Book Review | The musician Pekka Streng, who died at the age of 26, left a great mark on Finnish culture, and therefore he would read more about his work and life.

After all, Pekka Streng has become a picture and artistic ideal of his time, as well as an idyll for many, the novelty book proves.


Petra Streng, Tiina Kokkoniemi: Pekka Streng’s words and word traces. Basam Books. 103 s.

Where lingers Pekka Streng -biography? The idea comes to mind after reading his lyrics and the testimonies of colleagues from this sympathetic book.

Streng (1948–75), who avoided publicity and died of cancer only at the age of 26, left a great mark on Finnish culture, although during his lifetime, unfortunately, few even noticed the existence of the artist.

That’s why it feels kind of weird to be interviewed for a book J. Karjalainen a description of Streng as the “soundtrack of his time”.

The death of a magnet man (1970) and Summer country (1972) with their top musicians and full-fledged arrangements do sound strong for their time. They also have an open hippie spirit according to the Summerhill ethos, which every subsequent generation has been able to judge as naive on frivolous grounds.

Still, it feels like more than the soundtrack of its time, the records are a pampered picture of our time for our listeners. Who else could write this and survive for decades with dry feet: “I watch the field rippling / O Beatnik, O Mao, O Mother Earth!”

Strengin the intonation is reminiscent of an ancient radio fairy tale reader, whose imitation is guaranteed to make it difficult for even a skilled actor. And while every detail is charmingly patinated, the art still speaks to its listener immediately.

Streng’s garden was overshadowed by death, and the praise of life sung under the shadow of disappearance is particularly powerful and appealing.

That is why it is a pity that the artist’s small lyrics have not been printed correctly in the book. In the gardenreplaces “bleached bones” with “bleached trees,” which dilutes the theme of death rarely effectively.

Karelian in addition Petra Streng (by the way, Pekka ‘s son Ionia Strengin wife) and Tiina Kokkoniemi have interviewed Superfani, for example Juha Hurmetta as well as a musician Emma Salokoski, who has recorded several songs from Streng ‘s production. The most interesting is the versatile review of the Streng family, where a peculiar artist has been anything but a black sheep.

Indeed, it turns out that the family has raised Streng in many ways and maintained the legend. The father, who worked in Salokoski’s banking industry, also had an atmosphere with his cousin Streng. Artist Sonja Lehto, Sister of Peka, tells about the shared enthusiasm for Surrealism and the atmosphere of a childhood home that encouraged artistic self-expression.

His her daughter, a poet Silene Lehto for his part, did not have time to meet his uncle, but writes that he was impressed by the same environment as him:

“It feels as if that grandfather’s garden has magically grown its runners into every creative mind of our family that has ever been under its influence, as if we would always carry it spiritually with us.”

Penjami Lehto poetry essay In the garden is a little noticed, recommended little book on the subject.

Pekka Streng’s words and word traces would have longed for the worst delivery and the elimination of repeated therapeutic speech in the way of the statements of the interviewees.

As such, it leaves hunger for the greater Streng. It shouldn’t end with the songwriter’s death.



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