An itinerant music community is conquering Helsinki

Sofar Helsinki has a growing reputation for putting on intimate live shows in unique locations. Pablo Tognetti tells us how he got involved with Sofar, giving some background on the growing community surrounding the concert series

Sofar Helsinki has a growing reputation for putting on intimate live shows in unique locations. Pablo Tognetti tells us how he got involved with Sofar, giving some background on the growing community surrounding the concert series

Plastic Tones by Karoliina Niemenkari

The coolest vintage store in Kallio, a café hidden at a church’s inner yard, an old bomb-shelter or a delicious art gallery … What do they all have in common? Not much, except they all hosted an intimate secret gig which will linger in the mind.

Welcome to the Sofar Sounds universe. A global music community devoted to bringing musicians and music lovers under the same roof. What really makes these gigs different from the rest is their intimate nature and the element of surprise. Sofar Helsinki is an invite-only show where guests apply online for a chance to win a spot at an upcoming show. The lineup remains secret and for those people who win a couple of tickets, they’ll receive the address 24 hours before the show kicks off. Now I have your full attention right? The Sofar Helsinki concerts are beginning to change the way we experience live music whilst creating a new platform for many great musicians around Finland.

Black Lizard by Karoliina Niemenkari

A year ago I moved to Helsinki. Music has always been my method to connect with a new culture and try to understand its folklore. I toured around traditional venues and sensed the city was craving for more happenings, for the opportunity to see artists in a more intimate and raw setting. No huge venues. No grandiloquence. No big crowds. I consider myself a Sofar fan and had the chance to assist several gigs in my homeland Argentina, and also in Australia and Peru. All those wonderful experiences decanted and motivated me to make Helsinki part of this global music community.

Very soon I bumped into like minded people who also believed in the project and now we all passionately work together to make Sofar Helsinki a reality. We got the word out and immediately got musicians and record labels attention. These people are our real heroes. We began strolling around open mic evenings, looking for emerging artists in every festival lineup, attending as many gis as possible and also receiving loads of applications from musicians keen to play. Suddenly we had endless hours of incredible music and fresh tunes, so our next obvious step was to find these unique locations around the city where to bring all this magic together. Our first show was in April.

Rosa Jules by Karoliina Niemenkari

Tickets are for free, although donations in situ are essential to keep Sofar running. There are some rules we all should keep in mind: to remain silent while the artists perform (these are often very intimate shows without a full PA system) and stay till the end of the shows and to fully immerse oneself with the music. Some incredible artists and bands have performed already : Love Sport, FEELS, Alec Danger, Plastic Tones, Wedding Crashers, KO:MI, Olli, Rosa Jules, Black Lizard, Mira Luoti Duo, Ramithawi, Around the Sun and VIRTA.

The recent September show was a collaboration with Amnesty International, a special event with the main purpose of raising awareness and money for the desperate refugees crises enveloping the world. You can always check out the Sofar Instagram account to get a better picture of how the happenings work.

VIRTA by Karoliina Niemenkari

An itinerant music movement in a city full of hidden gems to be discovered and conquered. Sounds like a perfect match. So now you’ve been notified and now you know where the magic happens. Kippis!

Karoliina Niemenkari

Sofar Sounds Helsinki online

Sofar Sounds Youtube

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