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Barbara Helsingius facts for kids

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Barbara Helsingius-Koski
Personal information
Birth name Barbara Christina Elisabeth Helsingius
Born 27 September 1937
Helsinki, Finland
Died 9 March 2017(2017-03-09) (aged 79)
Espoo, Finland
Spouse(s) Henry William Koski; 2 daughters
Sport Fencing

Barbara Christina Elisabeth Helsingius-Koski (née Helsingius; 27 September 1937 – 9 March 2017) was a Swedish-speaking Finnish singer, poet, and Olympic fencer.


She participated at the 1960 Summer Olympics in foil fencing. Trained as a gym teacher, she took her masters in pedagogy at Stanford University (1963). Interested in American art and folk music, she began to record, and her first release, Barbara (1966), was a collection of American folk songs, translated to Finnish.

She became well known internationally, and was a member of Visens venner [no] in Norway, of Visans Vänner [sv] in Helsinki, and Yrkestrubadurernas Förening [sv] in Sweden, part of the Svenska visakademien [sv] (1999; its only Finn), and the joint Nordic cultural organisation NordVisa [sv].

From 1968–1975, she lived in Oslo with her husband, Henry William "Hank" Koski, a diplomat at the U.S. embassy. She was the mother of two daughters. Her family lives in Espoo, Finland.


Helsingius died following a long illness on 9 March 2017 in Espoo, Finland at the age of 79.


  • Hambestipendiet [sv], Sweden (1989)
  • Norsk-finsk kulturpris (1993)
  • Nils Ferlin-prisen, (Sweden; 1994)
  • Trubadurprisen (1994)
  • NordVisa-statuetten ("Liv"; 1995)
  • Pro Cultura, Espoo, Finland (1995)


  • Vill du visor min vän? ISBN: 9789515001726
  • Kanske en visa (Schildts) ISBN: 9789515004727
  • Eino Leino, sångarens visa, poetry collection
  • Songs Finland Sings, Warner/Chappel Music Finland (2000)


  • Barbara (1966; American folk songs in Finnish)
  • Det var en gång (1977; own songs)
  • Olipa kerran (1978; Finnish version of the above)
  • Speiling (1981; Finnish songs in Norwegian)
  • Barbaras blandade (1981; own songs)
  • Kahlaajatyttö (1982; musical settings of the Finnish poets Aale Tynni and Aila Meriluoto)
  • Fra Barbara med kjærlighet (1982; Finnish songs in Norwegian)
  • Reflection. Songs from Finland (1984; Finnish songs in English)
  • Drøm og bekjennelse (1986; her own and Finnish songs in Norwegian)
  • Spegling (1986; Finnish-Swedish songs)
  • Rakkaudella (1986; Finnish version of above)
  • Tuulen niityillä (1992; Nordic songs in Finnish)
  • Sånt är vårt liv (1996; own and Finnish songs in Swedish)
  • Songs Finland Sings (2002; double CD of Finnish poems and songs, classics and songs which she translated to English. Contains 30 artists, including the Serena choir)
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