HAVING promoted the enjoyment of ethnically diverse music in Helsinki since 1988, Etnosoi! is celebrating its 25th jubilee this year from 6 to 24 November. Organised since 1989 by the Global Music Centre, the festival continues to shine a light on a variety of cultures on the Finnish stage that might not otherwise be left unexplored and unexposed here.

Focusing on Helsinki, yet offering some events also in Tampere, Etnosoi! offers its audience the opportunity to travel around the globe, sampling a variety of breathtaking sights and sounds from places such as India, Iran, Crete and Tuva.

TURKU-based indie pop band Cats on Fire has enjoyed a growing following in Finland and overseas alike. The band was established in 2001 and has since released a bunch of EP’s and two records, The Province Complains and Our Temprance Movement. A few months back Cats on Fire released a compilation Dealing in Antiques with a mix of songs from way back and a few pleasantly surprising new tracks. This summer the four strong band spreads its wings and tours across the seas with, unfortunately for us, no gigs to their name in Finland. SixDegrees caught up with Mattias Björkas, the band’s lead singer, on the eve of the big tour.

FINNISH singer-songwriter Maija Vilkkumaa is one of the most established Finnish artists around. She has been a constant favourite among Finns for more than ten years and has just confirmed her status with her sixth album Kunnes joet muuttaa suuntaa already enjoying gold sales after its first week on release.

What is the secret behind your success?

I don’t actually think about “success” – that would drive me insane! I make the kind of music that I like. Writing songs is not that hard, but surviving with my own thoughts sometimes is. I don’t like to let myself get away with things, but on the other hand, one can’t be too hard on herself. I move forward with intuition and passion!

HELSINKI electro pop duo TV OFF have been steadily gaining momentum with frequent live appearances, some buzz-worthy digital singles, performances as far out as London and Tokyo, and their own monthly club night, but coming up with an album release has taken its sweet time. Their debut LP The Music Machine is finally out on 12 May.

”We started working on it about 2.5 years ago, but we set out with the notion that we want to do it right the first time,” says the duo’s male half Markku. ”It was part meticulousness and part healthy perfectionism.”

Music blogs are the medium of the day. it seems Five years ago MySpace was all the rage, bringing us Lily Allen and (ahem) Sean Kingston. Well, that’s completely passé now. Today savvy pop fans are scouring a quagmire of music blogs for the hottest new MP3s instead.

In this new order, blog aggregators – sites that collect the headlines and compress thousands of articles from blogs around the world into a continuous feed of music news – wield great power for stirring buzz around certain artists.

In that regard Helsinki indie rockers Kiki Pau were momentarily the most hyped Finnish band in February, when their digital single An Old Song shot to the top ten of...

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