A dive into the diversity in contemporary kantele music

Two weeks ago in Alppipuisto, Helsinki there was a park festival Puistokarkelot with contemporary folk music. I did not attend but as I was checking the line-up I could not help noticing what an important part the kantele had come to play in the programme.

I started googling other festivals like Kihaus Folk and Sommelo, and I found another bunch of kantele artists. New areas of music, techniques are being adapted to the kantele at a exponential speed. For example, I attended Sarah Palu’s bachelor thesis concert this spring.  I was impressed by how she had combined some dub beats with kanteles! I am just waiting for her to release a record!

Last weekend I and my two Greek friends played Greek folk songs in my home village.  It seems like kantele can replace bouzouki in many occasions. I was playing with my 11+4 string kantele. The challenge comes with changing scales and many unfamiliar tonalities. Since kantele does not have any frets, each string represents only one pitch, unlike in bouzouki. A solution is to add the semitone levers to each string and practice rigorously to change them smoothly in the fast tempo.  Another option is to tune different scales in the kantele. I love this challenge.

Other contemporary kantele artists/groups I found:

And I saw on Facebook that Kardemimmit are filming an advertisement for the Japanese market.  お疲れ様!


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