Story of the day: Last Tango in Finland


The snow has gone and so (nearly) has January. So pick up the tone with one of my more offbeat stories for The Observer.

I uncovered this idea on a trip to Finland and, having already worked the sauna and suicide motif, this seemed another great to look at a familiar destination in a new light.

Even if it did mean me, ugh, taking to the dancefloor.

Here’s an extract:

The Finns took tango to their hearts, but also brought a dour sense of Nordic gloom to the music, tempering the Argentine ardour with a dash of minor-key melancholy, and adopting some of the rhythmic characteristics of traditional Finnish folk dances.

Contemporary Finnish tango ballads speak of lost love, dark winter nights alone and your girlfriend running off with your best mate.

“Melancholy is beautiful to the Finnish soul. The sadder the tango, the more Finnish people love it,’ says Maarit Niiniluoto, a tango historian. ‘The paradox of longing for someone while dancing very close appeals strongly to Finns.”

Read the full story, Lapp Dancers and Latin Lovers.

Have you been to Seinajoki? Is there another great angle on Finland I’ve missed?

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