In Colour: 10 Years of Down Home Kivi

Tampere's Down Home Kivi roots music club celebrated their 10th anniversary in 2016, and
thanks to Tampere's resident music photographer Jyrki Kallio, some of the finest moments
from that decade have now been collected in a beautiful hardcover coffee table book.

17 Novmeber 2017   Review by Andres Roots, photos from the Jyrki Kallio book

"Bluesia Kiven Sisässä" documents 50 Down Home Kivi concerts, held between
November 2008 and October 2016. The artists captured in these pages include
Steve Guyger, Boo Boo Davis, Bob Brozman, Carlos Del Junco, Eric Bibb, Lazy
Lester, Tad Robinson, Mitch Kashmar, Nathan James, Alvin Youngblood Hart,
R.J. Mischo, Steve James, Sven Zetterberg, Tim Lothar, Doug McLeod, Tomi
Leino, Pepe Ahlqvist, Jo' Buddy, Micke Björklöf & Blue Strip, Ina Forsman &
Helge Tallqvist, Ismo Haavisto, Wentus Blues Band
– and many, many more.

I myself have been travelling rather extensively in Finland since 2006, and it feels
like most of the people I know there are from Tampere. Actually, it often seems
that most of the people I meet outside of Finland are from Tampere, too: from
Hämeenlinna to Haapsalu, from London to Sigulda, there's always someone from
Tampere in the audience! Yet, those eager concertgoers and world travellers
have proven to be much less likely to catch a gig in their hometown – so in order
to keep a regular roots music club going in Tampere and to pack the place for ten
years and beyond, the organizers must be doing something very right and
deserve a big round of applause from the blues community. Well done!
An even harder thing to do, however, is to try to capture music in a picture.
Theoretically, it can't be done, but Jyrki Kallio seems to have the knack for the
impossible: the images in this book are as glorious and colourful as the artists
they depict! As a bonus, Mr. Kallio provides a brief written review of each of these
50 concerts. If you haven't come across his photography before and wish to
check it out before going after the book, you can do so
Yet, there is one slight problem I have with "Bluesia Kiven Sisässä": I find the
written sections somewhat confusing. There's one foreword by
Jukka Mäkinen,
the man behind Down Home Kivi, another by
Aarno Rissanen, the chairman of
the Tampere blues society BluesLovers ry that's the publisher of this book, and a
postscript by the photographer himself. Jukka Mäkinen provides a detailed
account of how the club got started – including an entertaining story on how he
realized mid-season that every other band he's booked will feature
Tomi Leino
and ends with how after three and a half years and having just been voted the
Best Blues Club of the Year by the readers of, they were forced
to leave their original location: the theatre café Kivi.

Then you go through the pictures, all meticulously dated and chronologically
organized, and realise the photos stretch well beyond those three and a half
years; so you figure those must be from the other, later venues Mr. Mäkinen
mentions, like Down Home Sputnik and Down Home Laterna... And then you get
to Jyrki Kallio's closing essay, which states clearly that it was decided early on to
devote the book exclusively to photos from the original venue: Down Home Kivi.
Come again?

Quite possibly, it's only confusing for someone like me who doesn't live in Finland
– or possibly for anyone who doesn't live in Tampere. Certainly, if you can't read
Finnish, it's not a problem at all – and it is indeed a book you buy for the pictures,
not the narrative. Trust me: the photos are absolutely fantastic!


Jyrki Kallio: Bluesia Kiven sisässä: Down Home Kivi 10 vuotta. Pirkanmaan
bluesyhdistys – Blues Lovers ry, 2017

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