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Last Updated: Monday, 22 May 2006, 11:10 GMT 12:10 UK
Finnish rockers 'not Satanists'
Lordi win the 2006 Eurovision song contest

Finnish Eurovision winners Lordi have been defended against claims of Satanism by their country's ambassador to the UK.

"This is entertainment," Jaakko Laajava told BBC Radio 4's Today programme. "Let's not take this too seriously."

"They have produced an album called The Devil Is A Loser and maybe that tells a little bit about this," he continued.

The mask-wearing hard rock band have been accused of promoting Satanism by some conservative Greek organisations.

We are all very thrilled and encouraged by this
Jaakko Laajava, Finnish ambassador
Their win "shows that people are seeking something to prop themselves on and fill their empty souls," said Archbishop Christodoulos of the Greek Orthodox Church in a sermon on Sunday.

The band's lead singer, also called Lordi, has addressed the complaints, insisting: "We are not Satanists. We are not devil-worshippers. This is entertainment."

First win

Finland has embraced the band since their Eurovision win in Athens on Saturday, despite earlier concerns that they would tarnish the country's reputation.

"We have not been really spectacularly successful in Eurovision before," said Ambassador Laajava, "and we are all very thrilled and encouraged by this."

The ambassador said he was comfortable with the image of Finland being portrayed by the heavy metal "monsters".

"There are other very successful heavy metal bands in Finland [who are] known also here in Britain - Nightwish, HIM, Rasmus and others.

"So there is some tradition in this area."

Saturday's ceremony marked Finland's first Eurovision victory. The country has finished in last place eight times.


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