Anna Järvinen is a Helsinki-born, Stockholm-based songwriter, singer and artist. She has released four solo albums (Jag fick feeling 2007, Man var bland molnen 2009, Anna själv tredje 2011, Buren 2015), and is right now most in love with the ideas of Jim Cummins.
Helsinki used to be my hometown, I used to spend my summers there. Nowadays I don't get to visit as often as I would like to, but my feelings haven't disappeared.
I love the shadows, concrete and cobble stones of Bulevardi. When I was 16, I bought a pale pink jacket from a small shop on this street. I'm wearing it on the sleeve of my first album. We used to go for coffee at Ekberg with my grandma. One of my best songs is called Bulevarden.
I've shared a table many times at the Hietalahti fleamarket with my relatives to sell all kinds of things. I've also found most of the glassware in my Stockholm home from there. My dear grandma Aili used to live around there, on the seventh floor with the fog keeping her company.
LIBRARIES AND BOOKSTORES
Libraries and bookstores have always been my favourite places. I love the Academic Bookstore across from Stockmann, not to even mention the lovely Café Aalto inside it. On the other side of the Esplanade park is the Rikhardinkatu Library, where I used to study law and art history. I've only been to the University Library once with the art historians, or maybe we just saw a picture of it and I think I've been there: either way, we loved it a lot!
HELSINKI CATHEDRAL AND MARKET SQUARE
I used to spend most of my time in Helsinki alone, and of course I would sometimes sit on the cathedral steps to write my journal and enjoy the sea. To keep some distance. I would buy strawberries at the Market Square. Strawberries with Finnish ice cream served in my grandma's smoky Kaj Franck glass bowls is still the most vivid picture of a perfect summer for me, and something hard to replicate anymore. I remember seeing an outdoor screening of Woody Allen's Manhattan when I was 14 on Sofiankatu, right between the Senate Square and the Esplanade park.
The architecture of central Helsinki is heavier, as if to tell a story of the difficult years. It arouses imagination. Most of my time in Helsinki I've spent in the east: Roihuvuori, Laajasalo, Jollas and Kulosaari, where my family lives. From there, I remember the pavements, peonies, roses, tiles, the grainy beach, and the alder trees.