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Leevi and the Leavings

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Finland (1978 – 2003)

Leevi and the Leavings was a popular Finnish band that operated from 1978 to 2003.

The band consisted of Gösta Sundqvist, Risto Paananen, Juha Karastie and Niklas Nylund. Sundqvist was the leader of the band, he composed and wrote all the band’s songs as well as being the vocalist. Sundqvist was also an interesting character, he rarely gave interviews or appeared on television, although he hosted a radio program for YLE, the Finnish national broadcasting company.

The band’s music relied heavily on Sundqvist’s tragicomedic lyrics and catchy choruses. The best example of the band’s style is the song “Teuvo, maanteiden kuningas” (“Teuvo, the king of the highways”). The song tells the story of a reckless driver dreaming about being a rally driver. Other famous songs include “Rin Tin Tin”, a bitter-sweet reminiscence of a long lost romance, “Unelmia ja toimistohommia” (“Dreams and office work”), “Pohjois-Karjala” (“North Karelia”) and “Itkisitkö onnesta” (“Would you cry for happiness”). Many people rate Sundqvist’s lyrics the best pop lyrics in Finland, and even a tv-play based on the characters of his songs was produced and broadcasted in Finnish TV.

The band was extremely popular, and many of their songs are sung by Finns in karaoke bars. Leevi was also famous for never performing live. On August 15, 2003, Sundqvist passed away at the age of 46, and the band decided to call it a day.

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