Ismo Alanko

Ismo Kullervo Alanko (Finnish pronunciation: [ˈismo ˈɑlɑŋko]) (born November 12, 1960) is a Finnish musician. He is known as the frontman of several bands, most famously Hassisen Kone, Sielun Veljet and Ismo Alanko Säätiö, as well as a successful solo artist.

Ismo Alanko
Ismo Alanko at Teatria, December 10, 2011.
Background information
Birth nameIsmo Kullervo Alanko
Also known asKullervo Kivi
Jari Kullervo[1]
Toomas Eest[2]
Born (1960-11-12) November 12, 1960
Kerava, Finland
OriginJoensuu, Finland
InstrumentsSinging, guitar, bass, keyboards, cello
Years active1979–present
LabelsPoko, Fullsteam
Associated actsHassisen Kone, Sielun Veljet, Ismo Alanko Säätiö

Alanko is known for his versatility and interest in different musical styles. During his career he has recorded punk rock, alternative rock, progressive rock, electronic music, schlager, dance music, children's music and film scores. He has achieved eight platinum records, 16 gold records and four Emma awards.[3] Also a recognized lyricist, Alanko won the Juha Vainio Writer's Award (Juha Vainio -sanoittajapalkinto) in 2003 for his song texts.[4]

In a City magazine article in 1999, 43 Finnish journalists picked the top 99 Finnish rock artists. Ismo Alanko placed 20th, with his former bands Hassisen Kone and Sielun Veljet placing 12th and 4th, respectively.[5]

Alanko comes from a musical family: of his two younger brothers, Petri Alanko is a reputed classical flute player, Ilkka Alanko is the singer/guitarist of Neljä Ruusua, and his sister Satu Alanko-Rautamaa a violinist, and a member or the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra.



Ismo Alanko was born on November 12, 1960 in Kerava, but grew up in Joensuu, North Karelia.[6] As a 15-year-old he played in a band called Sight, already writing some of his own songs. In the Finnish Rock Championship, an annual competition for young musicians, the band finished second in the progressive rock category. After completing his secondary education degree (ylioppilastutkinto), he took a break from music to move to work in Stockholm.[7]

Hassisen Kone

After returning to Finland in 1979, Alanko, then 19 years of age, gained immediate success as the singer, songwriter and rhythm guitarist of the new wave group Hassisen Kone. They won the Finnish rock championship in 1980 and recorded three very successful albums, Täältä tullaan Venäjä, Rumat sävelet and Harsoinen teräs, where the band went from punk-related new wave to progressive rock. All three remain among the best-selling records in Alanko's career. Hassisen Kone disbanded in 1982.

Sielun Veljet

Soon after Hassisen Kone broke up, Alanko and former Hassisen Kone guitarist Jukka Orma started Sielun Veljet. Some of their early audience was expecting another Hassisen Kone, but instead the band played aggressive and repetitive post-punk. Only one Sielun Veljet album came close to reaching Hassisen Kone's album sales (L'amourha, 1985), but the band gained fame for their powerful, loud and intense live performances. The band toured constantly and played a wide variety of musical styles, including old schlager hits under the alias Kullervo Kivi & Gehenna. Sielun Veljet quit in 1991, after seven studio albums, two EPs, a box set and a 1991 documentary film titled Veljet.

Solo career

Alanko's solo debut, Kun Suomi putos puusta, was released in 1990. At this point Sielun Veljet still existed, but the band had become less and less active. After the band broke up, Alanko recorded the electronic music -influenced Jäätyneitä lauluja and toured Finland with his band that was named Tuonelan Lukio. The band's keyboardist was Izmo Heikkilä of the band Raptori.[3] Alanko went on to release two more solo albums, Taiteilijaelämää (1995) and Irti (1996).

In 1997, a four-CD box set Alangolla – Ismo Alangon lauluja was released. It spanned his entire career starting from Hassisen Kone and including material from different side projects. Until then, very few Finnish artists had released a box set. Sielun Veljet had released Musta laatikko in 1991 and CMX their collection Cloaca Maxima in 1997.

Alanko's most popular song, "Pop-musiikkia", was recorded in 1997 with fellow rock stars Ilkka Alanko (of Neljä Ruusua), Kalle Ahola (of Don Huonot) and A. W. Yrjänä (of CMX) under the name Neljä baritonia (Four Baritones). The single has been certified platinum in Finland[8] and is one of the most successful songs of all time on the Finnish singles chart.[9]

In 2002, Alanko appeared on Timo Rautiainen's platinum-selling Tiernapojat play with Jarkko Martikainen, Toni Wirtanen and Rautiainen himself, playing King Herod.

In 2009, Alanko continues his varied projects playing with contemporary Finnish artists. In April he joined former Alanko Säätiö percussionist Teho Majamäki onstage as Teholla at Helsinki's mini-festival Arctic Paradise Live, having the same evening performed a solo concert in the Ateneum Art Museum series (A Land Without Kantele) with resident houseband of Jarmo Saari (guitars), Arttu Tolonen (bass) and Abdissa "Mamba" Assefa (drums).

Ismo Alanko Säätiö

In 1998, Alanko started the semi-ironically named Ismo Alanko Säätiö (Ismo Alanko Foundation). Though Säätiö performed many of Alanko's old hits, the arrangements were radically revamped to fit with their unique acoustic sound, heavily featuring the avant-garde accordion sound of Kimmo Pohjonen, a successful artist in his own right. Even though Säätiö is a band, it can be said that it is a backing band for solo performances by Alanko, as members of the band have changed rapidly.

Ismo Alanko Teholla

In 2007, Alanko ended Säätiö in its current form, and began touring with multi-instrumentalist Teho Majamäki as "Ismo Alanko Teholla". The name of the band is a play on words, and can mean either "Ismo Alanko with Power" or "Ismo Alanko in ICU (Intensive Care Unit)".[10]


Alanko studied classical cello in his youth, but didn't pursue a classical career because he felt it would require too much practice. In Hassisen Kone and onwards, he has played rhythm guitar in his bands in addition to singing. He still occasionally plays the cello, as well as the piano, both in the studio and on live performances.

Alanko composed the music for the 2007 TV series Taivaan tulet by Kari Väänänen. Alanko also played all instruments for the score, except for flute parts that were played by his brother Petri. Alanko has said that the decision to play all the instruments himself came "out of curiosity".[11]


Studio albums

1990Kun Suomi putos puustaIsmo Alanko-Gold (1999)Seal on Velvet
1993Jäätyneitä laulujaIsmo Alanko31Gold (2002)Seal on Velvet
1995TaiteilijaelämääIsmo Alanko17
Gold (1998)Poko
1996IrtiIsmo Alanko3Poko
2008Blanco SpiritualsIsmo Alanko Teholla1Fullsteam
2013Maailmanlopun SushibaariIsmo Alanko1Fullsteam / Sony
2013Maailmanlopun Sushibaari-Erikoispainos
(Special edition)
Ismo Alanko12Fullsteam / Sony
2015Ismo Kullervo AlankoIsmo Alanko6Fullsteam / Sony
2017Yksin VanhallaIsmo Alanko2
Fullsteam / Sony
2019Minä halusin olla niin kuin BeethovenIsmo Alanko2

Live albums

2013Kolmannesvuosisata Taiteilijaelämää – LiveIsmo Alanko6Fullsteam/Sony


1997Alangolla – Ismo Alangon laulujaIsmo Alanko7Poko
2001Hitit 1989–2001Ismo Alanko11Platinum (2004)Poko


2006Taiteilijaelämää vuosilta 1989–2006Ismo AlankoGold (2007)Poko


1993"Extaasiin"Ismo Alanko-Poko
1993"Kuolemalla on monet kasvot"Ismo Alanko-Poko
1995"Taiteilijaelämää"Ismo Alanko-Poko
1995"Kun rakkaus on rikki"Ismo Alanko-Poko
1996"Kriisistä kriisiin"Ismo Alanko18Poko
1997"Pop-musiikkia"Neljä baritonia1Platinum (1998)Poko
2007"Päästänkö irti"Ismo Alanko Teholla1Fullsteam


  1. Jari Kullervo on – Retrieved on April 8, 2008
  2. Toomas Eest on – Retrieved on April 13, 2008
  3. Tero Valkonen on Pomus – Populaarimusiikin museo – Retrieved on April 17, 2008
  4. Pekka Nissilä: Juha Vainion Rahaston tunnustuspalkinto Ismo Alangolle Archived February 11, 2012, at the Wayback Machine, SELVIS magazine 3/2003
  5. Suomipopin 99 suurinta, City magazine 21/1999
  6. – Elävä arkisto – Retrieved on April 9, 2008
  7. – Maan mainiot Archived March 19, 2009, at the Wayback Machine – Retrieved April 9 2008
  8. – Retrieved on April 17, 2008
  9. – Retrieved on April 17, 2008
  10. Tapio Ahola: Ismo Alanko Teholla – suuruudenhullu pienyhtye Archived July 6, 2011, at the Wayback Machine, Vertigo, March 3, 2008
  11. Sari Sainio: Vastavirtaan Archived May 11, 2008, at the Wayback MachineAamulehti, February 2, 2007
  12. Ismo Alanko Teholla on – Retrieved on April 6, 2008
  13. Ismo Alanko on – Retrieved on April 6, 2008
  14. – Retrieved on April 6, 2008
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