This is a post I’m all but intimidated to write. The gentleman I’m going to talk about has had such an enormous effect on my life through his work that I fear the words might turn inadequate in expressing it. Nonetheless, I will try, for I wouldn’t be writing at all (I might not even be anymore if not for his music) if not for A. W. Yrjänä, a Finnish musician, poet, and author. No worries, I’ll call him Mr. Y henceforth, so your brain won’t get stuck wondering, “How the hell am I supposed to pronounce that?”.
In the first part of the series, Why Do I Write, I talked about Tolkien and how he’s the reason I write fantasy. However, had I not discovered Mr. Y’s music, I wouldn’t be writing at all, save maybe in a diary. Y is the singer/basíst/songwriter of a Finnish rock band CMX. They’ve been making music since the late 80s and are still thriving. I found them in 1998 when their seventh album, Vainajala, was published. I hated the single ‘Ei yksikään’ when I heard it for the first time. Still, it kept ringing in my head until I gave in and bought the CD.
I didn’t fall in love straight away. I was 14 and had been “kept in a barrel” till then, and the themes of the songs didn’t quite unfold to me. I liked the album enough to buy the older ones, and in those, I found pieces in sync with my rebellious teenager mind.
I found out that Y had published a book of poems in 97 and asked for my mom to buy it for me for Christmas. She did, and I plunged into the pool of poetry. I swam there for many years, thanks to Mr. Y, and scribbled some poems myself.
Unlike Tolkien, Mr. Y’s work has never had an off-putting effect on me. I looked up to him and wanted to become as brilliant a writer as he is, but instead of his brilliance making me think, I’ll never reach that level, so why would I even try, I was encouraged by his music and poetry. Not just to keep writing but at one point also to keep living.
I wallowed in quite deep waters back then. I was lonely and never allowed to go anywhere in the evenings and weekends, so all I did outside the school was read, listen to music, and roam in the woods with our dog. CMX became my lifeline. When I felt like crumbling, I listened to them, and the ocean surrounding me seemed a little less murky.
The brightest beacon in the blackness of my youth was their double album Dinosaurus Stereophonicus (2000). In there, I found the comfort and gentleness I so craved for. Listening to DS felt like being enfolded in the arms of someone who cares about you and wants you nothing but good. It was like an embrace of a dearest friend. (I warned you that I have no words to describe the enormity of Mr. Y’s influence on my very existence…). When our world felt like the last place to be, I locked myself in my room and listened to CMX, Y’s words and voice that ensured me that life could be something other than frost and thorns one day.
Though my life today is anything but bleak and loveless, I still turn to Mr. Y when I’m doleful or discouraged. When I feel I suck at writing, I read a few poems of his or listen to one of the albums. His words are my happy place, an endless source of inspiration and motivation.
To give you some insight into what I’m talking about and to wrap up this post that I could well continue for a few thousand words more, I translated the piece above, Sulaneet muovisotilaat, for you. Now, this is very sketchy a translation, but I believe it’s better than ravaging the lyrics with something like Google Translator.
So, here you are! Enjoy one masterpiece of Finnish rock lyrics.
(The original Finnish lyrics are on the left)