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Pertti Kurikan Nimipaivat: A Punk Band Made up of Men with Down Syndrome

Recently, Kevin sent me a link to a story about a Finnish band, Pertti Kurikan Nimipaivat (PKN) . What makes this band unique is that all the musicians have Down Syndrome. As a parent of a 25-year-old with Down Syndrome, I know how tuned in to music a Down’s child can be. Bethany loves music, knows the titles and lyrics to countless songs, and even sings along with the videos she watches. Sadly, her singing voice is not very good, but that does not keep her from singing along with Rascal Flatts or whoever her favorite band that week is.

Here’s a video of Pertti Kurikan Nimipaivat. It is not in English, but I thought readers would enjoy it anyway.

Video Link

The Independent reports:

A Finnish punk band whose members have learning disabilities are applying to perform at the Eurovision Song Contest in a bid to raise awareness of Down’s Syndrome.

PKN (Pertti Kurikan Nimipaivat), whose members are living with Down’s syndrome and autism, will compete against 17 other bands to represent Finland at the annual event, to be held this year in Vienna.

Finnish TV viewers will make the decision but PKN are already excited about the process and hoping they will make it to the grand final stage.

“Pertti the guitarist is a big fan of Eurovision,” manager Kalle Pajamaa told Sputnik. “Their families are supportive as well as the fans. Even the punk scene has been very supportive for the guys.”

Pertii Kurikka, Sami Helle, Kari Aalto and Toni Valitalo believe that appearing at Eurovision could help boost support for social programs helping inform more people about Down’s Syndrome…


    • Avatar
      Bruce Gerencser

      Down Syndrome is misunderstood by most people. There is a wide spectrum in mental ability and physical disability. That’s always the dilemma when a woman finds out she is pregnant with a Down’s fetus. IS the child going to be like these men, like our Bethany, or is she going to have severe disability, little to no mental function, and require lifelong institutional care. I’ve seen both.

      Part of the problem his that high functioning Down Syndrome people, tend to make the news, movies, etc. So, we get the, hey I saw a girl with Down’s on TV and she can read, drive a car. Surely, Bethany can be like that!!! Sorry, that’s not going to happen. Every parent with a Down’s child has to determine where their child is mentally. Take reading. Bethany gets a dozen or more books from the library a week. She sits on the couch and reads then just like you and I would. Page by page. She can’t read, but in her mind she can. She makes a connection with what she sees on TV with what is written in the book.

      Bethany can’t read but she sure is one hell of a memorizer (sp) and copier. She has a notebook where she writes things down, things she has copied from books, magazines, CD covers, etc. She then goes to YouTube, puts what she has copied into the search box, and finds videos to watch.

      Awhile ago, my doctor told me he wished everyone had a little bit of Down Syndrome, the loving, kind disposition most Down’s children have. These days, Bethany is quite the talker. She has no filter, no sense of propriety, so that can be a problem. 🙂 Hey, my Dad just let a fart in the car…just what the cashier at Meijer needs to know. 🙂

  1. Avatar

    “Hey, my Dad just let a fart in the car…just what the cashier at Meijer needs to know. ”


    I love kids for precisely that reason… the unfiltered, tell-it-like-it-is, straightforward stuff that just never stops.

    It’s why I love my job so much. 🙂

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