Kari Tapio (born Kari Tapani Jalkanen, November 22, 1945, in Suonenjoki, Finland) is a popular Finnish schlager or "iskelmä" vocalist.
Tapio started his career in the 1960s in such small local bands as ER-Quartet and Jami & the Noisemakers. His first solo single, "Tuuli Kääntyköön" (Let the Wind Turn), appeared in 1972, but he spent most of the early decade working odd jobs in the music business, including that of snake wrangler for the successful pop singer Danny on his Snake, Rattle and Roll tour. He toured and recorded with the country-influenced band Aikapommi (Time Bomb) in 1973-1974, but his real breakthrough came in 1976 with the single "Laula Kanssain" (a Finnish translation of Al Martino's "Sing My Love Song"). His first gold record was another translated song from 1983, "Olen Suomalainen" ("I'm a Finn" from Toto Cutugno's "L'Italiano"), and this is the signature song that usually concludes Tapio's live performances. He also has written the lyrics to some of his hit songs, but mostly he is known as a vocal performer.
His popularity remained steady, and in the 21st century, he was often named the most popular schlager singer in Finland. In the 1990s he received six gold records, as well as one platinum for Myrskyn Jälkeen (After the Storm). Many of his songs have country influences, and he has performed Finnish versions of songs by Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, and Kris Kristofferson. His son, Jiri Jalkanen, is one of the founding members of the popular heavy metal band Stone. ~ JT Lindroos