The Finland Connection

The Finland Connection is being made available for the enjoyment of the Northland's Finnish Community. Use the Finnish Connection for links to Finnish Newspapers. These links will not only provide you with up-to-the minute news from Finland, but also provide you or your  children a great opportunity  to brush up on your use of the Finnish language.




Helsingin Sanomat  Full feature Helsinki Newspaper available in English or Finland
Savon Sanomat  Full feature Iisalmi Newspaper available in Finnish only
Lansi-Savo  A Mikkeli Newspaper providing local and national news in Finnish
Aamulehti A full feature Tampere newspaper in Finnish only
Turun Sanomat  A full feature Turku newspaper available in Finnish only.
The Finnish American Reporter

The Finnish American Reporter is a monthly, English language journal, established in 1986, featuring articles and news reports of interest to Finns across North America, in Finland and around the world.


Viktor Klemenko  Sings "How Great Thou Art"  (English)
Viktor Klemenko  Sings "Oi Herra Surri"  (Finnish)
Viktor Klemenko  Sings "Amazing Grace" (Finnish)
Laulun Voimaa Palm Sunday Broadcast 
  1. Margarets Walttz
  2. Armo Suuri Ihmeinen
  3. Uskossa Nostan Katseen
  4. Kultaa Tai Kunniaa
  5. Galli Lay-on
  6. Aika Mennyt Palaje cikoskaa
  7. Kun Kristus Kulki
  8. Raukaa Pyydas Paale Maen
  9. Ei Ilman Taisteluia
  10. Toisenlainen Paiva
  11. Kavat Sanet
  12. Walts Instrumental

Laulun Voimaa Easter Sunday Broadcast 

  13. Metsakukkia Instrumental
  14. OiIhmeinen
  15. Laulaa Hanesta
  16. Oi Herra Suuri
  17. Muistoja Kotimaasta
  18. Puutathassa
  19. Puutatoja Choir
  20. Armo Suur Ihmeinen
  21. Uskotaan Niin Voitetann
  22. Elama Juksuhaudoiss
  23. Saanhan Herra Kanssas
  24. Instrumental


Laulun Voimaa 04-13-08

  Part 1      Part 2       Part 3

Laulun Voimaa 04-20-08

  Part1       Part 2       Part 3


Hyvää Joulua!

December 24, 2009

Tuesday evening three Finnish Elves and a small group of American-Finlanders gathered at the Finnish American Heritage Center in Hancock.

The gathering sang holiday songs and carols while the Three Semi-Finnish Elves provided the musical accompaniment.

The Elves names will now be made public, they were Pasi Lautala, Oren Tikkanen,  and Randy (Raimo) Wakeham.

Varpunen Jouluaamuna



Finnish Independence Day 2009

December 10, 2009
On Sunday, December 6, at 2:00 p.m., the Finlandia University Finnish American Heritage Center hosted its 92nd annual Finnish Independence Day program. The program celebrates the anniversary of the date Finland gained its independence in 1917.




Ainon Tupa to Host 2011 Meet

Baraga - November 17, 2009

The monthly meeting of the Ladies of Keleva, Ainon Tupa #13 was held in Baraga on Novmber 10th.

A report from the Ladies of Kaleva's Midwest District meeting held in Duluth on September 26 was given by Linda Graham. Next year's meeting will be hosted by the Thunder Bay, Ontario Tupa.

Ainon Tupa will be hosting the Midwest District meeting in 2011 and
the group discussed possible location for the event.

Kris Miilu gave an update on the possibility of getting the Mason Building. The group has been investigating the possibility of purchasing the Old Mass City Mason Building. After considering all the pros and cons it was determined that the building is too old and requires too much repair. The cost of the building and the repairs would be more than the group can afford.

ED. Note: The Ladies of Kaliva provide among other things, college scholarships to the area's Finnish Youth.


Women of Niskavuori
Delights Four Audiences

Hancock – October 26, 2009

The Finlandia University fall play was performed this past weekend at the Finnish American Heritage Center in Hancock.

There were evening performances Thursday, Friday and Saturday, and there was a sold-out matinee performance yesterday afternoon.

The play, "Women of Niskavuori," was written in 1936 by Hella Wuolijoki. It is a well-known Finnish play and since the year 2000 has been staged over 40 times in this country. It is believed that this was the first production of the play performed in English. Wuolijoki often wrote under the pseudonym of Juhani Teruapaa.

Hella Wuolijoki, 1886-1954, was one of the most colorful personalities in 20th-century Finland. She was a powerful and wealthy woman who headed up successful lumber and petroleum businesses on the one hand, and wrote left-wing plays on the other.

"The Women of Niskavuori" is the first of five plays that Wuolijoki wrote about Niskavuori, and all deal realistically with the problems encountered by strong women. One of her plays, "Juurakon Hulda," was adapted into the film, "The Farmer's Daughter," with Loretta Young and Joseph Cotten, which reportedly won an Oscar. She is credited as being one of the three most-performed playwrights in Finland, along with Aleksis Kivi

Her most famous internationally known play is "Herra puntila and His Man Mattii co-authored with Bercht which was performed at the Finnish American Heritage Center last fall.

The play was directed by Melvin Kangas who also produced and directed last year’s outstanding performance.

Melvin and his wonderful cast did a terrific job in translating this Comedy-Drama into an English performance that so many people could understand, feel and enjoy.  The central charachters of the paly were

Lovissa Niskavuori, Niskavuori's elderly mistress, played by Pam Pouttu

Aarne Niskavuori, Lovissa's son, played by Pasi Lautala

Martta Niskavuori, Aarne's wife, played by Kaisa Randolph

All the actors and actresses of the cast did a wonderful job in portraying their characters and the ups and downs of emotions of this play.

Ilona Ahlgren, The new school teacher, played by Meghan Pachmayer
The play's story is one of power, complicated love relations, and conflict between the traditional and the modern. Set against the background of the Niskavuori family estate, the play is the first part of a four-part saga in the vein of "Upstairs, Downstairs." Her most famous intemationally known play is "Herra puntila and His Man Mattii co-authored with Bertolt Brech! which was performed at the Finnish American Heritage Center last fall. She is best known in her native Finland for "the Niska- vuori Saga" of which our play, "Women of Niskavuori" is the first of the series. It was written in 1935. She often wrote under the pseudonym of Juhani Teruapaa.



Celebrating St. Urho in Iron County With Dorothy and the Boys 

KIMBALL - Little Finland in Kimball, was the scene  of Sunday’s celebration of St. Urho’s Day. Gogebic and Iron County Finlanders spent the afternoon listening and dancing to the great music of Dorothy and the Boys. The musical group plays and variety of music for their audience which includes polkas, country and western and vintage popular songs.

"Kalevala Land of Heroes" 
to Play in Wixom August 22nd

Hello all-

I just want to make sure that I have informed everyone that our troupe of "Kalevala: Land of Heroes" will be making a trip down to "Finn Camp" ( in Wixom, Michigan for two shows on August 22nd.

Matinee at 11am and evening at 7pm.

Tickets purchased in advance are $12/adult and $8/child to 17 years old. Tickets purchased at the door are $15/adult and $10/child to 17 years old.
These performances are sponsored by: Knights and Ladies of the Kalevala, Detroit Finnish Cooperative Summer Camp Assocation (Finn Camp), and the Finnish Center Association.

Facebook users - we have created an "event" for this on Facebook
(I'm pretty sure that you have to be logged in to Facebook to get that link to display properly)  If you're on Facebook, I'd love it if you RSVP'd... even if you RSVP that you aren't able to attend.

PLEASE help us publicize this event by sharing it with as you deem appropriate. 

Also -- we did a big section of the show at Scandinavian Midsummer Fest in Marquette in June and it was very well received.  A section of the video for that is online here: 

All of us involved are really pleased at the response to this show.  I don't think that there are any plans in the works for the show are after August 21st, but we're open to suggestions. 

Thank you for all your support and thank you for talking this show up to your friends.  It has been really helpful.

-Paul Olson

Celebrating Midsummer
Juhannus at Little Finland
Kimball - June 22, 2009

Johannus a high point on the Finnish calendar comes exactly six months after Christmas, when the interminable nights of winter have given way to the white nights of the Finnish summer. In the north of Finland, Midsummer marks the peak of the exotic appeal of the Arctic, as the sun remains above the horizon all night.

Lighting a bonfire is the high point of Midsummer night. Originally, bonfires were only part of the eastern Finnish Midsummer In the Finnish midsummer celebration tradition, bonfires (kokko) are burnt at lakesides. celebrations.


 Lots of "Good News" for
Finnish American Reporter

(L to R) ELCA NGLS Bishop Thomas Skrenes, FAR editor James Kurtti, and FAR Asst. Editor David Maki at the Good News Award luncheon and awards ceremony June 10 in Marquette, Mich.
June 15, 2009

Lots of "Good News" for Finnish American Reporter

HANCOCK, MI - The Finnish American Reporter received some good news June 10
in Marquette, Mich. At a luncheon and awards ceremony the monthly newspaper
was awarded three 2009 Good News Awards.

The awards are sponsored by the religious leaders of the United Methodist,
Catholic, Episcopal, Evangelical Lutheran, and Presbyterian churches in the
Upper Peninsula of Michigan region. Since 1998 the Good News Awards have
been honoring works of excellence in broadcasting and print that affirm the
dignity of people, recognize and uphold universally-recognized human values,
and uplift and nourish the human spirit, says a recent news release from the
Diocese of Marquette.

In the Weekly, Biweekly, Monthly Newspapers category, the Finnish American
Reporter (FAR) received the following Good News Awards.

The first was a Feature Story award for the article, "Finns in School Part
5: Cross-curricular Culture," in which FAR editor James Kurtti reported how
teachers at Jeffers High School, Painesdale, Mich., incorporate Finnish
culture into several subjects.

The second, a Certificate of Merit in the Editorial category, also by
Kurtti, was for "Simple Gifts" in which Kurtti wrote of the magic of
Christmas traditions.

Finally, the FAR was awarded a Certificate of Merit for "Juhannus Kokko
(Bonfire)," a photograph taken by Kurtti of the annual bonfire at Toivola,
Mich., to celebrate midsummer.

The Finnish American Reporter, published by Finlandia University, is a
monthly English-language journal containing news and items of interest to
Finns and Finnish-Americans. For additional information about the FAR,
please contact James Kurtti at 906-487-7302 or

For additional information about the Good News Awards, please contact the
Diocese of Marquette at 906- 227-9129.

Gawboy Art Exhibit at Finlandia

photo above - Helmi In Her Garden (based on photo taken in 1975)

Hancock January 29, 2009

An exhibit titled "Transforming the Cutover" by artist Carl Gawboy is featured at the Finlandia University Gallery, located in the Finnish American Heritage Center
An opening reception for the artist took place at gallery Thursday, January 22nd.

Gawboy's opening reception was part of a special event at the FAHC dubbed, "Indigenous Night." On the same evening, at 6:00 p.m., Sámi scholars Faith Fjeld and Nathan Muus  presented a program about the Alaska Reindeer Project of the late 1890s. An exhibit exploring the Reindeer Project is also on display at the Heritage Center. (see related story)

As the son of a Finnish mother and an Ojibwe father, Carl Gawboy's paintings convey a unique vantage point. Raised on his mother's family farm in northern Minnesota, the youngest of eight children, Gawboy decided early to become an artist. He was determined that his art would not be falsely romantic, but would rather draw on his unique childhood experiences to tell the story of his dual heritage. Whether harvesting rice, duck hunting, or making hay, the subjects of Gawboy's work carry the authenticity of an experienced lived.

above Carrie Flaspohler, Director of the Finlandia University Gallery, introducing Carl Gawboy to the many art enthusiasts  who came to view artist's work.
"Transforming the Cutover" is on display at the Finlandia University Gallery through February 13. 

Kaleva, Ainon Tupa #13 
Meet For Pikku Joulu

The Ladies of Kaleva, Ainon Tupa #13 of Mass City, Michigan met for their Pikku Joulu (Little Christmas) celebration on December 9, 2008 at the Parkview Lodge and Grill in Twin Lakes. Each lady brought a gift to exchange and a candle for their placemat. This was the final meeting for the group for 2008. The next meeting will be in the spring of 2009. The only business the group conducted was to approve a donation be sent to the Kivajat dance group which is lead by Kay Seppala. This children's dance group has an opportunity to go to Finland next summer and needs around $20,000.00. Ainon Tupa #13 ladies enjoyed a delicious lunch, then exchanged gifts, and sang some Christmas songs. Best wishes to everyone in 2009. Onnea kaikkille!

Kalevan Naiset Midwest District Meeting

(Linda Graham reporting)

On Saturday, September 27, 2008, the Midwest District of the Ladies of Kaleva met in Esko, Minnesota at the Thompson Township Building. The Vainottaren Tupa hosted this event and six Tupas were represented at the meeting. Vivian Williams took over as Matron and presided over the meeting. A report was presented from each Tupa to update everyone on the past year's activities. A "Suomen Koulu" has been started that will last for six weeks and meets every other week in Virginia, MN. In Cloquet, the Kaleva Ladies bring baked goods to the nursing home and this activity is well-received by the residents.

Read More


Hei Hei  Carl !

Finland Calling came calling at Covington this past Sunday when Carl Pellonpaa hosted a Suomi Kutsuu  Dance sponsored by the Covington,  parks and recreation department.  Finlanders and their friends came to dance all afternoon to the music of the Polka Drifters a really great band! The Polka Drifters played a wide variety of music including Country,  swing waltzes and of course Polkas!  Ron Masters does a great job as the band's singer.  Often band singers just get the job done, but Ron does a great job  as does the rest of band.
 Below - The Polka Drifters
Read More and view more photos

Saarinen Family Story Told

HANCOCK – The architectural and design achievements of the Finnish Saarinen family were the subject of a presentation this past week, at the Finlandia University Finnish American Heritage Center.

“The Artistry of the Saarinens,” was presented by Mark Coir, director of archives at the Cranbrook Educational Community, Bloomington Hills, Mich.

After Mr.Coir's presentation Susan Saarinen, the granddaughter of architect Eliel Saarinen and the daughter of architect Eero Saarinen, provided the audience with personal insight into the lives of her extremely talented and artistic family.

Read More about this Amazing Finnish Family



Finlandia to Host Arffman Exhibit

HANCOCK, MI – Finnish artist and photographer Jari Arffman will visit the Copper Country and work with Finlandia University students from September 6 to September 11, 2008. An exhibit of Arffman’s work is featured at the Finlandia University Gallery, in the Finnish American Heritage Center, Hancock, through September 11.
A closing reception for the artist will take place at the Finlandia University Gallery Tuesday, September 9, 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. The reception is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served.

Read full Press Release with Photos

Vertin Gallery Hosts Sibelius Reception
Three days ago we reported on the 10th Annual Sibelius Music Festival in Hancock and the three concerts that made up the Music Festival. The Festival concluded last Saturday with a public reception which was held at the Vertin Gallery, Calumet, Michigan. Read Full Story
Tenth Annual Sibelius Music Festival
Finlandia University presents the Tenth Annual Sibelius Academy Musical Festival - 2008
Hancock, MI

Since 1999, Finlandia University and the Sibelius Music Academy have collaborated to bring a taste of Finland's musical excellence to Michigan's Upper Peninsula and the Midwest. This annual international event promotes the enjoyment and appreciation of contemporary and traditional Finnish classical music, and strengthens Finnish­American ties with modern Finland. More than 50 Sibelius students have performed as part of this festival.
Music and performing arts education, from pre-school to post-graduate, is an integral part of Finland's exceptional public education system. For the most accomplished student-musicians in Finland (and for musicians around the world) the Sibelius Academy is the destination for the best. and brightest. The prestigious Sibelius Academy, founded in 1882 and named for Finnish composer Jean Sibelius, is one of the largest and best regarded music academies in Europe. The Academy has trained renowned musicians such as Osmo Vanska, music director for the Minnesota Orchestra; Jukka-Pekka Saraste, previous conductor of the Toronto Symphony orchestra; and Esa-Pekka Salonen, conductor of the Los Angeles Philharmonic.
Finlandia University, founded in 1896 as Suomi College, is the only private university in Michigan's Upper Peninsula and one of 28 colleges and universities affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. It is the only university in North America founded by Finnish immigrants. Located in the beautiful, rugged Upper Peninsula town of Hancock, Michigan, Finlandia University is a learning community dedicated to academic excellence, spiritual growth, and service. It offers baccalaureate and associate degrees in the disciplines ofliberal studies, business, fine art and design, and health sciences.  Read Full Story


Finlandia Softball Adds Three Recruits

Finlandia Softball Adds
Three for 2008/2009
Head Softball Coach Shawn Hendrickson.
Date: August 7, 2008 HANCOCK, MI -

The Finlandia University women's softball program is pleased to announce the addition of three outstanding athletes to this year's program.

The new players who have committed to play for the Lions in the 2008-09 academic year are Nikole Metter (Rapid River, Mich.), Andrea Graves (Munising, Mich.), and Tena Vajcner (Ida, Mich.).

Read More


Finlandia Adds Goalie to
Men's Soccer Team

Kentucky H.S. Goalie
Eric Johnson
Commits to Finlandia Lions
above: Lion's Head Soccer Coach Matt Griffith

Date: August 6, 2008

Finlandia Men's Soccer Adds a Goaltender

HANCOCK, MI - The Finlandia University men's soccer team has received a commitment from Eric Johnson of Meade County, Kentucky, to attend and play for the Lions starting this fall, Head Men's Soccer Coach Matt Griffith announced today.

Johnson, 6'2", graduated from Meade County High School in 2008 where for four years he was a goaltender for the soccer team. Johnson was named All-County Defensive Player of the Year in 2007 and 2008, and All-County Goalkeeper of the Year in 2008.

"Eric will be a great addition to Finlandia's soccer program," said Coach Griffith. "He's a solid keeper with a knack for charging out of the net to deal with one-on-one situations. I expect Eric to make an immediate impact."

For additional information about the Finlandia University men's soccer program, please contact Coach Griffith at 906-487-7326 or

Finnfest 2008

President Halonen attends FinnFest 2008 event in Duluth

story and photos by Linda Graham

photo above Preident Halonen of Finland addresses audience when she was awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws degree for public service at the  University of Minnesota Duluth. "Her outstanding leadership on behalf of the rights of women, and workers, and the poor have made her an international role model", Chancellor Kathryn A. Martin noted.
IronwoodInfo reporter Linda Graham attended the 25th annual Finnfest Festival that was held in Duluth. Her in-depth knowledge of Finnish Culture continues to grow with each additional visit that she makes to Finnish cultural events.  Linda is the editor of our "Finland Connect" page featured in the Community Section. Linda also produces her own Finnish Radio Show "Laulun Voima"

Linda, now a resident of Ontonagon, is an Ironwood native who grew up in Ironwood Township. Her maiden name was Linda Toolanen and she is the sister of IronwoodInfo  reporter/photographer Arvo Toolanen.

Read more and enjoy more photos

FinnFest 2008 click to watch story


Local Finnish Stories


Scouts Build a Bridge
at Little Finland

Six Boy Scouts from the Ironwood-Hurley Troop 323 came to Little Finland to build a bridge. NFAF is making a nature trail on the back eight acres of its 11 acres. Therein is a Class II Trout Stream, according to Daniel Houston of the DNR. Under the direction of Ryan Koski, who is working for his Eagle Badge (which is the highest rank in the Boy Scouts) five other scouts labored for just under six hours. Lending a hand and assisting the boys on site were Ryan's dad, Larry Koski, Russell Maynard, John and Cheryl Jacisin, and Paul Lemmons. Bill Perkins is the Scout Master of this troop. Little Finland provided a picnic lunch (served by Rosann) of hot dogs, hamburgers, baked beans, chips and pop for all who were there in some capacity, which included some of our own members as support for the troop.


Little Finland celebrates Juhannus

On Saturday, June 21 (the official first day of summer), Little Finland celebrated Juhannus with music, food, and a kokkotuli (bonfire). The festivities began at 7:00pm at the log building at Little Finland, located on US 2 just west of Ironwood, Michigan. Music in the building was provided by the Northwind Boys and everyone enjoyed listening and dancing. The outside pavillion was the spot for food and refreshments along with musicians taking turns on accordian and fiddle.

The Harma House, the Sauna, and the Haaro Building were open for visitors to stroll through. The kokkotuli was lit at dusk.

For only a $3.00 admission charge, the evening was well worth it. The
weather was great, food was good, and the entertainment was excellent.

The next event at Little Finland will be a dance on July 13 from 2:00pm to 5:00pm (central time) with music by Finnpower.

Photo above - the Haaro House, circa 1905 one of several historical buildings on the property . Read More

Ainon Tupa #13 May Meeting

The Kalevan Naiset Ainon Tupa #13 of Mass City held their month of May meeting recently at the Parkview Lodge in Twin Lakes. Each month from August of 2007 to August of 2008, the ladies of Ainon Tupa 13 are having a special Finnish Topic during  their regular meetings as a way to celebrate their centennial (1907 to 2007). The special topic for this month was knitted items. The ladies in the group displayed many beautiful items that they had created themselves, items created by other family members, or   knitted items they purchased. Read More

Rag Rugs Were the Special Topic at the Kalevan Naiset Meeting in Tapiola


The Ainon Tupa #13 Kalevan Naiset group met for their first meeting for 2008 at the Feed Mill in Tapiola. Since the group is celebrating their first 100 years of existence, a special topic is covered each month. READ FULL STORY by Linda Graham

46th Anniversary Cake for
Finland Calling Program

Carl with Granddaughter Kristen Pellonpaa serving cake.

On Sunday, March 30, 2008, Carl Pellonpaa hosted a dance at the Elks Lodge in Ishpming to celebrate 46 years of the "Finland Calling" television program. Read Full Story


FinnFest 25 Takes Place In Duluth

July 23rd through July 27th

The two Co-Chairs of the FinnFest 2008, Diane Skomars and Jeanne Doty and the President of FinnFest USA
Marianne Wargelin (in the middle).
FinnFest USA celebrates its 25th such festival this year as FinnFest 2008 takes place in Duluth, MN, July 23-27, 2008. Under the theme “Sharing the Spirit of Finland”, the event will honor Finnish culture and heritage and is expected to attract 7,000-10,000 people to its variety of dance performances, concerts, lectures, art exhibitions and tours.
Click To Read Full Story