2016: Onni Rajaniemi, Hermanni Turkki, Slack Bird
Onni Rajaniemi is a singer-songwriter from Helsinki. His songs combine traditional Finnish folk music and the heritage of original English language folk. His music also carries a wealth of influence from all the music he’s listened to in his life. Onni sings and plays the guitar, telling stories from old folk songs as well as his own songs. The world he depicts is sometimes small, sometimes large, scary and safe, light and dark. Onni has an unassuming, fresh and vivid musical touch, which also brought him the first prize of the traditional series of the Konsta Jylhä Competition in Kaustinen in the summer 2015.
Onni Rajaniemi – guitar, vocals
Hermanni Turkki is a group of bandits from Helsinki, with the type of folk commotion that raises eyebrows and moods on streets as well as on festival stages. The band plays Finnish folk with a rough, energetic touch and interesting instruments. Hermanni Turkki’s songs are made to be sang in the streets and hence the band’s sound has a story-telling, theatrical element to it. Hermanni Turkki also knows the power of singing together and frolicking melody riffs. This street orchestra has released two albums, and they have what it takes to make your eyes water and feet jump with joy.
Joonatan Turkki – story-telling, accordion, harmonica
Tanieli Kainulainen – ukulele, melodica, harmonica, vocals
Topi Vanhatalo – cajo, vocals
Johan Östman – guitar, vocals
Heikki Turppo – mandolin, clarinet, vocals
Markus Kankkonen – double bass, vocals
Tuukka Perhoniemi – percussion, vocals
Slack Bird is a folk artist – or a band if need be – from Jyväskylä. This original and relaxed small band was established in 2010 and it merges gother Finnish folk music, old-time music and punk. Their repertoire is mainly their own making, but spiced up with a Northern American folk song or a polka here and there. Slack Bird’s music is built on five-string banjo, combining the power and rough edges of American folk music and punk, and a background beat from a chess board. The band tours actively and has played at clubs in New York and London as well as a few huts in Germany. They are planning to release a debut album next year.
Dave Klas – vocals, banjo, harmonica, chess board
Susanna Leppänen – accordion, vocals
2015: Jaerv, Kopla, J-P Piirainen
Swedish Jaerv is a highly acclaimed quintet playing energetic folk music with pop and jazz influences. The band is known for their captivating gigs, they’ve toured around USA and in many parts of Europe, and collaborated with many Swedish top artists. Jaerv released their first album Inrikes in 2009, their second album, Vol2., came out in 2014 and was widely applauded among critics.
Joel Hagen – flute, winds, soprano saxophone, EWI, vocals
Anders Bergsten – double bass, nyckelharpa, vocals
Harald Nilsson – guitars, vocals
Markus Gustavsson – violin, vocals
Tobias Hedlund – percussion
J-P Piirainen is a young and energetic guitar musician from Joensuu. His music represents a new wave of folk music, his daring adventures into different styles of playing the guitar have formed a unique style and sound. His passion toward guitar and folk music binds together a great deal of energy and joy of playing. These are the elements at the heart of the term Nordic Guitar Music. Stories are also central in his music, which mainly consists of his own compositions and a good measure of Nordic traditional music with a new twist. Piirainen’s first album First Steps was released in January 2014 and it’s had a fabulous reception all around the field of folk music. Piirainen tours in Finland and abroad and his music has featured for instance in the Acoustic Magazine in the UK.
J-P Piirainen – guitar
Kopla is a folk music ensemble established in 2004 and hailing from Saarijärvi in central Finland. Their music consists of modern folk music with an easy-going attitude and youthful arrangements. Their instruments include violins, the harmonium, double bass, accordions and percussions. Vocals join in at their big band sessions. Kopla’s musical journey has already lasted a decade, and it has included highlights such as the 2011 Finnish Championship of Folk Music Groups in Mäntsälä, gigs in Estonia and Germany, representing Finland in the 2011 Nordic Folk Music Group competition in Sälen, Sweden, releasing their albums in 2010 and 2014 and tons of different gigs, concerts and music projects. Kopla aims to convey carefree and joyful moods and to touch the audience with their music.
Anni Hemminki – violin
Suvi Pasanen – violin
Emmi Hiekkavirta – violin
Alisa Roikonen – violin
Sirpa Varvikko – violin
Vilma Honkonen – accordion
Hanna Mursunen – accordion
Sari Honkonen – accordion
Jonna Hyyppä – double bass
Salla Niemi – harmonium
Minna Koskenlahti – percussions
In the big band sessions:
Aku Oikari – drums
Niilo Oikari – guitar, banjo (percussions)
Asta Kantonen – vocals
Salla Möksy – vocals
Laura Saramäki – vocals