Sundays 8pm to 11pm on Radio 2

New Episodes at CBC Music

New Episodes at CBC Music

Need more Strombo Show? Head over to our page on CBC Music for new episodes, playlists and video extras.

CBC Music Past Shows



The Punk Syndrome: Documentary Follows A Finnish Punk Rock Band Made Up Of Four Middle Aged Guys Wit
February 5, 2013
submit to reddit


Well, in many ways, it doesn't get more punk rock than this - four guys on stage railing against the establishment and the discrimination they've faced.

The four guys are a band from Finland called 'Pertti Kurikan Nimipäivät', and they're featured in a music documentary called 'The Punk Syndrome'.

Oh, and the four guys are all middle aged. And they all have learning disabilities.

The film was made by Finnish filmmakers Jukka Kärkkäinen and Jani-Petteri Passi, and became a surprise hit on the festival circuit.

It follows the band as they start playing together, record their first single, rehearse, tour Europe and return to Finland as national heroes.

Here's the trailer.

The band's founder Pertti Kurikka has cerebral palsy. Two other members have down syndrome. And they all have a love of music.

In many ways, they're like a lot of other bands - big dreams and big egos, arguments and in-fighting. But at the same time, they're there for each other.

As writes, "Amidst the fallouts there is a warmth and solidarity, as well as a shared passion for punk music and live performance."

On-stage, "the band truly thrive. Through their intensity and fierce, growled vocals, they command the respect they deserve from their audience."

The Guardian has an exclusive clip of the band in concert. You can watch that here.

They have something else in common. They all know what it's like to live in shared residential homes - an experience which fuels their lyrics and their frustration. writes "the band's simple but emotionally raw lyrics and rough punk sensibility are a form of empowerment and a statement of angry protest."

the-punk-syndrome-documentary-follows-punk-rock-band-made-up-of-four-middle-aged-guys-with-learning-disabilities-feature2.jpg Ultimately, the film explores what it's like to live day to day with a learning disability, as well as attitudes toward the disabled.

In a review, describes a scene in which Pertti talks about "how he was abandoned as a child and how he once considered jumping in front of a Metro train."

It reminds us, the review says, "that deep existential gloom is not beyond the reach of anyone."

It also describes two other band members - Kari and Toni.

Kari wants to get married and have children, while Toni has trouble "expressing his true feelings to a girl living in his home who sadly has eyes for another."

As says "you can't help but be drawn in by the band's frank discussions about love, music, death, sex and friendship."

Here's an interview with the band, and their thoughts on the film.

Perhaps, the website The List sums it up best, writing...

"There's nothing more anti-establishment as four disabled and fiery individuals literally sticking it to the institutions which they've been surrounded by, making The Punk Syndrome a unique and touching depiction of some truly passionate outsider artists."

Related stories

How A Young Man With Down Syndrome Touched The Lives Of A Major League Baseball Team

35 Years Ago Today, The Sex Pistols Came To An End; Here's A Classic Chat Between Johnny Rotten & George

Did Punk Rock Begin At A Cinema In Peru? These Psychos Think So


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Submission Policy

Note: The CBC does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comments, you acknowledge that CBC has the right to reproduce, broadcast and publicize those comments or any part thereof in any manner whatsoever. Please note that comments are moderated and published according to our submission guidelines.