Band of the Year I Fäälan meticulously explores the Finnish-Swedish minuet tradition. The trio consists of Kenneth Nordman (left), Mats Granfors, and Tom Forsman. Photo: Benjamin Nordberg

Kaustinen Folk Music Festival unveiled its performers at the Eläköön Folk! gala on the Folklandia cruise in the Baltic Sea on Saturday, January 12th. One of the most anticipated announcements was the Band of the Year 2024, awarded to the Finnish-Swedish group I Fäälan.

Kenneth Nordman (violin, nyckelharpa), Mats Granfors (violin), and Tom Forsman (guitar, lute) have notably highlighted the Finnish-Swedish Polska and Minuet tradition with a fresh and skilled approach. The band's roots are deeply embedded in the music tradition of Suupohja, with musicians tracing back to their ancestors.

– This year's Band of the Year is exceptionally unique, as it cherishes even the smallest nuances of the local tradition in its music, considering the stylistic differences between villages. It can be said that I Fäälan is a true expert in its own musical territory, says Programme Director Anne-Mari Hakamäki.

Bands of the Year have been named since 1986, and the esteemed title has been awarded to well-known groups like JPP, Värttinä, and Frigg.

The purpose of the Kaustinen Folk Music Festival's highly acclaimed Band of the Year designation is to highlight a band that has shown special expertise and activity in the field of folk music through their merits, fresh touch or long career.