Ultra Bra 
Saturday, 29 .April, 2006, 08:54 - English Entries, Finland, Music
Wikipedia.en: Ultra Bra

Whoever lives in Finland in these days will stumble over Ultra Bra sooner or later. "Bra" means "good" in Swedish language, so Ultra Bra is something "really good", if you talk Swedish. If you talk English then this of course might have a different meaning. Anyways "Ultra Bra" is the name of a famous Finnish band, that unfortunately does not exist anymore.

I first read about them on Wikipedia, most likely whilst I was following some links from the Finish Green Party (Vihreä Liitto), of which Anni Sinnemäki was a member of the band and wrote some of the lyrics. Later on I got to listen to most of their songs from the CDs of my girl friend.

The band – who only sang in Finish language – consisted of over a dozen members and existed from 1994 to 2001. During that time it gained huge popularity not only amongst the younger generation of Finns. I'm quite sure that you can ask nearly any Finnish person today about Ultra Bra – he or she will smile and shortly after start humming one of their songs. If you put some drinks to the conversation you can even hear the person sing for the rest of the evening. They are still famous, but never became known outside of Finland.

Ultra Bras music is hard to classify. Some songs are rock, others jazz, some sound like made by a big band and then the next track reminds you of a children song (such as "Hei hoi hauki"). It's best to not think in categories here, but to let them just be Finnish. Although most of the songs are lively, there are some that express a beautiful melancholy, giving a clue of the autumn and winter side of Finnish mentality. The female and male voices go perfectly together and carry one with them.

Whilst looking for more material on Ultra Bra on the web, I found the website of the Finnish Nook where's a subsection dedicated to the band, which includes not only lots of information and pictures, but also all Ultra Bra lyrics in Finnish and even translated to English. A wonderful resource, from which one can get an impression of the big variety of issues the band sang about.

Besides love songs and unobtrusive hymns about life in Finland, they expressed very clear political views for example in their songs "Ken Sauru-Wiwa is dead" or "When I was eight years old". They drift into surreal picutres, describe a boring day or talk about the longing to journey the world. And when they sing for example "voi uhmata hurjaa heppaa" in their song "Heppa", the sound of Finish language becomes part of the artwork.

My favourite song of them is Minä suojelen sinua kaikelta ("I'll protect you from everything"). The song grows from soft and gentle towards a crescendo that sounds like a hymn, never losing it's simplicity on the way. It is just wonderful, like the first rays of the summer sun stretching over the horizon.

I also found a video of their song "Villiviini" (Wild Wine) at YouTube. This little movie shows so many typical and good things of Finland and the feeling of living here, it is just as amazing as the whole band.

» English Ultra Bra Pages (with translated lyrics)
» The Finnish Nook
» Ultra Bra at English Wikipedia

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