It was simply impossible to escape the hype around The Da Vinci Code. It made Dan Brown the world’s biggest thriller writer, and after over 60 million copies sold, fans were salivating for another page-turner featuring the brilliant Professor Robert Langdon. On 15 September 2009 the anticipation was over. On the first day The Lost Symbol sold 1 million copies, making it the fastest selling book written for adults in history.

Brown has a gift for writing fast-paced, surprising fiction to fit a well-edited action movie. Almost impossible to put down, his books combine often controversial science with a gripping plot. But after what was considered the biggest revelation of our time, what does Brown have left to write about?

Since 1988 Helsinki’s Etno-Soi! world music festival has brought artists together from all corners of the earth, from Indonesia to Indiana, but with a slight leaning towards the African continent. This year afro-pop sensation Dobet Gnahoré will carry on that tradition in the main concert at Savoy Theatre. But there is a buzz of activity in a number of clubs and restaurants around central Helsinki.

Hailed as the new face of Mother Africa, with a voice and a role compared to Miriam Makeba and her powerful vocal bridge between traditional African and western pop drawing parallels with Angelique Kidjo, Dobet Gnahoré is the rising star headlining the Etnosoi! Festival. Her latest album Na Africa has been praised for continuing the breadth of her percussionist father Boni Gnahoré’s pan-African vision while adding her own focus through her songs, which highlight issues of women’s and children’s rights on the continent.

It must be admitted that Finnish tango has hitherto not been regarded as a particularly contemporary genre of music. If you’ve ever seen a band perform traditional tango, humppa or jenkka, there’s a fairly good chance it was on a boat to Sweden played by a trio of bored musicians using electric instruments, as very old and/or drunk people shuffled around on the dance floor. In this case, the best things about the music – intense melancholy and bouncing rhythms – are removed, and replaced with severe alcoholism and boredom.

Happily enough, there is the possibility of hearing the songs more or less as they were played back in the heyday of Finnish popular music (1930s and 1940s). Vallilan Tango, “the old-fashioned dance orchestra for ...

Actress in 2 tongues

One of the bright new stars of Finnish stage and screen, Sanna-June Hyde is currently working in the Helsinki City Theatre in Salaa Rakas and Risto Räppääjä. She is also about to commence filming in Germany and stars in Pihalla, a new film directed by Toni Laine. Pihalla is a new take on love, life and culture clashes in the lives of young adults. It is also a story about coming to Finland and adapting to a new life. On a stormy afternoon SixDegrees sat down with the busy actress, who lit up the dark restaurant with her bubbly presence.