Press release

IHME Helsinki Commission 2023 – rehearsals open to everyone begin

Chicago Boys Amateur Band members a group of people
Chicago Boys amateur band began its rehearsals on Monday 17 April and continues until 27 May. Image: Aman Askarizad.

Press Release 20.4.2023

Chicago Boys – While We Were Singing, They Were Dreaming invites everyone to join in this amateur band’s rehearsals on Saturdays for six weeks from 22 April to 27 May. The project initiated by Kurdish artist and musician Hiwa K in London in 2010 is being carried out in Helsinki by a diverse group of people. There are musicians and non-musicians, who are united by the desire to think about the links between the economy and changes in the environment, and their effects on everyday life.

The band members choose the music to be played and the locations for rehearsals. It is important for the artist that the stories and experiences of those taking part in the work are heard. Hiwa K has said:

The capitalist system always tries to make you a “star”, but I said no, it’s good for me to be a “half-moon”.

Besides Helsinki, he is simultaneously staging Chicago Boys with local people in his hometown of Sulaymaniyah in Iraqi Kurdistan, and will join the Helsinki band as a regular member in the last week of the Commission in May.

In the band’s open rehearsals an organic space is created for discussion and music in various public places in Helsinki whose fate is threatened, for example, by privatization and neoliberal values. The first public rehearsal will be at Lapinlahti Hospital from 13:00 to 16:00 on 22 April.

According to IHME Helsinki Executive Director and curator Paula ToppilaChicago Boys brings together all the values that are important to IHME: ecological and social sustainability; experiencing and doing things together; encouraging change; and creating change.

In a world filled with crises many people feel the need to get together, to get to know each other and listen to each other’s stories. Chicago Boys offers that opportunity by bringing people together to play the music of their choice in a large or small group; besides the core group, the public can also participate in band rehearsals,

Toppila says.

In Helsinki, you can freely join in the amateur band’s public rehearsals, with or without your instrument. The places and times of the rehearsals open to everyone will be posted on the IHME Helsinki website. The work culminates in the last public rehearsal at Stoa Cultural Centre on Saturday, 27 May.


More information: Executive Director, curator Paula Toppila,, +358 45 1240096. Press photos: Communications Planner Saara Moisio,, +358 45 235008.

In 2023–2025, our work is made possible by the Saastamoinen Foundation, Kone Foundation and the Abakanowicz Arts and Culture Charitable Foundation.


Press release PDF IHME Helsinki Commission 2023 Lapinlahti Hospital