Mikko Sarjanen
Humanist of the day

Mikko Sarjanen

For Mikko Sarjanen, singer-rapper in the bands Atomirotta and Notkea Rotta, studying Finnish literature opened the door to the world of literary culture. During his student days, his music hobby became his work and university became a hobby. Nevertheless, Sarjanen vows to complete his Master’s thesis – traveling the path to becoming a humanities scholar has already proved worthwhile.

Mikko Sarjanen

Mikko Heikki Sarjanen
Born January 16, 1975

Undergraduate 1998– (Finnish literature), University of Helsinki

Singer and musician in the band Atomirotta 2014–
Rapper and musician in the band Notkea Rotta 2001–

Storeman, binder, chatterbox, CC Kalenteripalvelu Oy 2001–15

Atomi-rotta discography:
Atomirotta I (LP/CD) 2014

Notkea Rotta discography:
Pöhinää (‘Speed’) (CD-single) 2001
Panokset piippuun, pöhinät pönttöön (‘Ammo in the pipe, speed in the head’)(LP/CD) 2002
Kaupungin Vauhdissa (‘City speed’)(EP) 2004
Itä Meidän (‘Our East’)(LP/CD) 2005
Kontula - Koh Phangan All Night Long (LP/CD) 2007
Notkea Maa (‘Supple land’)(LP/CD) 2010
Notkea Rotta (‘Supple rat’) (LP/CD) 2012

Eastern Helsinki Prize 2012, as a member of the group Notkea Rotta

Photo: Juuso Westerlund
Written by Mikko Sarjanen (Riitta-Ilona Hurmerinta, ed.)
Translated by Matthew Billington

Music has been my passion for as long as I can remember, and as a toddler I pounded my Gran’s pots and bowls to pieces. I was in a special music stream at primary and lower-secondary school. At upper-secondary school in the Helsinki suburb of Laajasalo, I drummed in the school choir and boogied in women’s clothes on stage at the school’s spring concert. I quit classical piano at some stage, when the usual story of beer, hanging out in town and the opposite sex started to interest me as a teenager. I played the drums in punk bands, hanged around with a group of graffiti artists and listened to rap. At the beginning of the 1990s, I got the bug for collecting vinyl records, which deepened my hobby and broadened my range, and in 1993 the Roskilde rock festival blew my mind – there was no turning back.

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The Classics Examination (2.5 credits), which was part of basic studies for Finnish literature, involved a stack of 36 books, and it really shook me up. It revolutionised my thinking and my conceptions about literature and the world in general. It finally woke me to the reality of the university. Literary culture began to issue into my world, where Mario Puzo’s the Godfather was the only classic to be found among the three or so books standing between the metres of records and Tex Willer comics.

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