Ilkka Heinonen combines Karelian dance tunes with the aesthetics of ancient music and live electronics. Photo: Timo Heinonen

Fresh out of the selection process, here is the lineup for the Kaustinen Folk Music Festival's 2024 Showcase series: Musician-composer Ilkka Heinonen, as well as instrumental ensembles HOSTIKKA and Luomuduo take the stage next summer in a series that introduces emerging and internationally rising stars of folk music. This year there was a record number of participants in the Showcase application process: 44 bands or artists applied for a place in the prestigious series at the festival.

The Showcase series is presented to domestic and international seekers of emerging bands, who come to the festival from many countries. The audience will have the opportunity to listen to performances by all three selected acts consecutively on the same day, this year on Wednesday evening at Club Kallio.

Programme Director Anne-Mari Hakamäki sees that the Showcase series, which began in 2013, has developed into a functional concept.

"The festival has thus been able to assist the showcase artists and bands in building networks and connections, which is long-term work that often takes many years. The luckiest ones have quickly obtained significant performance opportunities and have been able to perform abroad," Hakamäki explains.

This year, the selection panel included members of the festival's programming committee as well as a representative from the Finnish broadcasting company Yleisradio.

2024 Showcase Series:

Ilkka Heinonen is a Helsinki-based musician and composer specializing in folk and world music. In his solo project, a master of many instruments, he has chosen the Finnish traditional instrument jouhikko, with which he combines Karelian dance tunes with the aesthetics of ancient music and live electronics. The panel was impressed by the professional level of Heinonen’s music, and the extraordinary atmospheres it creates.

HOSTIKKA is an instrumental ensemble playing new wave folk music. Bassist Saija Penttilä and guitarist Jaakko Penttilä's compositions are based on Finnish dance styles such as quadrille and waltz, but they also show an interest in jazz and world music. Aino Kinnunen plays the violin in the ensemble, Jari Kankare plays wind instruments, Maimu Jõgeda plays the accordion, and Jesse Lehto plays the drums. The panel found the ensemble to be a fresh and highly interesting breath of air in the Finnish folk music field.

Luomuduo (Olli Sippola, violin, and Sakari Keipi, guitar) regularly performs in Finland and the Nordic countries. The ensemble won the Konsta Jylhä Competition in Kaustinen in 2022, and last year, it rose to showcase status at the Norwegian Folkelarm Festival. Sippola brings metal and jazz influences to the lineup, while Keipi brings Finnish-American rock and roots. The panel was impressed by the duo’s goal-oriented attitude and gave a special mention for the approach that transcends music genre boundaries.

Kesän 2024 showcase-sarja toteutetaan yhteistyössä Yle Radio 1:n ja musiikin vientiä edistävän Music Finlandin kanssa. 

The Kaustinen Folk Music Festival will be held on July 8–14, 2024.