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Articles and Columns, 23/11/2009

JA JA JA - Nordic music export in London

The new joint-Nordic music export project JA JA JA was launched in London in mid November. The event seeks to support aspiring Nordic artists in their journey to international fame.

Nordic music has grown more and more international over the last twenty years. This is evident in Britain, the leading country in pop culture, where Nordic music has increasingly gained popularity across genres.

The JA JA JA launch party took place at The Lexington in London (photo: Tiina Heinilä).The JA JA JA launch party took place at The Lexington in London (photo: Tiina Heinilä).

JA JA JA a new monthly music night showcasing the best emerging talent from the Nordic countries was launched at the music club Lexington in London in mid November. With the aim of promoting aspiring Nordic artists in the ever-so-tough British music business, JA JA JA is a natural extension to the promising progress of the past years.

The fruit of Nordic collaboration

"JA JA JA felt like an obvious thing to do in the current climate which is clearly favourable to Nordic music", says Paulina Ahokas, Director of the Music Export Finland and one of the organisers of the event. The concept of Nordic music export groups joining their forces was met with an overwhelmingly positive reception in the British media and music forums after the launch.

Paulina Ahokas, Director of the Music Export Finland (photo: Tiina Heinilä)Paulina Ahokas, Director of the Music Export Finland (photo: Tiina Heinilä)

Ahokas says there is no doubt London and its many venues will provide the best imaginable platform for the event: "London is one of the main hubs of the international music media that no starting band or artist can afford to ignore on their road to stardom."

The planning behind JA JA JA has been a time-consuming yet very rewarding effort for those involved. "Finding right partners through networking in Britain caused surprisingly little headache," notes Ahokas praising her colleagues and contacts both in Scandinavia and the UK. After the encouraging experiences of this project, Ahokas can't see a reason why this sort of a joint-Nordic undertaking cannot be recreated in Continental Europe or North America.  

Export-ready artists

JA JA JA will obviously be nothing without its impressive musicians, some, but not all, of whom are already signed to record labels in their home countries. JA JA JA organisers however have a clear vision of what they deem worth presenting to the British audience. "We are looking for artists who are not only musically compelling but also 'export ready' in terms of their presentation and image," remarks Ahokas.   

Due to its infinite possibilities, the London project has captured a great deal of attention within the various Nordic music scenes and according to Ahokas there is no shortage of bands wanting to get on this bill. The JA JA JA opening concert included four bands, among them the Finnish electro pop outfit TV Off. 

The line-up of each concert is decided by a changing and specially invited curator who Ahonen describes as "influential persons in the British music industry". The nightly programme will therefore reflect the personal preferences of a given curator making each bill different from the others. Ahokas believes this method will enable JA JA JA to have the widest possible scope on the broad spectrum of various genres, from pop to metal, where the Nordic bands are bound to deliver the goods.

Text: Joonas Mikkilä, The Embassy of Finland

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Updated 23/11/2009

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