Every year, one performing group is chosen as the Band of the Year for Kaustinen Folk Music Festival. The purpose of the nomination is to promote a group that has excelled in their folk music endeavors and shown qualities such as outstanding skill, fresh approach or long-running career. The Band of the Year is announced at the annual Folklandia cruise in January, and the nomination is very highly regarded in the field of folk music.

Here are the Bands of the Year throughout history.

Band of the Year 2016 – Introduction


The Band of the Year 2016 at Kaustinen is world music band Piirpauke who recently celebrated their 40th anniversary. Led by the Kuhmo-born Sakari Kukko, the band was an undisputed pioneer in the world music genre even before such a genre was born. Piirpauke unabashedly combines flavors from various types of folk music with other music genres. The meaning of the band’s name stems from an eastern Finnish dialect word meaning ’noise’ or ’commotion’.

Piirpauke was first put together in 1974, and their first hit was a recording of Konevitsan kirkonkellot (Churchbells of Konevitsa), and since then the band has frequently made it to top radio playlists in Finland as well as abroad. Sakari Kukko, a founding member of the band, has played in Youssou N’Dour’s Etoile Dakar band and featured on the albums of Kingston Wall and Amorphis. The band’s current members are all at the top of Finnish jazz scene. You can also discern influences of western art music in the band’s repertoire: their 2010 album Koli includes music from Sibelius and Tchaikovsky.

In the course of their long career, both other musicians and the audience have maintained an unwavering adoration of Piirpauke. Throughout Finland, the band has toured countless concert venues, clubs and rock festivals. Behind their enduring popularity lies their ever-changing, yet uniformly unique music. The mental, still landscape of the eastern region of Kainuu combined with a certain commotion always merges into surprising and masterly streams of rhythm and melody.

piirpauke-Maarit Kytöharju

(c) Maarit Kytöharju