After the many hard rock bands and a disco act, two singers from Finland’s most successful contemporary folk group Kuunkuiskaajat will represent the country at this year’s Eurovision Song Contest in Oslo.
Susan Aho and Johanna Virtanen are the co-founders and members of the duo Kuunkuiskaajat (Moon Whispers). Their eponymous album was released in December 2009. A month later their cheerful and charming performance at the Finnish national selection for the Eurovision Song Contest conquered the hearts of the Finns. Kuunkuiskaajat beat all the pre-contest favourites by receiving 42 per cent of the votes.
The Finnish entry is titled Työlki Ellää and is written and composed by Timo Kiiskinen. It is influenced both by old Finnish poetic runo song and gypsy music. Susan Aho even claims to have some Romany blood. Part of the song is performed in Karelian dialect, which is spoken in Eastern Finland. The tongue-in-cheek title translates as “You can also make a living by working” (but it's business that makes you rich).
Susan (36) started playing accordion at the age of 13. She has obtained a Master of Music degree at the Sibelius Academy Folk Music Department. Susan is not only a professional musician, but also a puppeteer. Currently she works at the internationally renowned puppet theatre Sampo.
Johanna (33) started her musical studies at the Central Ostrobothnian Conservatory in Kokkola. She continued studying folk music and singing at the Sibelius Academy and her plan is to obtain a Master of Music degree in the near future. Johanna is a professional vocal teacher and is specialized in childbirth singing. In addition she plays harmonium, kantele and 2-row accordion.
As members of Värttinä, Susan and Johanna have toured extensively in Europe and all over the world, in more than 30 countries in total. One of the group’s most notable projects in recent years was composing music for The Lord Of The Rings theatrical adaptation.