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Kari Aalto, the singer from PKN, receiving a big hug from the Finnish rapper Paleface at the Piritori in Kallio, Helsinki, on May 24 2015. Picture: Tony Öhberg for Finland Today

They walked through the cheering crowd of thousands like real punk stars they are on Sunday afternoon around 15:30 at what some call the heart of Helsinki’s Kallio district, Piritori (Vaasanpuistikko), as the official welcoming ceremony was pulled together by the citizens of the neighbourhood, which hosts habitants closer to the punk culture than any other district in the capital.

Pertti Kurikan Nimipäivät (PKN), the punk band and the Finnish candidate in Eurovision 2015, didn’t qualify far in the song competition due to the lack of understanding in what they represent and due to the lack of respect of how popular they had become among the people and media: people screaming support on Twitter and the PKN guys shining on the front pages of various newspapers.

Yes, the members suffer from learning disabilities and one even from the Down syndrome and all this is rather old news. What might be news to some is that they really performed from their hearts there in Vienna in front of thousands and about 200 million TV viewers in 37 countries, without gimmicks and the usual poppycock.

“We have been in Vienna for the last two weeks for kind of nothing. It was a beautiful city and they had great record stores, great drinks and great food. But this time Sweden won!” said Kari Aalto, the lead singer.

“We thought they were ready for punk but they were not. This is just what happened. Can’t do anything.”

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The members of PKN received portraits of each member. Picture: Tony Öhberg for Finland Today

At Piritori, each of the band members, including Aalto, guitarist Pertti Kurikka, bass player Sami Helle and the drummer Toni Välitalo, received portraits conducted by a fan.

Helle was moved to tears while he observed the crowd and Aalto dropped a tear or two, too.

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Sami Helle, the bass player, moved to tears. Picture: Tont Öhberg for Finland Today

After taking sips of the champagne and beer, the band members sat down at the table and started signing autographs.

After the ceremony, the band said that they would be taking a long, long rest.

They sure have deserved it.

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Sami Helle taking a sip of champagne. Picture: Tony Öhberg for Finland Today

 

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The drummer Toni Välitalo wearing denim with ‘Aina Mun Pitää (I always have to)’, their hit song, embroidered on the back. Picture: Tony Öhberg for Finland Today

 

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