mandela Forum, Florence, Italy

October

01 October L’Amphitheatre Lyon, France

03 October Medoquine, Bordeaux, France

04 October Le Bikini, Toulouse, France

05 October El Ring de Barclaycard, Madrid, Spain

07 October Le Silo, Marseille, France

08 October Le Summum, Grenoble, France

09 October Zenith, Nancy, France

11 October Le Phare, Tournefeuille, France

13 October Zenith, Limoges, France

14 October Vendespace, Mouilleron Le Captif, France

16 October Zenith, Caen, France

17 October Zenith, Paris, France

18 October Adelphe Theatre, London, UK

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I have a few extra tickets (which I don’t need for myself) for the upcoming tour and I thought it would be fun to give away a pair of tickets for a couple of sold out shows as a nice surprise for someone who didn’t manage to buy tickets or needs more for their friends or family. I’m giving away

  • a pair of standing tickets to see Mika at Mediolanum Forum, Assago, Milan 27th September (presale tickets so will get them at the venue box office the day of the gig)
  • a pair of seated tickets to see Mika at Zenith, Paris 17th October (not numbered seats).

Both shows are sold out, send me an email if interested nina(a)mikagigs.com. See you soon at gigs xx

Edit: The tickets are gone! Thanks everyone who retweeted the giveaway! 

What’s the point in singing silly love songs.

You think you’re in love, boy, but you don’t really know what love is. You think love is a joke but there ain’t too much to laugh at. Love is just a cautionary, momentary, reactionary lie. Love is a drug. Love is addiction. Some love is a pill and some love is a candy cane – it tastes so sweet but leaves you feeling sick with pain. Love is overrated (in this goddamn world). It’s just an illusion to me.

There was a girl, thought she knew what her life was going to do. Then she goes and falls in love and throws it all away. Could you believe the same old story. This is the hardest story that I’ve ever told.

I’m sitting across from you and dreaming of the things I do. I say nothing but stare at you. Looks that books take pages to tell, the whole world in your pocket. Everybody’s smiling at you everywhere you go. Like you’ve got that secret that everybody else wants to know.

You come a little closer, I rest upon your shoulder. You’re calling me baby. In thirty years we’ll still be happy. Don’t know why but all your words sound just like a melody. From the pieces that I’ve heard I could build a symphony. With your love I can breath underwater. You are the sun and the light, you are the freedom I fight. You are the origin of love.

But everything changes in the blink of an eye. To avoid conversation you’re ignoring me. You shout with nothing to say and fight til you get your way. It hurts but what can I do, I won’t turn into a kid too. I look at you, you look at me, we bite each other. It’s getting harder and harder to bear. Now enough is enough. I’m not a trick up your sleeve, I’m not a part of your show. What you’re here for, I don’t need it.

Someone needs to say it first, even if the words may hurt. Guess what lover, I’m leaving. You’re making me more ordinary in every possible way. It’s nothing like the life we wanted. You better move on cause I’m ready for more than this. Save me from your theories. There won’t be me and you. No hope no love no glory. No happy ending.

Blame it on me. Make it my fault, win the game. Point the finger, place the blame. Blame it on your mother, blame it on your father. Blame it on the girls, blame it on the boys. Blame it on the weather. Blame it on you. You could have children and a wife – a perfect little life – but you blow it on a bottle of wine.

You got a dangerous obsession. Now I’m in need of some protection, that was never my intention. Used to love me now you hate me. Now I’m lost and I’m screaming for help. I feel like trash. Why don’t you like me? Why don’t you like yourself?

Another day, another wake up. Sorrow is so peculiar. It comes in a day, then it’ll never leave you. You take a pill, wonder if it will never fix you. I’m busy in the blissful unaware. I don’t care if I ever talk to you again.

This is just my interpretation. What’s the point in singing silly love songs.

(Just a fictional story I made for fun. Words borrowed from Mika.)

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Name Mika is used both as a male and a female name. In countries like Japan it’s given mainly for girls, in Finland it’s a very common name for an adult man. During years 1960-79 as many as 29 112 boys in Finland were named Mika (just to compare, only 9 girls), during years 1980-99 9195 boys and 2000-09 only 745 (source: Finnish Population Register Center).

When I was a school girl I knew several boys called Mika, unfortunately none of them really gorgeous and definitely not curly haired. I used to think Mika is a boring name. Little did I know. Name Mika is celebrated in Finland on 29th September. Writer Mika Waltari (1908-79) and film director Mika Kaurismäki (born 1955) are two internationally known Finns.

The video is from Helsinki, I loved it when Mika was talking about his name (1:45).

Feels a good idea to start my new blog with a tiny historical review and tell how I discovered my favorite artist – London-based, Beirut-born singer-songwriter Mika – and his music. I knew the exact date already but by looking the pictures above I can tell even the exact time. The pics are captured from the official Finnish Big Brother 2007 recording. I was watching the live online broadcast at the final party night and suddenly Relax was played in the house. I was hypnotized from the first notes and knew immediately I had stepped into a magical world. There was no way back.

I’m fascinated by his voice and the whole world Mika has created around his songs. For me it’s all about his live shows. I appreciate him as an artist and traveling to see his concerts is my way to show my support. Mostly, it’s just very selfish. As I see it, music is a legal drug.

According to a new Canadian study I saw the other day (originally published in Nature Neuroscience 14, 2011) music, as an abstract stimulus, can arouse feelings of euphoria and craving, similar to tangible rewards that involve the striatal dopaminergic system. The results indicate that there are anatomically distinct dopamine release during anticipation and experience of peak emotion to music. It simply means that your favorite music can give you the same euphoric pleasure as delicious food, sex or even some drugs like cocaine.

That basicly explains it all. Never underestimate the power of music.

After hearing Relax for the very first time I searched for more information, listened to Youtube videos (over and over again) and bought tickets to see my first Mika gig at Brixton Academy in London (and soon after that the huge PDP concert in Paris). I have seen many gigs since then. This blog is a place to share my video clips, pictures and reviews, links and some Mika-inspired thoughts.