What connections are there between Finland and Scotland? Well, here are a few: they each have hard-to-learn languages (Finnish and Scots Gaelic are right up there with Navajo), they are both cold quite a bit of the time, and, of course, both countries have great music.
Since I am one quarter Finnish (on my Father’s side), I always pay attention to things Suomi. For example, the other day I found myself behind a car in downtown Salt Lake City with a bumper sticker instructing me to “Honk If You’re Finnish”. I honked; the occupant paused, then waved.
A few days ago I received a private message from a member of the Piping Forums of which I am a member. Mikko, from Oulo, had written to me asking if I were Finnish. He is the only Great Highland Bagpiper in his town, which is “200km south of the Arctic Circle”. Turns out, if he were to move south, to Helsinki, he would have company. Yesterday I found my way to the website of the Helsinki Pipes and Drums. They are the “oldest, finest and only Pipe Band in Finland”, and they compete in Denmark and amongst the Scandinavian countries. They’ve even been to the US.
I think it’s a good sign when a notoriously shy people will play the loudest acoustic instrument there is.