5 Nov 2023, KANTELE IMPROVISATION EVENT with Heikki Laitinen


October 07, 2023

This event is part of the SibA Folk 40th Anniversary Jubilee Events Series. The Folk Music Education was established in 1983: 40 years of art, pedagogy and research in folk music at the Sibelius Academy. All this is brought to life during the year by students, teachers, alumni and emeriti of folk music department. We welcome you to participate, listen, discuss and celebrate the centenary of the university education in folk music!

Heikki Laitinen (80) and Arja Kastinen (60) under the spell of a thousand-year-old kantele improvisation

Oodi, Helsinki Central Library, Maijansali hall, 5 Nov, 2023, at 13:00.

Come with a kantele under your arm! Or just come to listen and chat (unfortunately only in Finnish)! There are a few instruments to borrow for those who do not have their own (tuned in D major).

The event is open to everyone. You will get to know the kantele and its music with strings from 5 to 15.

The kantele is a remarkable instrument. So old that no one knows its age. So modern that new instrument models and new music are constantly being created. This event focuses on the thousand-year-old kantele improvisation, the oldest music of the kantele. Although it contains something very old, it is born anew every moment. It lives and changes all the time.

In between the music, we will discuss the aesthetics of kantele improvisation, its meaning then and now, and its possibilities as part of modern society. We will also watch music videos from the album KANTERVO, which will be released on the same day. The album contains new music played on copies of museum kanteles and is part of Arja’s research project Kantele of the Runosong Culture and the Dialogue of Creativity at the Sibelius Academy, Uniarts Helsinki. Together with Heikki we will sing runosongs about Väinämöinen and his amazing kantele.

KANTERVO album release Nov 5, 2023. New music played on the copies of museum kanteles. Cover image: Tuomas Ylönen.

The event culminates in a long collective improvisation on small kanteles. During it, you immerse yourself in music that doesn’t start or end. It simply exists, as it has always been and always will be.

Heikki Laitinen is Professor Emeritus of Folk Music, and Arja Kastinen, Dmus, is a kantele player and visiting researcher at the University of the Arts.