In memoriam: Seija Simola, Finland’s Eurovision 1978 star

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Finnish singer Seija Simola has passed away at the age of 72. She represented Finland at the 1978 Eurovision Song Contest with the song “Anna rakkaudelle tilaisuus” (Give love a chance).

Born in Helsinki to the painter Urpo Simola and gymnast Anita Lappalainen, Seija began her musical career at the age of 18, singing with orchestras in dance halls. In 1970, she released an album as part of the Eero, Seija & Kristian trio, as well as her debut solo album Seija Simola 1.

Seija quickly became one of Finland’s most popular singers of the 1970’s, releasing a further six studio albums that decade alone. Her biggest hits included “Maritza”, as well as “Et itkeä saa Argentiina”, a Finnish translation of “Don’t Cry for Me Argentina” from the musical Evita.

In addition, Seija also recorded a number of cover versions of ABBA songs, including “Waterloo” and “Fernando”.

Seija took part in Finland’s national selection for Eurovision for four consecutive years between 1972 and 1975. She came closest to winning in 1973, where she placed second as part of the group Paradise, singing “One, Two, Three”.

In 1978 Seija returned to the national selection, this time winning, and earning the right to represent Finland at Eurovision with “Anna rakkaudelle tilaisuus”. Unfortunately, the song placed 18th out of 20 entries, being awarded only two points, and was the lowest placing Finnish entry of the decade.

However, Seija continued with her career, releasing music throughout the early and mid 1980’s, with the 1986 LP Seija being her last solo record.

Sadly Seija had to stop singing entirely in 2011 after her vocal chords were damaged during failed surgery.

Seija passed away on the 20th of August and leaves behind one adult son to former husband Pekka Hartonen. We at wiwibloggs send our deepest condolences to Seija’s family and friends.

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