Kihaus Folk -festival is held in Rääkkylä, North Karelia and is an easy-going folkmusic festival for the whole family. Festival is located to the beautiful lakeside area of Rääkkylä and enchantes its visitors with unique concerts and Karelian warm hospitality.
Kihaus Folk 2023 performers:
Osmo Ikonen is a singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist and music producer. In addition to his solo career, he is also known as the keyboardist for the band Sunrise Avenue and as a soloist and arranger for the programme SuomiLOVE.
Ikonen’s debut album Stories From Within was released in 2008, his second album Heaven Or Hell Is Just State Of Mind in 2010 and his latest English-language EP Let It Out in 2015. Since then, Ikonen has focused on Finnish production and his first Finnish-language album Yhden miehen armeija was released in spring 2021.
His warm and recognisable vocal sound, energetic lyricism, exceptional talent as a multi-instrumentalist and long music career have made Ikonen a respected artist throughout Finland. Ikonen comes to Kihaus with his band.
Ida Elina is a YouTube phenomenon, she is a singer-songwriter and plays popular modern
music on the kantele. She is a personality who has sparked worldwide interest and is an
ambassador for Finnish culture. She has created a large fan base of kantele music enthusiasts
both in Finland and abroad.
Trained in classical music, graduated from the Sibelius Academy (2012) and winner of
numerous awards since then, the pop kantele player has made the exploration of kantele music
her profession. Since the early 2010s, the artist has been making the kantele known to a wide
audience both in Finland and around the world.
Ida Elina, who began her musical education playing the piano at the age of 8 in Oulainen, North
Ostrobothnia, Finland, switched from the piano to our national instrument at the age of 13. Her
dream of becoming a professional kantele artist was born soon after she started playing the
kantele, and this dream received a further boost when she was accepted into the Music
Education Department of the Sibelius Academy in 2005.
The most important turning point in her life so far occurred during her exchange year in Japan in
2009, when a YouTube video featuring a fingerstyle guitarist’s version of Michael Jackson’s
Billie Jean revolutionized her musical thinking and led her to develop her own pop kantele
playing style, which she continues to this day. The style she has developed has inspired
hundreds of young kantele players and encouraged young and old alike to learn the instrument.
In addition to her concert activities, Ida Elina has taught her playing style to kantele players
throughout Finland in her own master classes. Ida Elina works closely with kantele master
Pekka Lovikka to develop use of the national instrument for future generations of kantele
players. The result of this collaboration is the concert kantele named after her, specifically
designed to support the playing style developed by the artist.
Ida Elina has also given concerts in numerous schools and educational institutions in front of
thousands of students in Finland, Sweden and Norway, telling her story and encouraging
children and young people to believe in themselves and take courageous steps towards making
their dreams come true.
Ida Elina sings fluently in several languages, including Mandarin Chinese, Japanese and
DANTCHEV:DOMAIN is a Helsinki-based band formed in 2019 whose musical world knows no borders. The melodic language of the band’s leader, Finnish-Bulgarian singer-songwriter Anna Dantchev, draws from Bulgarian rhythms and strong cinematic melodies, but also fuses naturally with African-American and other traditions. At the heart of the band’s music is Dantchev’s captivating and multi-faceted charismatic voice. The professional band was formed around Dantchev’s compositions and released their debut album Say It (Glomama Music) in May 2020, which was voted Folk Music Album of the Year and featured on the prestigious World Music Charts Europe and in the Roots Music Report Top Ten for several weeks after its release.
In a short time, DANTCHEV:DOMAIN have earned a reputation as pioneers of a new way. The band’s second album, The Lions We Are (Glomama Music), released in 2022, was the first Finnish full-length album to be released in Dolby Atmos format.
The band’s unique instrumentation and personal and strong style, which defies strict definitions of musical genres, has won the band an audience across genres and countries. The stories about ordinary people, sung in English and Bulgarian, have gone down well with the audience. Dantchev’s ability to combine Bulgarian vocal technique and jazz sensibility into a distinct vocal style has been admired in international reviews.
Dantchev demonstrates the diversity of today’s Finnish music scene and – for the first time in the world – the Finnish-Bulgarian groove. In 2022, the band was selected to participate in the international project MOST – the Bridge for Balkan Music, which focuses on contemporary Balkan world music.
The line-up of the band in 2023:
Anna Dantchev (FI/BG) – vocals, tuba, drums.
Erno Haukkala – trombone, sousaphone
Kenneth Ojutkangas (FI/US) – guitar, tuba
Antti-Pekka Rissanen – drums
Helsinki Cèilidh Band
When it comes to Irish, Scottish and English Cèilidh dance music, the Helsinki
Cèilidh Band is the first choice in Finland. Whether you are a seasoned cèilidh
connoisseur or new to this music, the Helsinki Cèilidh Band will have you under
the spell of cèilidh dancing in no time.
The British-Finnish band was formed in Helsinki in 2013 while the band members
were studying at the Sibelius Academy. Since then, their unique and infectious
sound has captivated audiences at various events across Finland.
The members of the ensemble show the steps of the different dances and guide
the dancers in English and Finnish. Before you know it, you are dancing smoothly
to jigs and reels, and sometimes you can catch your breath to a Finnish waltz.
This show is worth experiencing!
J-P Piirainen has become one of the most interesting solo guitarists in Finnish
folk music. The Joensuu-based guitar talent’s two passions, guitar music and
Scandinavian folk, have led Piirainen to experiment with different styles of guitar
playing. These styles combine with Scandinavian folk music in a completely new
way to create interesting, grooving guitar music styles. Piirainen plays both his
own compositions and traditional Nordic songs, giving a new twist not only to
Scandinavian folk music but also to world music as a whole.
The inspiring kantele artist Hanna Ryynänen released her debut solo album Taite
(Fold, Turn) in May 2023. The concerts on the CD release tour will feature works
Ryynänen has composed for the 21-string Saarijärvi kantele, in which the kantele
is played with different wooden sticks and the sensual expression of sound is
released by drumming on the instrument with the hands.
The exploration of timbres and the experimental use of playing techniques, as well
as extensive influences from the rich playing tradition of the kantele in various
nations, play a central role in Ryynänen’s music. The album contains instrumental
music inspired by Finnish, Karelian and Latvian playing styles, among others.
In Ryynänen’s playing, the tonal richness of the Saarijärvi kantele comes into its
own as she pushes the extreme limits of her instrument from gentle to violent and
from meditative to percussive.
Ryynänen’s strong instrumentalism and dazzling presence invite both the
audience and the artist herself to feel and be surprised by the musical worlds that
emerge in the moment of playing.
Mikko H. Haapoja
Mikko H. Haapoja is a Helsinki-based jouhikko player, recording engineer,
producer, sound engineer, media and sound artist. In addition to his own art
projects, Haapoja also oversees other record and video productions and sound
designs, often combining traditional music with electronic soundscapes. Haapoja
has mixed Ikivirta by Sarah Palu and Turmio by Okra Playground, among others,
and produced many acoustic productions such as Loistava by Good Trio and
Kuollehet sankarit by Antti ja Isotalo.
His solo project Unheard Landscapes, due for release in the summer of 2023, combines electronically alienated jouhikko and kantele music with multi-layered landscapes of sound, mixing soundscapes of metropolises, virgin forests and oceans with electroacoustic folk music in a completely new way.
Haapoja’s instruments include bass jouhikko, cello, jouhikko, live electronics and
kantele. Haapoja’s multi-layered music works in many different settings, from
intimate salon concerts to large outdoor stages.
Kihaus is pleased to be included in Haapoja’s CD release tour.
Armas E. Leopold
Armas Einar Leopold Lönnbohm (Mustonen), Eino Leino, born 6 July 1878 in
Paltaniemi, Paltamo, died 10 January 1926 in Tuusula, great poet, writer, prose
Eino Leino was admired by some and despised by others – the opinions about
Leino have been and still are manifold.
Armas E. Leopold’s music is spiced with Eino Leino’s texts, each of which
resounds as a unique landscape. In them one also senses the darker shades of
an intense life. Sometimes they lift the cup of disappointment, sometimes they
glow in the ecstasy of wild love. We rejoice in life, are overwhelmed by the beauty
of nature and sometimes lose ourselves in a mysterious mist.
Armas E. Leopold are:
Mammu Koskelo – concert kantele, guitar, vocals
Eve Pietarinen – drums, vocals
Esko Vihava – double bass, vocals
Lauluni – Min sång
Lauluni – Min sång – My song (solo) is a concert of children’s songs by Usi
Riikonen, performed in two languages. It is a vocal performance for children of
kindergarten age, and the songs are sung in Finnish and Swedish. The songs are
ancient, traditional children’s songs. The performance lasts about 20-30 minutes.
Lauluni – Min sång – was published on 2.4.2023.
Motora bring to Kihaus their latest dance production AJASTAIKA (Season), which
depicts the common people’s annual cycle. The three-part work is about the
celebrations of the cycle of life, of spring, and of autumn. It explores the folklore
and traditions of the annual cycle’s special moments in time through folk dance
and folk music. We all have traditions, they live and change over time. Behind and
alongside these traditions, there are strong emotions that today’s audience can
identify with, despite the changing external environment.
The piece was written and choreographed by dance instructor Eveliina Pilke, and
the music was composed by Joonas Ojajärvi. The music for the performance
comes from a soundtrack. Nearly 50 dancers from different groups at Motora,
ranging in age from 12 to 70, take part in the trilogy. The duration of the piece is
Eva Väljaots & Robbie Sherratt
The music of Eva Väljaots (Estonia) and Robbie Sherratt (England) draws from
the musical traditions of their home countries. Kantele, 5-string violin and human
voices are enchantingly combined in the duo’s playing, creating a traditional yet
modern impression. The ensemble’s repertoire consists of both traditional and
modern songs and dance tunes. Eva and Robbie’s performances involve a lot of
improvisation, and arrangements are often created during the performance,
creating a strong sense of presence at the concerts.
The duo regularly perform in England, Estonia and Finland, both at concerts and
dance events. In 2019 they made it to the semi-finals of the Konsta Jylhä
competition at the Kaustinen Folk Music Festival, and in 2020 they won the top
prize at the Moote Elohelü music competition in Estonia. In autumn 2022 they
released their debut album.
Eva Väljaots – kantele, jouhikko, vocals
Robbie Sherratt – violin, jouhikko, vocals
JUKU are a ukulele orchestra based at Joensuu Folk High School. The
instruments are currently soprano, concert and bass ukulele, and vocals where
required. JUKU consist of more than 20 players. JUKU have been practising and
playing together for four years and is led by music teacher IIkka Vesala.
JUKU’s goal is to perform in as many places as possible and to bring the joy of
playing the ukulele and the diverse moods of ukulele music to concerts and
festivals. JUKU’s repertoire includes folk, classical, jazz, rock and pop music from
Finland and abroad, in terms of style, time and diversity. In 2023, JUKU’s
repertoire has its focus on simple folk music.
The wide range of music performed by JUKU will encourage the audience to dance as well as sing along. A light-hearted atmosphere and professional musicians are guaranteed to make the audience smile and get them in the mood. The JUKU band is looking forward to the unique atmosphere and happy get-together at Kihaus.
See you at Kihaus!
NOOLI is the sound of today’s folk music.
The musicians Aino Kinnunen and Oona Sinkko offer a performance that is pure
pleasure for the listener, with virtuoso melodies and rich harmonies. NOOLI’s debut album Kesä ei lopu koskaan was released in 2019 and consists of self-composed folk music. The band’s second album will be released later this year and will feature new and fresh dance music.
Maria Kalaniemi & Elina Leskelä – Accordion Of Memories
Laura Kielo is the electronic solo project of Laura Vuorjoki-Elo, who hails from Rääkkylä. Laura Kielo’s music combines a modern, electronic sound with thought-provoking and closely observant lyrics. The lyrics mix the lynx calls of the local nature with the now so distant metropolis of St. Petersburg, the inconsolable infatuation of teenage years, spring depression, the ugliness and the beauty of
Laura formed her first electric band at a house party in 2006, which gained cult
status in St. Petersburg music clubs during its short existence. After returning to
electrically amplified music, Laura decided to take the reins herself. In her current
solo project, she not only composes and writes the lyrics, but also produces the
At the Kihaus Folk concert, Laura Kielo will give a partly improvised concert with
elements of ancient Finnish poetry and ancient songs from her own family.
Jutta Jessika is a singer-songwriter for whom cultural promotion is a matter close
to her heart. She loves to make unpretentious music that does not aim for a
perfect, virtuoso result. Rather, Jutta Jessika’s music is an invitation to her very
own playground and to meditative moments.
Born in Espoo, Jutta Jessika settled in Inari, Northern Lapland, more than 10
years ago and has felt at home there ever since. Nature and the region’s strong
roots in the past have inspired her to incorporate more and more reflective content
into her music, while respecting traditions and the environment. She accompanies
herself mainly with gentle melodies played on string instruments. Her way is to
compose life in all its colours into uncomplicated melodies and melodious lyrics.
Teemu Eerola & Friends play Scandinavian violin music. With surprise
guests joining in, the party is guaranteed to take off!
Keski-Karjalan kansalaisopiston pelimannit
Keski-Karjalan kansalaisopiston pelimannit (Central Karelia Folk High School
Minstrel Orchestra) have been developing their repertoire with their teacher Jukka
Kyllönen, and the group’s playing and good humour can be enjoyed in the idyllic
surroundings of a traditional yard.
An experienced music virtuoso and music teacher, without whom Rääkkylä would
not be the musical community it is.