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Kirka

Kirka during his last public performance in January 2007
Background information
Birth name Kirill Babitzin
Born September 22, 1950(1950-09-22)
Origin Helsinki, Finland
Died January 31, 2007 (aged 56) Helsinki, Finland
Genres Finnish rock
Hard rock (1986–1987)
Pop
Occupations singer
Years active 1962—2007
Associated acts Creatures
Islanders
Website Kirka.com in English

Kirill "Kirka" Babitzin (September 22, 1950 – January 31, 2007) was one of Finland's most famous popular musicians.

Contents

Biography

Kirill Babitzin was born in Helsinki in 1950 to a Russian emigrant family. He first got into music at the age of five when his grandmother gave him an accordion. He won an accordion competition at the age of ten, but soon ditched the squeezebox for rock and roll music. His first band was The Creatures, which he joined in 1964 assuming stage name Kirka.

Kirka got his big break in 1967 when he joined the band The Islanders, originally led by would-be pop stalwart Ilkka "Danny" Lipsanen, and went on to become a household name in dance halls and festivals all over Finland. Kirka also recorded with Blues Section. His trademark was to be his powerful, throaty voice; simultaneously shrill and soulful, it is instantly recognizable to generations of Finnish music lovers.

Several Babitzin siblings are established musicians in their own right. In 1978, Kirka released a duet album with sister Anna; the next year, another sister Marija ("Muska") joined in. Kirka's brother was popular rock musician Sammy Babitzin, who was killed in a car crash in 1973. Eerily, Sammy's signature hit Daada daada tells a story of high-speed automotive cruising.

Kirka represented Finland in Eurovision Song Contest 1984, finishing a strong ninth with the song Hengaillaan. Four years later, he got his greatest chart success with Surun pyyhit silmistäin, a melancholic pop-schlager. True to his rock'n'roll roots, however, he never fully appreciated this success, repeatedly citing 60's breakthrough Hetki lyö (orig. Beat The Clock by Gottehrer-Stroll) with The Islanders as his greatest achievement.

Babitzin was awarded the Emma award for best male singer twice, first in 1984 and then in 2000. He died suddenly on January 31, 2007 at his home of undisclosed acute illness. His widow Paula Nummela is a renowned jewellery designer.

Discography

Kirka Babitzin released 78 singles and almost 60 albums, including 15 collections. Kirka's album Surun pyyhit silmistäni (1988) became the biggest selling album in Finnish history; it has now been relegated to all-time third place.

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Albums

  • Kirka keikalla (1969)
  • Kirka (1969)
  • Saat kaiken (1971)
  • Nykyaikaa (1972)
  • Rautaa ja kettinkiä (1973)
  • Kirkan parhaita (1974)
  • Tiukka linja (1975)
  • Babitzinit konsertissa (1975)
  • Lauantaiyö (1976)
  • Kaksi puolta (1977)
  • Anna & Kirka (1978)
  • Kirkan parhaat (1979)
  • Kirka (1981)
  • Täytyy uskaltaa (1983)
  • Hengaillaan (gold, 1984)
  • Älä sano ei (1985)
  • Isot hitit (1985)
  • R.O.C.K. (gold, 1986)
  • The Spell (gold, 1987)
  • Surun pyyhit silmistäni (quadruple platinum, 1988)
  • Anna käsi (double platinum, 1989)
  • Iskelmäkansio (1989)
  • Parhaat, uudet versiot (1990)
  • Ota lähellesi (double platinum, 1990)
  • Kasvot peilissä (platinum, 1991)
  • Babitzin (1991)
  • Pyydä vain (gold, 1992)
  • Kirka (gold, 1994)
  • Tie huomiseen (gold, 1996)
  • Hetki lyö: 1967–1997 (platinum, 1997)
  • Mestarit Areenalla (triple platinum, 1999)
  • Suuri hetki (2000)
  • Sinut siinä nään (2002)
  • Elämääni eksynyt (2005)
  • 40 unohtumatonta laulua (2006)
  • The Best of Kirka (2007)

Sources

Preceded by
Ami Aspelund
with Fantasiaa
Finland in the Eurovision Song Contest
1984
Succeeded by
Sonja Lumme
with Eläköön elämä

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