Toward the Next 50 Years of Kaustinen Folk Music Festival

The 51st Kaustinen Folk Music Festival will be held 9-15 July 2018. During the opening day of the festival week, Kaustinen municipality will grant everyone free entry to celebrate its 150th birthday!

Nature will be this year’s festival theme. The theme will be approached from multiple interesting viewpoints under the header Naturally: music from nature, natural music, nature sounds, recycling, human nature. The theme will also be used to explore perspectives of music writing, the voice of nature, inspiration, and recycling music. The festival and its nature theme will get a head start during the nocturnal hike on Sunday, 8 July. The light-footed twenty-kilometer hike accompanied by music, will prepare participants for the challenges of the upcoming festival week. The nocturnal hike will be arranged in cooperation with Perhonjokilaakson retkeilijät ry.

The national theme of the year, named by the Folk Music and Dance Promotion Center, is All flavors – the living traditions of folk music and folk dance. The theme will intertwine living and evolving cultural inheritance phenomena through local traditions preserved at Kaustinen, as well as through the production of communal art, without forgetting other national and international phenomena. Local know-how and tradition will be naturally emphasized as Kaustinen municipality celebrates its 150th birthday. Combined with local tradition and in accordance with the year theme, the concert series Living Heritage: This is What We Do will be performed. As a part of Kaustinen for Kids, the program series Living Heritage: Play will be performed.

The children’s music orchestra Ammuu! has been chosen as Kaustinen’s music group of the year. The group was formed in 2007 and has been respectful of folk music and determined in its work ever since. Its members are not only skilled musicians, but also wonderful music education professionals and music pedagogues. Their music is inventive and multifaceted in including genres from Kalevala rune singing to musical traditions from all around the world. With this accolade, Kaustinen wants to promote children’s culture and honor the high standard of children’s music in our country; quality, tradition honoring music belongs to everyone, regardless of age and size.

The festival program will also feature a plethora of amazing new international acts and experienced top artists.  One of the most delightful new acts on the European music scene is OMIRI, refining Portuguese music tradition with an original touch.  Sweden’s phenomenal folk party band Folk All-in Band makes an impressive comeback at Kaustinen. Other international stars include e.g. Scottish violinist legend Alasdair Fraser together will cello virtuoso Natalie Haasin, and the world renowned Danish Helene Blum & Harald Haugaard Band. For the first time Kaustinen has the honor of welcoming the great interpreter and promotor of polish tradition, the much-awarded family band Kapela Maliszów and Norwegian Sami Vassvik, celebrating his 20th year as an artist.

The Nordic countries will be more prominent at Kaustinen for the next three years due to financial support from Nordisk Kulturfond’s puls program, which will be used to build a concert and workshop series of Nordic music. The goal is to bring young people together and create a shared Nordic platform, where youths can create new contacts by e.g. playing music together.

As for Finnish bands, we will have the pleasure of hosting e.g. Hannu Seppänen & co, a master of the 2-row accordion making a comeback to Kaustinen after 20 years, the bold and down to earth a cappella group Ilo Ensemble, Maria Kalaniemi & Eero Grundström who have been nominated for the Finnish folk music award Etno-Emma, Juurakko interpreting Kalevala style blues folk, and the incredible Maija Kauhanen, awarded Newcomer of The Year at the Etno gala. Tango will be especially prominent during this year’s festival with world-famous harmonica group Sväng and the Finnish tango group Tango-orkesteri Unto, celebrating its 20th year. The luminous schlager-star Suvi Teräsniska will again conquer the hearts of the festival audience at Kaustinen. Kaustinen will be serving tradition at its best with a Risto Kupari’s broad ballad concert Kolme Katilaa ja mää: Puntarin kolli, Euran balladi ja muut Frans Järvisen arkkiveisut, and Seinäjoki 2-row accordion 20th year jubilee concert. Also, Finnish folk dance performances, new choreographies and more traditional folk dance concerts will have a strong presence in the festival program, without forgetting international flair.

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