Tuesday, August 25, 2009

uusi haitari

Now, what might this be?...Well, it is how Urho transports his accordion from his back shed to the front of the Hoito to busk. He secures the accordion case firmly to his "rollo" walker, padding it with old pillows [which double for comfort during play], then wheels it out front to begin his shift of playing old time Finnish tunes to the folks walking in and out of the Hoito, or those just hanging around.

Urho just got this accordion yesterday. It's a Camillo made in Czechoslovakia, Handcrafted Exclusively for Canadian Accordion Institute Ltd by Deliscia, says the plate on the back. Urho can't believe his luck. He bought his new used haitari for $50 from another old Finnish fellow, Veijo. Why did he sell it? I asked Urho. Doesn't he want to play anymore?
"It's too heavy for him," said Urho. "And he has 3 accordions, so he sold it to me." Then he said, "I'm going to sit here and try it out." So, he sat at the picnic table my dad built that I had Hassan truck down to the Midsummer Garden, and played his uusi haitari. The wind was quite strong, but the sun was shining. Katja and I shoveled earth to make a new flower bed by the front steps of Kivela Bakery while Urho played Metsakukkia [Forest Flowers]

Not bad for an 87 year old man.


marja-leena said...

And he looks like quite an interesting character! Love your little stories of Finns in Thunder Bay, they bring back memories.

Merche Pallarés said...

I learn SO MUCH from your posts! Now I'm becoming familiar with Finnish music! Although one of my favourite composers has always been the great SIBELIUS!! Hugs, M.

20th Century Woman said...

Music is a good way to begin learning about a culture. I want to learn about Finnish culture because 3 years ago I married a man whose ancestry is 100% Finnish. He doesn't know much himself. His parents spoke Finnish when they didn't want him and his brother to know what they were talking about. He needs to learn.

Ari said...

Urho seems to be a very innovative person just like he was in tv-program last summer. Maybe he is planning to buy "Rollo's" GT-model with an extra shelf under the haitari where to set some packs of bier.

northshorewoman said...

note: Urho bought the haitari from an Estonian guy, not Veijo. Veijo went with him to pick it up.

ML, yes, he is an interesting person. Like some of the other elderly Finnish folks I know, he is not part of consumer culture and hence doesn't match. Which makes for interesting conversations.

MP, I hope you can visit us Finns here in TBay one day as we are unique. Sibelius's music is special. He was a gifted composer and, like Nokia, part of what is best known about FInland...oh yes, and the sauna.

20th c Woman, I agree, music can be one of the best ways to begin learning about a culture. I often listen to songs in other languages even though I haven't got a clue what is being said! But the emotion comes through. I hope you ane your husband learn more about his past, as I am sure there is much to interesting history there. Lots of Finns when they came to America and Canada tried to anglicize themselves as much as possible (often due to the politics of being seen as a red Finn) and hence Finnish language was discouraged in the children. Can we ever know a culture (or a historical context) without knowing the language?

Ari, I didn't even see the documentary that Erkki made yet! I couldn't open the link you sent and now it is gone from the site. I will have to wait until the Bay St. film festival. ..and yes, he has his hiding places for his pullot!