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Adora - "Ethereality to Your Reality"
by Juliette Roques
2009-06-11 10:12:33
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Adora, a versatile music outfit was brought to life by Lumimarja Wilenius (vocals and occasionally piano) and Päivyt Toivonen (guitar and backing vocals). Described in their own words as “Ethereality to Your Reality” the music is a perfect blend of two voices, singing about love, loss, passion and everything else in between. An originality combined with a raw honesty, which is perhaps hard to find these days, with both Lumimarja and Päivyt feeding off each other not just musically. Something that quickly becomes evident during a shopping spree in UFF, the second hand branch on Iso Roobertinkatu, a street in the city center full of bars and cafés that cater to everyone’s taste.

2_400_11The girls have decided that, since clothes are their passion – both like to modify most of what they wear themselves – UFF will be the perfect place to hang out on a Wednesday afternoon. Dropping off our bags in their rehearsal space, a cellar room, which doesn’t seem to bother the neighbors any, we head off to UFF. Two floors of clothes, all shapes and styles, some old record covers on the wall, spanning the past 4 decades of musical history in Finland, which mirror the available fashions and many customers weaving their way in and out of the various sections, provide a perfect backdrop for discussing clothes and giving out tips on how to obtain different styles. The place is crowded, people sampling everything from modern-day work blouses to winter jackets and of course vintage clothing.  The customers are often there to pick something up for specifically themed parties, as the girls explain: office parties, private events, birthdays. UFF, with its vast array of clothes lends itself perfectly to this.

The key to flea market and second hand shopping, according to Päivyt, is to start out looking for something that you like and then go from there. Sometimes, as Lumimarja points out, the cut can be something you don’t really like but the color will catch your eye, as is the case with a beautiful green dress she is holding up, having stumbled upon it in mid-conversation.  “Here for instance I really like the color,” she says holding it up against the light, explaining how you can basically adapt the fabric to your own needs if you find the right color but the fit isn’t what you want it to be. Perfect fits are usually very hard to find, she explains before Päivyt adds,  “but usually Lumimarja finds them all.”

Asked how long they have known each other, both immediately reply laughingly, “too long” before saying that they have been friends since their early teenage years and even moved to Helsinki together from their home town at the age of 16.  “It was an amazing experience, “ Lumimarja says, “back home, we were very considered different, here, there was a sense of freedom.” She doesn’t just mean different as in wanting to move away and start a band but different in openly combining their love for art, clothes and music. Not being locals themselves, they have been here long enough to be familiar with Helsinki while at the same time being appreciative of how the city might be perceived by a foreigner or someone visiting. Their first years together were spent alternating between going to school, exploring their surroundings and then “devising elaborate meals.”

On the domestic side, both enjoy cooking and baking. “We used to live together when we first came here, “ Päivyt states “and we would always pass the time coming up with new things to sample.” This ranges from typical Finnish specialties like korvapuusti to more complicated layer cakes. Päivyt especially, is very eager to share her knowledge of Finnish cuisine and sweets and promises a baking lesson in which,  “Finnish pastries will be the main thing on the list.”

The girls are instantly recognizable in their unique style, hair and make-up, even here in Helsinki where varying styles abound. Walking down Iso Roobertinkatu, no one looks even remotely like either of them. Both love clothes, that much is evident in the way they handle the fabric of various dresses lovingly, explaining how they can let out the hem here and make adjustments there, in order to get the precise fit they want. As we walk around the various sections in UFF, ranging from the 50s to present day, the conversation turns to other styles and traditions, folklore and Victorian influences.

Not content with limiting the Helsinki experience to a secondhand shop. Lumimarja and Päivyt decide that a night out at Darkside will be the perfect place to extend the tour of things to do in Helsinki that the average tourist might not necessarily stumble upon. The occasion is a night of gothic music in a club, connected to what has been termed a cross between a student bar and a gathering place for hardcore alcoholics. As the night continues, we navigate between both venues, trading the various creatures of the night dressed in an arraignment of gothic uniforms and period dress (soldier girls from WW II stand side-by-side with vampires and anything in between with the two girls looking like a Victorian postcard come to life) and the Finnish and foreign students in their jeans and tops next door, navigating the middle-aged drunks on their way to the bar and the terrace where one can smoke.

As if the music alone wasn’t enough, they have also single-handedly created Ofelia a bi-annual flea market with live entertainment that includes Adora and some surprises to huge success. The venue is Kulttuuriareena Gloria, an old cinema at Pieni Roobertinkatu 12 an ideal location for reviving the dreams of the past. Starting at 12 p.m. on Saturday and lasting until the next day at 6 in the evening, the summer program promises something for everyone. Aside from the many different stands selling everything from handmade items to personal belongings and various alternative designers, Ofelia will also include a variety of entertainment starting at 10 p.m. Saturday, featuring Adora, a burlesque auction and Fotoshop, an indie-disco band, to name but a few of the attractions.

Ofelia evokes the sensation of having left the hustle and bustle of the city behind, a mixture of fantasy, romanticism and escapism, an oasis of relaxation. It is like having stepped into a different era, one in which tattoos go well with the vintage styles on display, rockers stand next to Victorian girls and mods share experiences with various creatures of the night. A perfect way to escape the rainy and cold summer weekend. 

For further details see www.myspace.com/ofeliamarket. To sample Adora’s music, go to www.myspace.com/adoraduo.

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