Mauritius-born musician Gilbert Kuppusami has traveled around the world and played in the biggest cities of the world from Paris to Shanghai. To him, Tampere is the best city in the world to live in.
Wait a minute? We Tampere folks, of course, think this is the best place to live in, but someone who comes from a warm country and has been around the globe…
– To me, Tampere is the art city of Finland. The music scene here is very active and lively. I couldn’t imagine it would be anything like this before I came here. I thought that I’d have to go to Helsinki to be able to work as a musician, but I didn’t.
– Here in Tampere there are a lot of musicians and possibilities to work together. There are also many venues to play live music. Klubi, G Live, Vastavirta, Paapan Kapakka, Plevna, Teerenpeli, Dam, Ruby’s & Fellas, TTT-Klubi, Kujakolli, Telakka… There are also audiences for almost all kinds of music and I really hope it stays that way.
Gilbert knows what he is talking about. The 48-year-old Mauritius-born drummer and singer has been a musician for all his life. He has played around the world, for instance in the States, South Africa, Singapore, Thailand, Australia and France. He has also played with different groups and shared the stage with many talented and also famous musicians, like Police’s Andy Summers.
From Shanghai to Finland
Before coming to Finland Gilbert spent a good while in Shanghai.
– Many people see China just as a boring communist country, but in Shanghai there are a lot of international music and business people from all over the world and the music scene is huge. There are probably the best stages where I have ever played, he says.
In Shanghai Gilbert also met his Finnish wife with whom he has two daughters. Family reasons made them move to Finland of 2019. In Shanghai Gilbert had already met Pauli Hanhiniemi who had promised to help him get started in the music business in Finland.
– Pauli was also true to his word. I came to Tampere in February in 2019 and met right away a lot of people and musicians, was playing in jam sessions and touring with Pauli. We went to Lapland and I fell totally in love with its nature!
During his time in Tampere Gilbert has played and recorded with many local artists like Pekko Käppi, Lassi Valtonen, Timo Kahilainen, Dave Lindholm, and, of course, Pauli Hanhiniemi. He has also his own band Gilbert K Triologik.
– I also play drums in Jagged Edged Bone ja sing in Dumb Stuff Band.
Besides playing in music clubs, Gilbert has performed at weddings, birthday parties, and other private occasions.
In 2021 he participated in the Voice of Finland competition, which got him national recognition.
– It has helped me to get more gigs and that was what I had hoped for. Korona time was tough for all of us in the music business.
Nature, good food and freedom
In Tampere Gilbert lives in Kalkku with his family. He sees Tampere as a good place to live.
– I just love this city. The nature, the lakes, the riverside, the parks, and the old buildings make this a great environment to live in. The city is just the right size and it’s easy to get around here. And if you want to go into the woods, you can get there really quickly.
Gilbert appreciates also the restaurant scene in Tampere.
– I like to cook a lot myself, but if I want to go out to eat, there are various foods and many good restaurants from which to choose.
People often wonder how Gilbert can like Tampere and Finland, considering he comes from a warm place like the Isle of Mauritius. But the climate is just one thing, there are other things that matter and are more important.
Gilbert sees that Finnish people don’t always quite understand how great a country they live in.
– I’ve traveled around the world enough to know that people do not enjoy this kind of freedom and equality in many countries as people do in Finland. Naturally, there are problems everywhere, but overall this is a free, democratic country with good public services.
Text: Tiina Raatikainen
Photo: Gilbert Kuppusami photo album