Press release 13 January 2017

Kaustinen celebrates its 50th festival year with an abundant display of both the historical roots which form the foundation of the festival, and a lavish array of visions of the future. The 50th anniversary theme is Feast and it’s safe to look forward to a copious feast that draws from the celebration traditions in the Kaustinen region and also ties in with the celebration of Finland’s 100th year of independence.

The Band of the Year, Gájanas

The band awarded Band of the Year in 2017 is a young, modern Sámi music group Gájanas from Inari in the very north of Finland. The band’s music is a refreshing combination of musical fabric, improvisation and centuries-old joiku tradition. The lead figure of the band is Hilda Länsman, a student in the University of Arts Sibelius Academy, who has followed her mother’s footsteps as in preserving and cultivating Sámi musical tradition. Her mother, Ulla Pirttijärvi, first became known from the band Angelin tytöt and later embarked on a solo career. Virtuoso brothers Nicholas and Kevin Francett, and Erkki Feodoroff join Länsman in creating a musical landscape with influences from progressive rock, jazz and grunge. Even the most surprising combinations merge easily together with Länsman’s joiku singing. With this nomination, Kaustinen Folk Music Festival honors the Sámi culture, music and traditions and acclaims the work that is being done to keep the Sámi history and tradition alive.

In addition to Gájanas, the festival programme includes Laura Cortese & the Dance Cards, a star ensemble of American folk, and the highly skilled and charismatic Betsayda Machado & La Parranda el Clavo from a small village in Venezuela who embark on their first visit to Europe. Quoted as a ’musical tornado’, the action-packed Fiddlers’ Bid from Shetland take the floor together with their equally vivacious Finnish friends, the masterly Frigg. Estonia’s favorite party band Trad.Attack! starts out the celebrations for Estonia’s 100 years of independence at Kaustinen. Finnish bands also flock at Kaustinen in the summer: Tuuletar is a vocal folk hop ensemble familiar already from 2013’s Showcase series at Kaustinen, folk orchestra lead by Niko Kumpuvaara starring Paula Koivuniemi, and Kaustinen’s own, indisputable legends Folkkarit, Prusikoukku and the 20-year-old Tötterssön in a massive joint concert. Children’s programme includes Timo Parvela’s Maukka ja Väykkä story concert and Satu Sopanen & Tuttiorkesteri. Master folk dancer Hannu Nipuli has put together a folk dance concert that brings alive the choreographies of the acclaimed choreographer Helvi Jukarainen. Hundreds of folk musicians will once more crowd the stages at Kaustinen, furthest guests include Thunder Bayn Pelimannit arriving from Ontario, Canada, and Ameriikan poijat from the United States.

Summer 2017’s Showcase series of three bands has been assembled from an abundant group of applicants. Marko Siekkinen & Toivoniemen reservaatti is a bluegrass, folk and storytelling band from the city of Oulu. Duo Systrami is a northern Swedish twin duo, who are seamlessly in sync throughout their music, from arrangements to performance styles. Perpetuum Lokomobile is modern view of world music soundscape amid a pandemonium, drawn by highly skilled musicians.

The eighth national Konsta Jylhä Competition will be arranged at the Kaustinen Folk Music Festival on 10th – 11th July 2017. In 2017, the competition is aimed for small ensembles (2-4 people) and, unlike previous years, it only has one series. The music the contestants perform should be folk music, traditional or new. New music should also have a clear link to tradition. The competition is arranged by Kaustisen Pelimannitalo in collaboration with the Folk Music Institute and the winners of the contest will perform at the Kaustinen Folk Music Festival. The prizes in the Competition amount to 10 000 Euros.

Further information:
Anne-Mari Hakamäki, programme director
+358 40 358 2446