Leningrad Cowboys ~ Biography

Header Photo: Logo

This is the classic Leningrad Cowboys logo and has been around since the early 1990s. They had variations of it but, for me, it is iconic and the one that stays in the mind.

© Leningrad Cowboys

Leningrad Cowboys: Biog.

Leningrad Cowboys Go America >> Leningrad Cowboys Meet Moses >> Total Balalaika Show >> Album Covers >> Aki Kaurismäki >> Kati Outinen >> Matti Pellonpää >> Jim Jarmusch

Leningrad Cowboys Wares:
Signed CDs

Those Were the Days (The Best of the Leningrad Cowboys) CD Boxset with Playing Cards

Leningrad Cowboys - 1917-1987 CD Album
The Aki Kaurismaki Collection - Leningrad Cowboys UK Dvd Set

Aki Kaurismäki Japanese 6 Dvd Boxset (incl. Go America, Meet Moses and Total Balalaika

Aki Kaurismäki Japanese Book

Leningrad Cowboys - Go America / Meet Moses / Total Balalaika Show Finnish Dvd Set

Leningrad Cowboys - Buena Vodka Social Club CD
Leningrad Cowboys Go America - CD Soundtrack
Leningrad Cowboys Go America - Chirashi Poster
Leningrad Cowboys Go America UK DVd
Leningrad Cowboys Go America - UK Video
Leningrad Cowboys Go America - US Video
Leningrad Cowboys Go America / Meet Moses - Japanese Dvd
Leningrad Cowboys - Go Space CD Album
Leningrad Cowboys - Happy Being Miserable CD Single
Leningrad Cowboys - Happy Together CD Album
Leningrad Cowboys - Happy Together 6 CD Boxset
Leningrad Cowboys Meet Moses Poster
Leningrad Cowboys - Global Balalaika Show Dvd
Leningrad Cowboys - Global Balalaika Show CD
Leningrad Cowboys - Go Wild CD Album
Leningrad Cowboys - Live in Prowinzz CD Album
Leningrad Cowboys Meet Moses - UK Dvd
Leningrad Cowboys Meet Moses - Promo Poster
Leningrad Cowboys - Merry Christmas Cartoon Book
Leningrad Cowboys - Mongolian Barbecue CD Album
Leningrad Cowboys - Mongolian Barbecue Promo Poster
Leningrad Cowboys - Monkey Groove CD Single
Leningrad Cowboys - No Sleep Til Mexico Tour Poster
Leningrad Cowboys - Ocean Gig, London Promo Postcard
Leningrad Cowboys - Official Ski Hat
Leningrad Cowboys - Sweet Home Mexico Book
Leningrad Cowboys - Terzo Mondo Promo CD Album
Leningrad Cowboys - Terzo Mondo CD Album
Leningrad Cowboys - These Boots CD Single
Leningrad Cowboys - Thru The Wire CD Single
Leningrad Cowboys - Total Balalaika Show UK Dvd
Leningrad Cowboys - Total Balalaika Show 2 CD Set
Leningrad Cowboys - Total Balalaika Show Dutch Video
Leningrad Cowboys - We Cum From Brooklyn CD Album

I Love LA (feat. Leningrad Cowboys) Movie Dvd
LA Without a Map (feat. Leningrad Cowboys) Movie Video

Finnish Dvds

Leningrad Cowboys posters available at Allposters.com
Advertise
Leningrad Cowboys Books and Dvds available @ amazon.com
Search Site


Leningrad Cowboys ~ Biography

The ultimate cult band, Leningrad Cowboys, were formed in the late 80s as a 10 piece band and continue to the present day though only 1 of the existing members remains (Sakke Järvenpää - Mauri Sumén left in 2006 and the band have never really been the same since, he was that important. Just listen to his contribution to the Leningrad Cowboys Go America Soundtrack to know what I mean).

Despite their name & Russian trademark uniforms they are actually from Helsinki, Finland, cross the border to St. Petersburg (Leningrad).

Leningrad Cowboys

The joke from the outset was that they were 'the worst rock n'roll band in the world' who with their striking unicorn hairstyles and long pointed shoes had a naff Eastern European intepretation on western rock n'roll. This joke, long since unfunny and tiresome, is plain wrong. Make no mistake: this band live can hold their own with anyone. For example, the Total Balalaika Show in Helsinki in 1993, when they performed together with the Russian Red Army Choir to 70,000 fans was just electric. The cowboys performed the following songs:

Leningrad Cowboys

It's Only Rock'n'roll, Let's Work Together, Volga Boatmen, Happy Together, Yellow Submarine, A Cossack Was Riding Beyond The Duna, Proud Mary, Delilah, Katjusha, Dancin' On The Streets, Knockin' On Heaven's Door, Oh, Field, Sweet Home Alabama, Kalinka, Gimme All Your Lovin' , and Those Were The Days.

A double cd was released of the concert.

The concert was performed in the historic Senate Square. This was where thousands of people came to see the body of most famous Finnish leader, Mannerheim (he of the supreme dyed barnet!) as he lay in state. Mannerheim, when not colouring his hair, was head of the Finnish Army during the 2nd World War when the country fought valiantly against its deadly enemy, Russia. And here, some 50 years later, this Finnish band were performing with the Russian Red Army. It was an unforgettable experience. Rock n'roll that balmy summer's day really did stop the traffic.

Leningrad Cowboys

At this time the Total Balalaika Show in Helsinki the Cowboys linked up with Nokia. Nokia sponsored Leningrad Cowboys. There was a special Leningrad Cowboys phone. More importantly, they sponsored the costly gigs with the Red Army. "We have had some big gigs, which would have been too expensive without Nokia's support", Mato Valtonen, one of the founding members, said.

The special phone was part of one of the biggest and most impressive range of merchandise any band have had. They utilised their striking communist-style logo to the full. Apart from the cds and videos there was the Leningrad Cowboys beer and vodka, comic books, t-shirts that glowed in the dark, earrings and a host of other things.

Leningrad Cowboys

In 1994 they performed on the MTV Video Music Awards which had an audience of over 250 million people. The Berlin Concert (where they performed to 60,000 fans) marked the day of the End of the Cold War brought to life the famous Leningrad Cowboys motto: "Make tractors -- not war!"

The 10 Cowboys entertained exhibition-guests on the Nokia Summer Meltdown - festivities in Dallas in 1997. "A hot event", was Sakke Järvenpää's comment of the occasion. "A basic American big city, you sit much in a car and it's hot. When you drive on the highway, you notice, that you're not alone", Mato Valtonen commented.

Dr. Martin Bjurhed of the Stockholm Peace Institute has directed a scientific research The Leningrad Cowboys effect on the human brain, nexus and size. His conclusions were that it has something to do with the production of some chemicals in the brains and in the body. You can order future information from Dr. Bjurhed personally.

The line-up for the band has changed constantly over the last 14 years or so but of the original band members from the 1989 film Leningrad Cowboys Go America film, Sakari Kuosmanen left soon after and has pursued a music and acting career in Finland, appearing in many of Aki Kaurismaki's movies.

Leningrad Cowboys

Indeed, of the 10 original band members only Silu Seppälä, Sakke Järvenpää, Mauri Sumén & Mato Valtonen were still around by the time of the 1994 under achieving sequel, Leningrad Cowboys Meet Moses.

For the albums from 1992 to 1996 which included We Cum From Brooklyn (1992), Live in Provinzz (1993), Total Balalaika Show (1993), Happy Together (1994) & Leningrad Cowboys Go Space (1996), main vocals were provided by Jore Marjaranta who left the band soon after and has since had a solo career confined to Finland and appeared in the Guitar Slingers with Ben Granfelt.

From the 1997 album release Mongolian Barbecue to the 2000 release of Terzo Mondo the band were made up of:

Leningrad Cowboys

- Drums: Twist-Twist Erkinharju
- Singer: Sakke Järvenpää
- Guitar: Vesa Kääpä
- Singer: Veeti Kallio
- Saxophone: Esa Niiva
- Trumpet: Pemo Ojala
- Bass guitar: Silu Seppälä
- Keyboards: Mauri Sumén
- Singer Mato Valtonen.

The Cowboys also had two go-go girls, the Leningrad Ladies, Pink Isohanni and Mari Hatakka. Leningrad Cowboys also had their own museum in Helsinki & restaurant (closed in 2003).

Leningrad Cowboys

Arguably, the most disappointing departure was that of the Ben Granfelt (1991-1998), later with the legendary Wishbone Ash. As well as writing alot of the Cowboys original material, his guitar playing really did the Cowboys' music an edge that has been hard to replace.

Singer Mato Valtonen left after the 1997 album Mongolian Barbecue to concentrate on e-commerce. After his last gig with the band in Turku, Finland, he became the founder of now-defunct mobile services provider Wapit Ltd. Valtonen has also chronicled the rise and - like so many other early mobile startups - fall of his company in Riding the Wireless Wave: The Wapit Story, an exclusive e-book.

While it can't be denied that Valtonen's business acumen and driving force propelled the band to great heights, and while without him there would be no band, it has to be said that his dreadful singing voice, while funny for an album or two, soon wore thin. Although he was used really as the second singing and sparingly at that, by the 1996 release, Go Space the joke was just not funny anymore.

By the time of the 2003 10th Anniversary Helsinki Concert, Global Balalaika Show, the band had carelessly lost Silu Seppälä, Esa Niiva, Twist-Twist Erkinharju & Veeti Kallio.

The line-up for the 2003 concert with the Red Army Air Force Ensemble in front of 60000 fans was:

Leningrad Cowboys

- Percussion: Juuso Hannukainen
- Vocals: Tipe Johnson
- Vocals: Sakke Jarvenpaa
- Drums: Sami Jarvinen
- Trombone: Jay Kortehisto
- Guitar: Marzi Nyman
- Trumpet: Pemo Ojala
- Tenor sax: Pope Puolitaivai
- Keyboards, accordion: Mauri Sumén
- Bass Timo Tolonen
- Vocals, guitar Tume Uusitalo
- Guitar Varre Vartiainen

Photos from the 2003 Senate Square concert can be found @ www.ilmakuva.com/balalaika/.

There has also been a November 2003 dvd & double cd release of the concert, which fused alot more world music elements into the gig than the original concert ever did.

Leningrad Cowboys

The Cowboys have made several movies directed by Aki Kaurismäki, Leningrad Cowboys Go America (1989), Total Balalaika Show (1993) and Leningrad Cowboys Meets Moses (1994).

The most recent movie is LA Without A Map (a.k.a. I Love L.A., which was released in the summer of 1999 and directed by Mika Kaurismäki.

rock patches
Best of Leningrad Cowboys CD Boxset - With Playing Cards

Links

Leningrad Cowboys: Biog.

Leningrad Cowboys Go America >> Leningrad Cowboys Meet Moses >> Total Balalaika Show >> Album Covers >> Aki Kaurismäki >> Kati Outinen >> Matti Pellonpää >> Jim Jarmusch

Leningrad Cowboys Wares:
Signed CDs

Those Were the Days (The Best of the Leningrad Cowboys) CD Boxset with Playing Cards

Leningrad Cowboys - 1917-1987 CD Album
The Aki Kaurismaki Collection - Leningrad Cowboys UK Dvd Set

Aki Kaurismäki Japanese 6 Dvd Boxset (incl. Go America, Meet Moses and Total Balalaika

Aki Kaurismäki Japanese Book

Leningrad Cowboys - Go America / Meet Moses / Total Balalaika Show Finnish Dvd Set

Leningrad Cowboys - Buena Vodka Social Club CD
Leningrad Cowboys Go America - CD Soundtrack
Leningrad Cowboys Go America - Chirashi Poster
Leningrad Cowboys Go America UK DVd
Leningrad Cowboys Go America - UK Video
Leningrad Cowboys Go America - US Video
Leningrad Cowboys Go America / Meet Moses - Japanese Dvd
Leningrad Cowboys - Go Space CD Album
Leningrad Cowboys - Happy Being Miserable CD Single
Leningrad Cowboys - Happy Together CD Album
Leningrad Cowboys - Happy Together 6 CD Boxset
Leningrad Cowboys Meet Moses Poster
Leningrad Cowboys - Global Balalaika Show Dvd
Leningrad Cowboys - Global Balalaika Show CD
Leningrad Cowboys - Go Wild CD Album
Leningrad Cowboys - Live in Prowinzz CD Album
Leningrad Cowboys Meet Moses - UK Dvd
Leningrad Cowboys Meet Moses - Promo Poster
Leningrad Cowboys - Merry Christmas Cartoon Book
Leningrad Cowboys - Mongolian Barbecue CD Album
Leningrad Cowboys - Mongolian Barbecue Promo Poster
Leningrad Cowboys - Monkey Groove CD Single
Leningrad Cowboys - No Sleep Til Mexico Tour Poster
Leningrad Cowboys - Ocean Gig, London Promo Postcard
Leningrad Cowboys - Official Ski Hat
Leningrad Cowboys - Sweet Home Mexico Book
Leningrad Cowboys - Terzo Mondo Promo CD Album
Leningrad Cowboys - Terzo Mondo CD Album
Leningrad Cowboys - These Boots CD Single
Leningrad Cowboys - Thru The Wire CD Single
Leningrad Cowboys - Total Balalaika Show UK Dvd
Leningrad Cowboys - Total Balalaika Show 2 CD Set
Leningrad Cowboys - Total Balalaika Show Dutch Video
Leningrad Cowboys - We Cum From Brooklyn CD Album

I Love LA (feat. Leningrad Cowboys) Movie Dvd
LA Without a Map (feat. Leningrad Cowboys) Movie Video

Finnish Dvds

Leningrad Cowboys posters available at Allposters.com
Advertise
Leningrad Cowboys Books and Dvds available @ amazon.com

Top of Page >> Search Site

Releases & Links

Leningrad Cowboys signed CDs here

Buy Dvd Treasures


Aki Kaurismäki Collection 02 - Leningrad Cowboys [Limited Collector's Edition]
[German 3 DVD Set, 2006]
Enlarge Image

Website design/enquiries: Lenin