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57 f


JPP play for the midnight quadrille B


tlety full of the melodiousness and spirit of folk music and the Kaustinen tradition, it occurred to me that classical audiences might well connect with it too. Mauno Järvelä’s teaching embraces both folk and classical music; many Kaustinen fiddlers are familiar with both. Some are, like Mauno, also members of classical ensembles, including the rated Kokkola-based Ostrobothnian Chamber Orchestra. Leading composer the late Per Henrik Nordgren lived in Kaustinen, star Finnish classical vio- lin soloist Pekka Kuusisto, something of a Nigel Kennedy figure, as well as rock and wildly creative work with accordeonist Johan- na Juhola plays Kaustinen music rather well, and in the winter there’s already a chamber music week at the Folk Arts Centre; perhaps the time has come to stage a major-league classical con- cert or two there during the folk festival and draw some of that audience into the latter’s manifold delights.


assist, fiddler and guitarist Antti Järvelä, of Frigg, JPP and English/ Finnish/ Danish band Baltic Crossing (which also played popular gigs this year), put together a big ‘Saturday Sauna’ show that drew on most of Kaustinen’s new wave of players to form a big, flexible orchestra/ band, adding vocalists including Finnish Roma diva Hilja Grönfors and well-known heavy metal singer Timo Rauti- ainen, who refused a fee saying he’d never had more fun on a gig. That same new wave of players feature among the massed fiddlers, harmonium players and bassists of Näppärit (The Nip- pers) – Mauno Järvelä’s hundreds of pupils, now spanning an age range from toddler to 30-something – who in their annual arena concert play with impeccable intonation in rich, beautifully- arranged infectious compositions by Mauno, Ville Kangas and others, and burst into exuberant new-made songs.


Throughout the festival people were beaming, “Maybe the good old times are back”. Better than that; as in Britain there seems to be a trend from mega-festivals to small, more person-to-person, community-building ones, so the Kaustinen community is recon- necting with the unique essence of its festival and the magic of music. Less money around, perhaps, and there’s undoubtedly more rethinking to do, but these are looking like the good new times.


www.kaustinen.net/english The Arena at dusk F


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