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Mauri Antero Numminen

Born March 12, 1940, Somero

Student at the University of Helsinki 1960–67 (philosophy, linguistics and sociology, as well as Inuit and Bantu languages, folk poetry, economics, ethnography, Finno-Ugrian languages, astronomy and politics)

Musician, author, cultural all-rounder
Record producer 1970–79, Love Records
Chairman 1997–2000, Finland’s Beer Society

The works of M. A. Numminen

Finland Prize 1993
Swedish-Finnish Cultural Foundation Cultural Prize 1997
The Alexis Kivi Society’s Esko award 2005
Honorary PhD 2001, Åbo Akademi University
Honorary PhD 2014, University of Helsinki


Photo: Dex Viihde Agency
Written by Mauri Antero Numminen, Juha Merimaa and Olli Siitonen
Translated by Matthew Billington

Singing about Vulvas

M.A. Numminen and a banjo in 1987. Photo from Wikipedia Commons.

The recording career of M.A. Numminen began when he was still a student. His first self-funded work was recorded in the attic of the Hämäläis-Osakunta student nation.

Numminen says that national recognition came as a surprise. Afterwards it is difficult to believe that attention seeking was not the conscious goal of an artist meowing about vulvas and horses.

His role as a national provocateur was meant to be temporary.

“I was giving some serious thought to embarking on an academic career.”

His interests would have lain in the conjunction of sociology and linguistics, sociolinguistics. At the time it was a new discipline.

He still regrets dropping his studies on statistics.

“There is always work for someone with a master’s degree in statistics. A statistician can spend part of the year teaching and use the rest on music, books and movies.”

Fred Karlsson, emeritus professor in general linguistics at the University of Helsinki, thinks being a professor might just have suited Numminen.

“A researcher needs creativity, and Numminen has no shortage of that.”

This article was part of a story written by Juha Merimaa on M.A. Numminen for the University magazine in 2013. Juha Merimaa, “Moderni ihminen” (‘Modern person’), University Magazine 3/2013.

  • M. A. Numminen & Jani Uhlenius - Jenkka hevosen puhdistamisesta (’Jenkka about cleaning a horse’), Vastavirta, Tampere on October 10, 2010 (video by Jyrki Kallio).


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