Friday, December 8, 2023

Ilkka Kanerva and Paula Koivuniemi’s romance is featured in new music – Surprised Elina Kanerva downloads the straight words: “I expected that…”


The musical, which will be performed in a cool autumn, brings back the romance of years past between the minister and the Iskelema legend.

The musical Paula!, about the life and career of Iskelema legend Paula Koivunimi (b. 1947), will be performed next fall at the Rauma Theatre.

The show was written by director Otto Kanerva together with actress Kaisa Kuikkeniemi and pianist-composer Easa Nieminen, also known from the music program Bumatsibam.

The stage also deals with the interpersonal relationships of the Koivunemi. An important one was the romance with the legend of domestic politics Ilka Kanerva (collectively, 1948–2022), which lasted for a few years at the turn of the 1980s–90s.

The character of the coalition hero, who served as Minister of the Chancellery of the Council of State at the time of the annexation, can thus also be seen on the stage of Rauma’s theatre.

Koivuniemi and Kanerva also hang out together on the wooden terrace of palace parties.

Koivuniemi and Kanerva also hang out together on the wooden terrace of palace parties. Photo: Ari Ojla / Lehtikuva

The casting also reached the ears of Kanerv’s widow, Elina Kanerv. Iltalehti was the first to report about it.

Elina Kanerva, contacted by Ilta-Sanomi, says she first heard about the whole musical from a journalist in Iltalehti.

– I had never heard such music before.

Thus Kanerva did not even know that her late husband was performing on stage.

– If he appears in a musical like this, I’d love to be contacted about it. Now that Ilkka is no more.

He says that now this matter is no longer relevant.

That’s why Kanerv is not going to take any measures.

– At this point, I won’t be in touch with anything anymore. I’ll let it be, he summarizes.

Some 30 years later, Elena Kanereva also represented with her husband.

Some 30 years later, Elena Kanereva also represented with her husband. Photo: Antti Hämälainen

Kanerva and Koivunemi have never met.

Ilka and I went to his concert. But even then we were only in the audience.

Heather doesn’t remember the year.

– But it’s been a while… Paula then had a big tour, and she performed in Turku.

Ilkka Kanerva and Paula Koivuniemi divorced in the early 1990s. In Moniotelija’s biography written by journalist Evelina Talviti (WSOY, 2006), Kanarv states that “Paula was the woman of my life”.

In the book Kanerva says that she met a star in 1966 already on the dance stage. After the romance faded, the two remained friends until Kanerva’s death.

Elina Kanerva also emphasized that she has a positive attitude towards Koivunemi.

– No doubt about it, I have absolutely nothing against Paula. It has nothing to do with this music!

Ilka Kanerva died on April 14, 2022 from a rapidly progressing serious illness. According to Ilta-Sanomi, Kanerv had cancer.

Kanerva served as the Member of Parliament continuously from 1975 until his death. She is remembered not only for her achievements as Minister of Transport, Labor and Foreign Affairs, but also for her many women’s exploits.

However, Ilkka and Elina Kanerva (née Kiiko) have been together since 1999. They married in 2019.

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