What a Wednesday night! I am so glad that I rose from my warm sofa and stepped out in the fog. My destination was Juttutupa, a cosy combination of a pub, a restaurant and a music cafe not far off the centre of Helsinki.
On Wednesdays Juttutupa turns into a jazz club offering live music between 9 and 11 p.m., without any entrance fee. This week ”Rytmihäiriö” club – which translates ”arrhythmia” – presented tones from 1970’s. Jan-Olof Strandberg and his band gave a wonderful 2-hour concert, which was mixture of progressive rock, fusion and jazz.
This time, the average age of the public was over 50. However, the type and age of the customers in Juttutupa vary a lot according to the band, weather and nearby events. Whenever Strandberg himself and/or the keyboard wizard Jukka Gustavson perform, ancient hippies appear. We hold our pints and listen with silent respect.
But the greatest attraction tonight may have been the guest of the band: Verneri Pohjola, a trumpet player of a younger generation. His way of playing has rightly been called mesmerising. His melancholy tunes nearly bring tears in my eyes while at the same time they give me a warm and happy feeling.
Obviously, I am not the only one. The power of music silenced even those who had come to chat with their friends over a beer and/or a pizza. No loud argumenting or drunken laughter, which are so typical to Finnish bars.
The place offers pleasure for the eye, too. The castle-like building was completed 100 years ago in the architectural fashion of the date: Art Nouveau style spiced with Finnish national romantic elements. The extensions and restorationa have respected the tradition.
In Juttutupa you often see hotel guests, who have direct access to Juttutupa from the new hotel, which now takes the main part of the big building. And no, you need not be afraid of social democratic propaganda, even though the building is still owned by the Helsinki Workers’ Association. Everybody is welcome. A student, though, may need a second look at the price list before ordering his drinks.
The event I attended:
Strandberg Project featuring Verneri Pohjola at Juttutupa (Helsinki) on 12 February 2014. The musicians: Verneri Pohjola (trumpet), Jan-Olof Strandberg (bass), Jukka Gustavson (keyboards & vocals), Sami Virtanen (guitar), Jartsa Karvonen (drums)