Yhteystiedot Kansan Musiikki Juminkeko Kuhmo Sotkamo Suomussalmi Uhtua Kepa Haikola Suomeksi Paruski In English

Pohjois-Pohjanmaan Liitto

Performers of Sommelo 2009 are:

Jari Komulainen

Jari Komulainen took his Masters degree in music at the Sibelius Academy folk music department in 2001. He plays mouth harps (harmonicas) and accordions of various sizes. Komulainen has been the musical leader of the Spelarit ensemble that was awarded the Finnish folk music champion prize. As a musician, he has been occupied by theatrical, folk dance, pop and light music, and he also works as a teacher in a number of institutes of music education.


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Albotanka play Moldovan and Romanian folk music with 3 violins, 2 accordions, a double-bass, a guitar, a horn, a clarinet, drums, exotic heavy cymbals and a traditional Moldovan pan flute, topped up with the strong and expressive voice of the vocal soloist of the ensemble, Alla Ivanov-Popovich.

Kuva: Albotanka

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Photo: Albotanka

Anna tulla

Anna tulla is a band from Petrozavodsk, singing in Finnish, Vepsian and 3 dialects of Karelian - Livvi, Lude and Karelian Proper. Anna tulla’s musical style can be defined as dance and electronic music. The band currently consists of 3 girls: Darja Kuznetsova, Julia Maksimova and Elena Pavlova.

Kuva: Anna tulla

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Photo: Anna tulla

Arja Kastinen

The art of Arja Kastinen, a masterly kantele player, is meditative and based largely on improvisation, as it was with the Karelian masters of olden times. She says: "The music grows out of silence and time. No planning, analysing or even remembering is needed, as one should have such a good command of the technique that it does not have to be thought of. As the fingers run on the instrument by themselves, the player concentrates on listening and is taken over by the music.”

Kuva: AJ. Savolainen

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Photo: AJ. Savolainen

Arnold Chiwalala & Co

SiSi - We and Our Similarity

A graduate from the world famous Bagamoyo Art School of Tanzania, Arnold Chiwalala played the kantele for the first time when he visited Finland in 1987. He was inspired by the sound of the instrument and after subsequent studies of this instrument in the Sibelius Academy; he himself now teaches the kantele and is preparing to achieve a doctoral degree in music. He plays his original chizentele music on the kantele, combining Tanzanian rhythms in his playing.

Arnold Chiwalala: drums, kantele, vocals
Aliko Mwakanjuki: drums, dance, vocals
Menard Mponda: drums, dance, vocals
Jari Komulainen: accordion

Kuva: Jorma Airola

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Photo: Jorma Airola

Elena and Nikolai Olshakov

Elena and Nikolai Olshakov, a musical couple from Uhtua, perform Russian and Karelian songs. Accordionist Nikolai and singer Elena work as music teachers and are studying in the Petrozavodsk State Conservatory. They have performed in the Republic of Karelia, in Finland and Sweden.

Kuva: Elena ja Nikolai Olshakov

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Freija's versions of Finnish folk songs and tunes are fresh, full of feeling and swing. The repertory consists of both traditional material from different times and music, composed by the group itself.

Maija Karhinen-Ilo: vocals, accordion, kantele, recorder, harp
Matti Laitinen: guitar, vocals
Lassi Logrén: violin, nyckelharpa, vocals
Arto Anttila: bass, vocals


Kuva: Freija

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Hilja Grönfors trio

Hilja Grönfors is one of the leading interpreters of Romany music in Finland. She is a master singer, who has systematically gathered the songs of Finnish gypsies, the main themes of which vary from the joys and grieves of the heart to the roaming of horse-driven carriages. All of this is very familiar to Grönfors, who grew up in the typical wandering lifestyle of the Romanies of the 1950s.

Hilja Grönfors: vocals
Valtteri Bruun: guitar
Kiureli Sammallahti: accordion

Hilja Grönfors

Kuva: Sauli Heikkilä

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Photo: Sauli Heikkilä

Ilona Korhonen Ensemble

The Ilona Korhonen Ensemble is a group of professional musicians and students, which will perform a choral work by Ilona Korhonen, titled “Tarkka pää, tania mieli”, and based on poems by Larin Paraske. The work is based on Ingrian Karelian traditional polyphony, characterised by a strong usage of voice, but nonetheless also allowing more subtle nuances.

The Ilona Korhonen Ensemble: Riikka Ahokas, Hanni Autere, Helmi Camus, Anna Fält, Heidi Haapoja, Charlotta Hagfors, Emilia Kallonen, Maija Kauhanen, Amanda Kauranne, Ilona Korhonen, Emmi Kuittinen, Pia Rask, Juulia Salonen, Ulla Silvennoinen, Anni Tolvanen and Nora Vaura.

Ilona Korhonen Ensemble

Kuva: AJ. Savolainen

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Photo: AJ. Savolainen

Lassi Logrén

Under foot!

In the concert titled ‘Under foot’, you will hear both new and traditional dance tunes played on the violin, jouhikko and nyckelharpa.

Lassi Logrén is a freelance musician from Helsinki. Along with solo performances, he plays in the Freija, Kouon frouva, Ilona&Huvina and Värttinä ensembles. He is also a teacher of the violin, jouhikko and nyckelharpa.

Kuva: Lassi Logren

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Liisa Matveinen

Lamenting is a universal form of tradition, usually performed by women, also called keeners. In the concert “Singing with voice and lament”, we shall hear laments, runic singing and music composed by Liisa Matveinen. The singer Liisa Matveinen is also a member of the Niekku, Sudenaika, Hedningarna and Tallari ensembles.

Liisa Matveinen

Kuva: Klaus von Matt

Photo: Klaus von Matt

Maari Kallberg & Co

My Viena Karelia, part 2

This work is on the borderline of a concert and a theatrical performance. The personal experiences of the performer enter into a dialog with the experiences of the ethnologist explorer A. O. Väisänen, resulting in Maari's and Väisänen’s joint trip to Viena Karelia. During the studies for her doctoral degree in music, Maari Kallberg has become profoundly conversant with the Viena Karelian culture, both in her own expeditions and by studying the materials, collected by A. O. Väisänen from the Viena Karelia.

Maari Kallberg & Co: Maari Kallberg, Lotta Hagfors, Mira Törmälä , Sonja Korkman, Juulia Salonen, Ulla Silvennoinen 

Script: Maari Kallberg & Ilari Nummi
Staging: Ilari Nummi
Sound: Marko Myöhänen

Maari Kallberg

Kuva: AJ Savolainen

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Photo: AJ Savolainen

Maria Kalaniemi & Olli Varis

Maria Kalaniemi is a top international musician and an original composer. This accordion master is accompanied on stage by the diverse folk music professional Olli Varis, who has played the guitar in the groups Trepaanit, the Helsinki mandoliners and Värttinä. In Sommelo, the duo will perform music from Kalaniemi's last album "Bellow Poetry", characterised as well-matured and deeply meditative music with beautiful melodic lines: at the same time, totally Finnish and global.

Maria Kalaniemi

Kuva: Eero Grundström

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Photo: Eero Grundström

Outi Pulkkinen

The temptations of Väinämöinen - runosongs from Viena Karelia, music onthe jouhikko and voice improvisations.

In her concert, Outi Pulkkinen sings tales about Väinämöinen from Viena Karelia, plays old jouhikko tunes and improvises. Pulkkinen is well acquainted with the tradition, but is also an artist who experiments with her voice, allowing great changes in dynamics and styles. Pulkkinen has applied herself in free improvisation, conceptions on the time of the past and aesthetics through the epic songs of the Kalevala and jouhikko tunes, with the objective of taking her doctoral degree at the Sibelius Academy.

Kuva: Antero Karjalainen

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Photo: Antero Karjalainen


Piirpauke - a band combining folk, ethno and jazz music, was established by a pioneer of world music, Sakari Kukko in 1974. Along with Kukko, the present line-up of Piipauke consists, of musicians, well-known from the front-row ensembles of Finland: Eerik Siikasaari, Rami Eskelinen and Jukka Orma, and the Senegalese percussion virtuoso Ismaila Sane.

Kuva: Vesa Kaikkonen

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Photo: Vesa Kaikkonen


The folk music veterans Heikki Laitinen, Hannu Saha and Rauno Nieminen of the primitive music orchestra, Primo, have promoted Kalevala music since the late 1970s. After three decades, these three doctors of music still have the original meagre tonal world of their instruments as their guiding star.

Kuva: Olli Kangas

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Photo: Olli Kangas


“Puhti is crazily fussing around, with moments of sensitiveness, joyful and pompous co-operation of a dancer and a musician.” The seamless co-operation between Anne-Mari Kivimäki and Reetta-Kaisa Iles is definitely admirable and the performances of their duo are full of situational improvisation, humour and relaxed interplay with the audience.

Anne-Mari Kivimäki: accordion, vocals
Reetta-Kaisa Iles: dance, vocals


Kuva: AJ Savolainen

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Photo: AJ Savolainen


Puupiika is an ensemble of seven, with a fresh and bold approach to its repertoire, which brings forth strong feelings ranging from melancholy ballads to menacing enchantments and merry dancing polskas. “Puupiika" may be translated as “The maid of the woods”, and indeed, some of the lyrics and music by Salla Seppä relate stories about this maid.

Salla Seppä vocals
Kati Kokkonen: woodwinds, mouth harp, vocals
Mammu Koskelo: kantele, vocals
Jukka Kyllönen: percussion, vocals
Vesa Pisto: bass
Raisa Päivinen: viulin, jouhikko, vocals
Markus Rantanen: guitar, didgeridoo, vocals

Kuva: Ritva-Liisa Virtanen

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Photo: Ritva-Liisa Virtanen

Seesjärvi Group

The Seesjärvi Group carries forth the best traditions of the Paatene choir, which has made a couple of Karelian songs known to virtually all Finns during its existence of several decades. Over the past years, this group has also produced new songs, telling about its home region of Seesjärvi.

Kuva: Markku Nieminen

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Photo: Markku Nieminen


Set’Akat is a singing trio of top folk music performers, Sari Kaasinen, Mari Kaasinen and Karoliina Kantelinen (from Värttinä and Otawa), first established as a working tool for Sari Kaasinen’s artistic doctoral degree, but continuing its existence ever since. Be prepared for intensive polyphonic interpretations and sensitive solos.


Kuva: Leena Virtanen

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Photo: Leena Virtanen


Shipovnik is a rock group, established in Petrozavodsk in 2007 by experienced musicians, three of whom have received awards in various competitions. The music of Shipovnik is based on traditional rock’n’roll, blues and English beat music, but the songs are sung in Russian.

Kuva: Shipovnik

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Photo: Shipovnik

Taisto Reimaluoto, Tomi Rikkola &
Tuomo Kuure

The moon is a heel treaded down to a patch

Taisto Reimaluoto puts on a monologue, based on “Dances of the Obscure” by the Finnish poet Pentti Saarikoski. The actor speaks, sings, dances, crawls on all fours; gesticulates in languages, banters with expressions.

This is life
“This is life” is a monologue, dramatised by Kristian Smeds and Taisto Reimaluoto from the novel “God is beauty” by Paavo Rintala, depicting life in the Ostrobothnian agrarian community in the 1950s.

Dramaturgy, direction and acting: Taisto Reimaluoto
Music, sounds and arrangements: Tomi Rikkola
Musicians: Tomi Rikkola and Tuomo Kuure

Kuva: Miska Reimaluoto

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Photo: Miska Reimaluoto

Taito Hoffrén & Markus Ketola

Taito Hoffrén is a singer, musician and a composer, who received his training at the folk music department of the Sibelius Academy. He has profoundly studied the runic songs of Arhippa Perttunen and has performed them in two concert projects. Hoffrén is the artistic director of the Sommelo festival.

Markus Ketola has played the drums in the modern jazz orchestra “UMO” since 1993. He is not only a drummer, but also a composer who has studied both the piano and classical percussion and has worked within various musical genres. Ketola received his doctoral degree in music at the Sibelius Academy in 2007.

Taito Hoffrén

Kuva: AJ Savolainen

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Photo: AJ Savolainen

Tomoya Nakai

Tomoya Nakai is a skilful koto player, who has roots in the tradition but plays also contemporary music.

Kuva: Tomoya Nakai

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The Uhtua Music School Orchestra

The repertoire of the Uhtua Music School Orchestra consists of both modern music and arrangements of Karelian folk dances. The orchestra actively performs in its home town. The conductor of the orchestra is Nikolai Olshakov, teacher of the Uhtua Music School.

Kuva: Uhtuan musiikkikoulun orkesteri

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Virsukipinä is a folk music group of five musicians, having their roots in Kuhmo. The group was established in 2007 by Minna Seilonen, who also makes the original arrangements for the group.

Minna Seilonen
Soile Kukkonen
Leena Ylönen
Mikko Ylönen
Saara Limnell

Kuva: Virsukipinä

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Vuonnisen veto

“Vuonnisen veto” is a duo of Vasily Yermakov and his wife Nina. Vasily was born in the Viena Karelian village of Vuonninen and the duo is very well known in its home region, where it is always welcomed to perform at local festivities.

Kuva: Vuonnisen veto

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Festival Programme Sommelo 2009
(PDF, 6,5 Mt 24.6.2009)