Pertii Kurikan Nimipäivät
Pertii Kurikan Nimipäivät, or PKN for short, were formed in Konala, Finland at a workshop for adults with learning difficulties, and shot to international fame with both the award-winning 2012 documentary The Punk Syndrome and their appearance in the 2015 Eurovision Song Contest, where they represented their native Finland.
Despite one reviewer for Eurovision purist blog Wiwibloggs calling their Eurovision entry Aina mun pitää (in English: I Always Have To) “noise with a good backstory,” their brand of classic Stooges-style, safety-pin aesthetic speaks to the trials that they as disabled people face. “I need a little respect and dignity in my life,” one song says. Another, raging against discrimination, goes: “I must eat pig food in the nuthouse, I keep my mouth shut or they will stab me.”
“We are rebelling against society in different ways, but we are not political,” bass player Sami Helle told the Guardian. “We are changing attitudes somewhat, a lot of people are coming to our gigs and we have a lot of fans. We don’t want people to vote for us to feel sorry for us, we are not that different from everybody else – just normal guys with a mental handicap.”
Finland got behind their Eurovision hopefuls in much like they got behind Lordi’s Hard Rock Hallelujah, with even the Finish post office Posti showing their support by issuing a special stamp for the band. A win wasn’t on the cards for PKN, with them going out in the competition’s semi-final, but their legacy was felt.
When Pertii Kurikan, the band’s guitarist, turned 60 in 2016, PKN decided to call it a day, hanging up their instruments for something a little less punk rock. Their legacy, however, lives on.
That’s a wrap! Thank you for reading our articles about the creative side of Down’s syndrome. We hope you enjoyed them and on behalf of the PosAbility team – Happy World Down’s Syndrome Day! #LeaveNoOneBehind #WDSD19
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Images: Ailura, CC BY-SA 3.0 AT; Cecil – Wikimedia