Sunday, 2 November 2014

Learning About Finland: Fröbelin Palikat

Not all music in Finland is heavy metal.
In fact, one very popular band here is a children's band made up of 4 men: a drummer, two guitarists and a keyboard player.
When I was starting to learn Finnish, one song we were introduced to was "Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes" - but the Finnish version - courtesy of Fröbelin Palikat on Youtube.
You can find their official site (Finnish only) here.
And you can find information about their band in English via Wikipedia here.

Now, never did I think about that music video until recently. 
I've mentioned before that V-Man goes to overnight care and they try to take him outside and go for nature walks, to the playgrounds and occasionally swimming and grocery shopping.  But when the weather is crummy or he has to wait a bit for his food - they'll allow him to watch a Fröbelin Palikat DVD and he seems to be quite happy, entertained and calm.
Fröbelin Palikat's music videos on Youtube have saved us from many melt-downs and tantrums while waiting to pay for groceries or the bus!!
So I began to keep an eye out at second-hand stores for their DVDs and they're really quite hard to find.  Then I tried looking in stores and same thing.
Looks like the children that do have those DVDs were holding onto them very tightly and the shops didn't have any interest in selling DVDs from an old 90's band anymore - with the likes of newer movies and American movies dubbed into Finnish becoming more and more popular.
Although, they do have a new live performances DVD out!
But then one day in Prisma, I did find some of their DVDs and I bought as many as I could with the intention of gifting them to the V-Man for Christmas and his birthday.

About a month ago, as I was scrolling through my Facebook news feed, I noticed a local shop - Kimperi - had posted a photo of a sign of the Fröbelin Palikat logo.
Excited, I translated what was going on and it turned out that FP was coming to Jyväskylä and having a concert.  Tickets were available immediately for 12€ per person (babies under the age of 12 months got free admittance) and the concert was being held in a local school's gymnasium.
And it's being held on the week of the V-Man's big 0-5.
What a perfect birthday gift for the child who wants nothing!
SH agreed with the gift idea and I got excited.  Like embarassing fan-girl excited.
I liked them on their Facebook page, and started thinking about how excited V-Man will be.

Well, we picked up V-Man from overnight care and it turns out that he's been awake since 5am this morning and not showing any signs of slowing down.
FYI it's 10:54pm and he's still wide awake.  
I bought the tickets the first day they went on sale and had them tucked safely into my new wallet (will discuss this later) and no, it's not a FP wallet. :)

Of course all three of the children decided to not take a nap today but I didn't care.  I knew with certainty, that once we got there - the kids wouldn't dream of taking a nap or throwing a fit.
I was partially right.
Well, the concert was held at a local school, so when you walked in (we arrived 30-minutes early) everyone was un-dressing their children and themselves from their outdoor gear and shoes and making their way into the gymnasium.  You were able to purchase tickets at the door and if you had yours already, they ripped off the stubs when you enter the gym.

There were tables at the back of the gym, opposite the stage, that offered snacks and beverages for sale - along with Fröbelin Palikat "swag" (merchandise).
I knew I wanted to get something for the kids but decided we'd make our purchases at the end of the show and focused more on getting to the front of the gym as possible.
This way, we wouldn't have to chase V-Man down and away from the stage and block other people's view.
We had an excellent spot to the side of the stage and full view and of course the kids kept inching forward during the show.
V-Man even got a special little wave and wink from the lead guitarist/singer!!
I'm such a sap I got teary-eyed and immediately sent a message to my friend...oh I'll keep the tears at bay...keep reading!

The performance was about an hour long (included one encore performance) and as soon as the show was over - everyone rushed to the back of the gym for some CDs, DVDs, hats/balaclavas/winter hats or t-shirts and while we were packing up - we noticed that many parents were quickly rushing to the stage (behind the rope).
"Hmm, let's see what's going on up here." I suggested and that's what we did.

Well, colour me surprised and in awe.
The band members of Fröbelin Palikat had fat stacks of cards with their band photo on it performing, and they each had pens in their hands.
And they each autographed above their heads in the photo for every single child or parent who wanted it.

We let A-Man run around in circles in the gym, as many other children were too - and I was carrying M-Girl and we brought V-Man to meet each member.  Of course I couldn't go completely fan-girl on them and get all teary eyed about how I thought this was super nice of them and how V-Man is autistic and loves their music to the moon and back...but we at least got something that I can put into his baby book (since he's the biggest fan) and I hope a lifelong memory for him.

This was truly a fantastic family experience for us and I honestly didn't think it would be possible to take our special guy to a "concert" anywhere - and even with the nasty tantrums afterward from A-Man - this was truly worth it.
And we picked up a couple t-shirts for the boys and a towel and were able to pay with our bank card (which surprised SH).

Dear Fröbelin Palikat:

I cannot thank you enough for performing in Jyväskylä - right before my son's 5th birthday and I wanted you to know that you made him the happiest little boy in the whole world.
Because he has severe autism - he's not the easiest child to shop for and while this was also our first concert ever in Finland - I hope you'll come back to Jyväskylä in the future because he really is your number one fan.

V-Man's Mom

PS sorry he was the only kid standing during most of your "sitting down songs" and tried to get up on the stage once...

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