Wednesday, 24 November 2021

International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women

Trigger Warnings: Racism, Sexism, Violence

Today the 25th of November is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. 

Violence against any human is always a product of a complex system of power and inequality, a system, that campaigns like MeToo, BlackLivesMatter and many more have tried to dismantle since years.


I believe in the good in all humans, that most of us want to become better humans and strive for a better world. For me the “woke movement” has been a proof of that: a growing number of people trying to educate themselves about their own privileges, get informed about the basics of intersectional feminism and working on changing their way of speaking to make it more inclusive and a safe space for as many as possible.


However, since last Friday Finland has been buzzing after the scandal on national TV. ( Yle’s Marja Sannikka discussion program where first the whole “woke culture” was questioned after which astronomer Esko Valtaoja used the racist N-word twice in a discussion which left the reporter Renaz Ebrahimi bewildered). It has been very disappointing to watch: both the program itself as well as the media coverage it got afterwards.


Here are a few points of prevailed power structures that have upset me:

  1. Why would you interview two white males (Valtaoja and Tammisalo)about racism, when they never have studied anything to do with racism or with intersectional feminism. This is a very important and difficult subject, where terminology is very important. Why invite people who neither have the terminology nor even personal experience.

  2. Why juxtaposition a person of colour (Ebrahimi), who has a lot of knowledge about racism and intersectional feminism, with a person who has no knowledge in the field and say that “everyone has the right to their opinion”. No, no one has the right to racism or oppression in the name of “free speach”.

  3. The person of colour (Ebrahimi), who rightly was upset of the usage of the N-word, has been portrayed as “aggressive and emotional” by press and many on social media. It is absolutely absurd that the person calling out the racist behaviour is being portrayed as the “agressive” one, and not the one using the racist language (in a calm voice).

  4. The absurd juxtaposition, of a white male (Valtaoja) and white female Sannikka) arguing for “free speach” against a woman of colour (Ebrahimi) who opposes hate speech, has made the internet explode. The outcome has been that: Ebrahimi has received hundreds of death threats and other threats over social media. Sannikka’s program has been cancelled. Valtaoja has been given media coverage by Iltasanomat to tell “his version”.


Here we see usage (and misusage) of power in a nutshell, and the outcome was just an other “textbook example” of how structural oppression works. The person of colour who happened to be a woman had to pay the highest price, although she only called out racism and said it was unacceptable. 


Threat of violence against women is used very actively also today to try shut up women’s voices.


Lets try to change that, together, okay?

© Cecilia Damström 2021

Friday, 6 August 2021

ICE video premiere!

What an incredible day!

Composer Cecilia Damström and architect Erkko Aarti

Today 6.8 my piece “ICE” commissioned by Green Capital Lahti got its video premiere, recorded by Lahti Sinfonia and conducted by Finland’s star conductor Dalia Stasevska (who is still in the UK as she conducted the opening of the Proms!)! The video premiere was on the big screen of Helsinki Music Centre at 12 PM, and is now available online in 100 cities threatened by rising sea levels. 

Sinfonia Lahti playing ICE conducted by Dalia Stasevska

After the video premiere, the Mayor of Lahti Pekka Timonen officially cut the ribbon and opened the monumental visual piece I.C.E by Erkko Aarti and his team. The piece can be seen in front of Helsinki main library Oodi for the next 10 days, and all these days from 10 AM to 5 PM my piece ICE can be heard in the Wood Paviljong (on repeat).

Lahti Major Pekka Timonen opening I.C.E.

When I was asked in December 2020 if I would like to compose the piece, I immediately had a “vision” of how this piece should sound, it was clear from the beginning to the end. Due to it’s important topic (the climate crisis) this piece is really special to me. My humblest thank you to Green Capital Lahti, Sinfonia Lahti and Dalia Stasevska for your trust in me, and giving me this enormous and amazing opportunity to be part of this!

I.C.E. for GreenLahti2021

I.C.E. for GreenLahti2021

Also a great honour to get the opportunity to collaborate with the super talented Erkko Aarti and his team! Its not everyday a composer gets to collaborate with a prize winning architect and his team! (Well, no part of this project happens “often” in a composers life, to be honest! 😀 )

Still find it hard to believe this all happened today and is real! ❤
Composer Cecilia Damström

#greenlahti #greenlahti2021@greenlahti2021 #sinfonialahti@sinfonialahti #daliastasevska@daliastasevskaofficial#ceciliadamström #ceciliadamstrom@ceciliadamstrom #ICE #icemusic#ympäristöpääkaupunki #climatecrisis

Wednesday, 28 July 2021

Summer Concerts 2021

Composer Cecilia Damström Photo © Maria Svidryk / Villa Concordia

Turning 33 and feeling genuinely happy about life!

So much fun just around the corner, so here is a update of upcoming events the next two weeks:

🎻 29.7 “Sydänlaulu” for viola at @meidanfestivaali 

🐭31.7 “Vickan&Väinö” children opera at @leminmusiikkijuhlat produced by @operaboxhelsinki 

🎹4.8 “Characters” for piano at @manttamusicfestival 

❄️6.8 video premiere of “ICE” by @sinfonialahti and @daliastasevskaofficial on the screen of @musiikkitalo 

🌊7.8 world premiere of “Fretus” for string orchestra at Styrsö Kammarmusikdagar in Sweden

🌈 10.8 world premiere of my new trio “Vibrations” for Rosetta Ensemble at @brqvantaafestival at Tikkurila Church @tiksinsrk 

❄️12.8 Panel discussion about climate change with other artists in Nastola

Hope to see You in Helsinki/ Kallionkuninkala / Styrsö / Tikkurila / Nastola or where ever our might paths meet! 😅

Photo: Villa Concordia // Maria Svidryk @svidryk_ 

#composerlife #happycomposer#contemporarymusic #meidänfestivaali#sinfonialahti #mäntänmusiikkijuhlat#mänttämusicfestival #musiikkitalo#styrsökammarmusikdagar#leminmusiikkijuhlat2021#ceciliadamström #ceciliadamstrom#333daysbamberg #menschoir#femalecomposer #styrsö #mänttä#lemi #bamberg #tikkurila #nastola#vibrations #miamclothing #greenlahti

Friday, 28 May 2021

FFF15: Sign petition for Finnish forests

I would like to contribute to FFF (Fridays for Future) in my own way: by sharing one concrete action per week that YOU can do, and which I have done, for combating climate change. 

FFF15: Sign petition for Finnish forests

WHY: Finland is cutting down old forests at an alarming rate. Old forests are particularly rich in both biodiversity, a factor that is needed for combating pandemics. Areas with good biodiversity can produce a number of important benefits for their regions and, by extension, the people who live nearby. These include functions like protecting nearby water systems, encouraging the formation of healthy soil, and breaking down ambient air pollution. 

WHAT CAN I DO: Sign the petition for Finnish forests. (You need a Finnish telephone number and to give them your name and email.) Greenpeace has made a petition that asks the Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin to commit to protecting the preservation of old forests. You can also go to the website and instagram of Greenpeace for more information.

I like to share petitions every now and then, because personally I feel it’s a easy thing to do against climate change. And they do affect: the EU ruled that oat milk and other non dairy products are allowed to be called oat milk also in the future! Yay!

And for people outside Finland, go check out if there is a petition for protecting old forests in your home country you can sign!

Link to petition:

Monday, 24 May 2021

Thoughts on Finnish cultural restrictions

I'm very proud of Finland at the Eurovision song contest final! If the audience would have decided Finland would have been fourth, but also now the 6th placement was the best Finland placement since Lordi won in 2006! Well done @blindchannel !! 

I’m proud of Finnish culture but I’m not proud of how Finnish culture has been treated by our government (by cultural minister @annika.saarikko among others)! 🤯Living in Germany I see how ALL institutions (restaurants, gyms, shops AND culture institutions) are treated equally, same rules for everyone. In Finland again everything else seems to matter except culture. The National Theatre can take in 6 people in the audience while the casino next door can take in 350!! I do believe in regulations due to corona, but a 50% capacity concert or theatre where everyone wears face masks, is for sure a more safe place than for instance any bar. So why does culture have the worst conditions for being able to do work, of all professions in Finland at the moment? A sector that includes 135.000 people working with it, and usually a turnover of 12,5 billion euros a year, it is a substantial industry that has been abandoned by our government. Finland HAS to do BETTER than this! 

Ending with a good Churchill quote, when asked to cut down on funding for art during World War II he replied “Then what would we be fighting for?”. 

#kulttuuriaeisaarikkoa #blindchannel#finnishculture #finnishmusic #annikasaarikko #sannamarin #jaxuhali @eduskunta_riksdagen #mittaontäysi

Friday, 21 May 2021

FFF14: Vote for environmentalists in elections!

I would like to contribute to FFF (Fridays for Future) in my own way: by sharing one concrete action per week that YOU can do, and which I have done, for combating climate change. 

FFF14: Vote for environmentalists in elections!

WHY: The Finnish local elections are beginning next week, and for some reason they often have a lower turnup than other elections in Finland, only 58,8% voted in 2017 to be exact. This is however strange, as local elections are the ones that affect your living and hometown and your immediate environment the most! And through voting for candidates and political parties who care about the environment, we can in a easy way take action and a stand for our environment.

WHAT CAN I DO: VOTE! And I would advice to vote for someone who openly values our environment. Read about different candidates and read also what the party they represent stands for. In Finland we have also many voting aid applications (“vaalikone”), in which you can fill in what you think is important, and the applications will give you suggestions on candidates who have similar responses as you. Elections are also important for preserving culture, so keep that in mind as well! ❤ 

HOW:In Finland you can either vote easily in advance 26.5-8.6 at almost any voting place or on the voting day 13.6 at your predetermined voting place. If you live abroad (like me) you can vote in advance 2-5.6.

Composer Cecilia Damström at Villa Concordia Bamberg


#FFF #FridaysForFuture#kunnallisvaalit2021#kommunalval2021 #kuntavaalit2021#greenfuture #environmentallyfriendly#enviromentalist #333daysbamberg

Friday, 14 May 2021

FFF week 13: Clean a beach

I would like to contribute to FFF (Fridays for Future) in my own way: by sharing one concrete action per week that YOU can do, and which I have done, for combating climate change. 

FFF13: Clean a beach ( #Satakolkyt )

WHY: Cleaning beaches improves the coastal and ocean ecosystem by making sure that none of the trash kills marine life or is toxic enough to disrupt the marine life cycle. The more biodiversity, the better nature can combat climate change (and according to research also more biodiversity goes together with less risk of pandemics)! In Helsinki the initiative “Satakolkyt” (Hundered and thirty) was launched to inspire people to enjoy the beaches of Helsinki while helping nature at the same time. 

WHAT CAN I DO: If you live in Helsinki: go to the website , check which beach hasn’t been cleaned yet, borrow cleaning equipment from the library and mark the beach you have cleaned on the map. So far 170 km beaches have been cleaned in Helsinki through this initiative! If you live somewhere else, you can still clean a beach, nature will be just as happy and thankful. And I think you will too!

I usually each summer clean the public beach close to my parents' summer house, because then I enjoy that beach more as well.

PS. You can also make it to a game with friends: the one that collects the most trash wins a *chocolate/beer/ self made up* award! Just remember to be careful and stay safe!