Learning Disability Today
Supporting professionals working in learning disability and autism services

Learning disability punk band PKN to represent Finland at Eurovision Song Contest

guitar Punk band PKN, whose members all have Down’s syndrome or autism are to represent Finland at the upcoming Eurovision Song Contest.

The quartet was chosen by Finnish TV viewers on Saturday to be Finland’s entry and has now been ranked by bookmakers as among the favourites for the contest. PKN will also become the first punk band to compete at Eurovision.

The group, whose full band name is Pertti Kurikan Nimipaivat – which translates as Pertti Kurikka’s Nameday – will perform their 85-second song Aina Mun Pitaa (I Always Have To) at the event in Vienna in May.

The song deals with the frustration of the rules of daily life, like having to eat healthily and doing chores like cleaning and washing up.

“Every person with a disability ought to be braver,” singer Kari Aalto said in an interview with Finnish broadcaster YLE. “He or she should themselves say what they want and do not want.”

PKN was born out of the same boredom and hatred as any other punk band. The group, comprising Pertti Kurikka, Kari Aalto, Sami Helle and Toni Välitalo, use music as an outlet to vent their frustration with everyday things, such as living in a group home, not being served coffee because of their disability and their hatred of pedicurists.

The band was formed in 2009 during workshops by Lyhty, a non-profit organisation for people with learning disabilities in Helsinki. Since then they have toured and played gigs worldwide, including in the UK in 2013. PKN were also the subjects of the 2012 multi award-winning documentary, The Punk Syndrome, which provided an honest, funny and moving insight into their lives.

PKN are currently 5/1 to win the contest, according to bookmaker Betfred, behind only Italy and Estonia.

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