DATED: June 13, 2005
TO: All Finnish Media
FROM: Finn Grand Fest 2005, Carol Fulsher, 906-226-6591
FINN GRAND FEST 2005 MUSICAL TREAT
Viktor Klimenko -- the famous ‘Singing Cossack’ -- is coming to Finn Fest in Marquette, Michigan in August. Klimenko has come a long way from his humble birth in a Russian prisoner-of-war camp in 1942 to international stardom on stage, recordings, and films.
A few years after his birth, his family migrated to Finland, where he first gained renown as a musician. A1970 album of Russian songs went gold and then platinum, the first one so honored in Finland. Further recordings and highly popular concerts all over the world earned him nine more gold records, but the joys of fame eventually faded. In 1980, torn between a career and his personal life, he said he turned to God for guidance. He remade himself as a gospel singer, steered his career in a new direction, and now spreads the gospel through music.
In addition to gospel, his broad repertoire features melancholy gypsy songs, passionate Russian romances, and beloved Hebrew dances. Klimenko’s Cossack background instilled a love of horses and the red dust of the Russian steppes, which he evokes in his renditions of old stories told by the campfire. In the Cold War years, he spoke a universal language of love which reached people despite the hostilities. And with the fall of the Soviet Union, the doors to his Russian homeland were finally opened to his music.
During Finn Fest in Marquette, he will perform at Messiah Lutheran Church on Fourth Street on Thursday, August 11 at 1:00 pm and Friday, August 12 at 7:30 pm, with tickets at $10 for Finn Fest registrants. He will also appear at several church services on Sunday, August 14.
One long-time fan who can hardly wait is Tanya Paasikas Stanaway of Negaunee. This native of Kokkola, Finland came to the United States in 1972. Now secretary for an accounting firm, she’s been teaching Finnish in night classes at Negaunee High School for many years. Her fluency in Finnish has had her negotiating by phone and internet with Viktor Klimenko back in Helsinki, on behalf of Finn Fest.
“I grew up listening to his music but have never met him or seen him perform live. He’s going to stay with our family, and we guarantee him a good sauna.” Asked what concert-goers can expect from the Singing Cossack, Tanya advised people to “sit there with your mouth open and be amazed at his awesome voice. People will love him.”
For more information on all the entertainment options at Finn Grand Fest 2005, visit www.finngrandfest2005.com or call 1-906-222-FINN.