Tango royalty crowned in Seinäjoki Tango Market

The annual event has been going on for 35 years and attracts 100,000 tango fans to the north west town to enjoy a week of singing and dancing.

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2019 Tango Queen Pirita Niemenmaa (L) and Tango King Johannes Vatjus (R) / Credit: J. Pihlaja

Finland’s Tango King and Tango Queen have been crowned, the culmination of a week-long Tango Market competition to find Finland’s best tango singers.

The competition has been held annually for 35 years, and has become one of the biggest events in the Finnish summer calendar attracting 100,000 visitors to the north west town of Seinäjoki.

This year’s competition was won on Saturday night by Seinäjoki local Pirita Niemenmaa who impressed judges with her renditions of Mirror of Memories and I’ve Got My Tango Friend; while Johannes Vatjus from Haapavesi sang Eastern Love and Our Tango in the grand final which was shown live on television.

Tango Festival fills the streets 

The crowds don’t only flock to Seinäjoki for the singing – there’s also tango classes and dancing in the streets organised during the Tango Market.

The main action takes place in Tangokatu – Tango Street – which fills up with music and dance fans during the festival, while a purpose-built pavilion has an orchestra playing 15 hours of tango music every day for fans to enjoy or dance to.

Tango Market has produced numerous Finnish stars, including Jari Sillänpää who won the competition back in 1995 and went on to represent Finland at the Eurovision Song Contest and release numerous albums.

Despite a number of recent criminal convictions, Sillänpää remains one of Finland’s biggest celebrities and was a judge at the 2019 Tango Market competition.

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