Mahalia Jacksonin musiikin ja hänen gospellaulutyylinsä saapuminen Suomeen 1950–1960 luvuilla


  • Nina Öhman


Mahalia Jackson (1911-1972), “The World’s Greatest Gospel Singer”, broke path for the worldwide popularity of African American gospel music. Her European concert tours never reached Finland, but since the 1950s, Finnish audiences have been able to listen to her music via recordings, radio, film and other media. This article explores the ways in which Jackson’s music came to Finland in the 1950s and 1960s. Furthermore, the article shows how the early marketing of her records and music critics’ excited reception of her gospel vocal expression sought to shape local audiences’ listening experiences and appreciation for the artistic merit of her music. This article is based on a study of various sources including advertisements, music reviews, correspondence and other archival materials, recordings, Jackson’s performance at the 1958 Newport Jazz Festival and the film Jazz on a Summer’s Day (1959). This article shows that when Mahalia Jackson’s music came to Finland, her gospel vocal expression was recognized for its powerful spirituality and emotional impact on listeners. Yet the ways in which her music was presented to Finnish audiences was often mystifying, decontextualized and guided by the interests of music industry actors. This limited the ability of local listeners to understand the cultural and historical meanings of her gospel vocal expression. At the same time, however, the enthusiasm and admiration demonstrated by music critics paved the way for the enduring influence of Mahalia Jackson’s music in Finland.





Öhman, N. (2024). Mahalia Jacksonin musiikin ja hänen gospellaulutyylinsä saapuminen Suomeen 1950–1960 luvuilla. Musiikki, 54(1).