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Heyday of Åland pop music – new commemorative issue

Heyday of Åland pop music – new commemorative issue
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During some groovy years in the 1960s, Åland pop music prospered and dense crowds met for dances in the community centres. The Anacondas, Stockdoves and Hitch Hikers are now featured on three stamps.

The 1960s was the decade when pop music took Åland by storm. The range of music in the early 1960s had more or less consisted of music performed on accordion, upright bass and guitar for the traditional dances hambo, schottische and foxtrot. But the winds changed and, inspired by bands such as The Shadows, The Spotnicks and The Violents, the Åland barbed-wire band The Anacondas was formed in 1962.

"We played in community centres up to four times a week," Karl-Erik "Kille" Williams, clarinet and guitar player in Anacondas, accounts.

The Åland music was even exported, performing on Finnish as well as on Swedish television. Perhaps the Hitch Hikers was the band that ventured most and the band members succeeded in earning their living as band members for a few years.

"At least, we made a serious attempt. If we succeeded is another question," organ player Håkan Rikberg laughs.

They toured in Turku and Helsinki, making detours to Ostro-bothnia. One time, they performed on the same television program as Sonny & Cher. Håkan Rikberg remembers the Hitch Hikers' tour bus, a rickety minibus, which the police did not like, and which is now featured on the cover of the stamp booklet.

"It had messages and expressions of affections from loyal fans from around the country scribbled all over it."

The turnover of band members was considerable. Håkan Rikberg and Kille Williams both appeared in various line-upps with the majority of Åland bands. And they did become well known.

"In an Åland perspective, we were rather popular, I do believe. Where we played, everybody wanted to be," Kille Williams says.

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