Arja Saijonmaa

Arja Enni Helena Saijonmaa (born 1 December 1944 in Mikkeli) is a Finnish singer, political activist and occasional actress.

She studied at the Sibelius Academy and earned a Bachelor of Arts at the Helsinki University. She made her breakthrough as a singer in Sweden. She has made albums with Swedish translations of songs by Mikis Theodorakis, as well as covers of Zarah Leander songs.

In 1978 she issued "Miten voi kyllin kiittää", an album of Finnish translations of the songs of the Chilean composer and singer Violeta Parra. A Swedish version, "Jag vill tacka livet", came out the following year. The title song, "Jag vill tacka livet" ("Gracias a la vida") was one of her greatest hits. She sang this at Swedish prime minister Olof Palme’s funeral in 1986. Palme had been a close friend, and his widow wanted Arja to sing at the funeral.

As a politician, she has been a member of the Swedish People's Party in Finland, and in 1987 she was appointed UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador.

She has written a Norwegian-language book, "Sauna", about the Finnish sauna tradition.

She appeared in the first season of Let's Dance, the Swedish version of Strictly Come Dancing in 2006. Her professional partner was Tobias Karlsson, aged 28, and they were eliminated in the 7th week. In February 2006 they posed nude for the Swedish newspapers.

In December 2007 Saijonmaa participated in the Swedish reality show "Stjärnorna på slottet" along with Peter Stormare, Britt Ekland, Jan Malmsjö and Magnus Härenstam.

Discography

Finnish language

1972 Laula kanssani toveri
1972 Arja Saijonmaa & Mikis Theodorakis
1973 Koko yön minun poikani valvoi
1975 Huomenta sydämeni
1979 Jokainen arkiaamu - Arja Saijonmaa & Mikis Theodorakis Ateenassa
1979 Miten voin kyllin kiittää
1981 Ruotsiin ja takaisin
1983 Ystävän laulu
1985 La Cumparsita
1988 Arja Saijonmaa & George de Godzinsky Finlandia-talossa
1989 Yhteinen taivas ja maa
1993 Paijaa mua
2000 Sydänten silta
2006 Rakkaus on rohkeutta

Reissues

1985 Valitut laulut
1988 Arja Saijonmaa (2LP)
1995 20 Suosikkia: Ystävän laulu
2001 20 Suosikkia: Satumaa
2007 Tähtisarja - 30 suosikkia (2CD)

Swedish language

1977 Det är tid att sjunga sånger
1977 Tango Jalousie
1978 Arja Saijonmaa i Stockhomns konserthus
1979 Jag vill tacka livet
1981 Sånger från asfalt och ängar
1982 Leksar och parfym
1987 Högt över havet
1988 Arja sjunger Zarah
1989 Samma himmel, samma sol
1994 La Cumparsita
1998 Bara du kommer
1999 En bro av gemenskap
2003 Arja Nära

Reissues

1994 Arja's bästa
2000 Guldkorn
2002 100% (2CD)
2005 Vad du än trodde så trodde du fel

Other languages

1976 Bonjour mon coeur
1983 Es ist Zeit

Films

Arja Saijonmaa has appeared in the following films:

1969 Punatukka
1969 Pohjan tähteet
1985 Puntilan isäntä ja hänen renkinsä

ources

Tony Latva and Petri Tuunainen, Iskelmän tähtitaivas, WSOY 2004, ISBN 951-0-27817-3

M.A. Numminen, Tango on intohimoni, Schilds 1998, ISBN 951-50-0918-9

External links

* [http://www.arjasaijonmaa.com/ Official website] (warning: background music)

* [http://www.un.org/advocates/bios3.htm Short bio on United Nations' website]


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