"The Kalevala myth was a genuine source of inspiration for the fledgling Finnish nation in search of an identity. But has it been such a thing any more, really, since the Second World War?," asks Kimmo Hakola in his Kalevala day column.
Is it OK for a Finn of the majority population to put on a fake Sámi costume bought in a joke shop and perform a Sámi yoik? Or to put on a feather headdress and dance a Native American dance? Where do we draw the line between cultural interaction and cultural appropriation?
"Foreigners like me once had the idea that Finland was a difficult country in which to be a composer; so strong was Sibelius’s legacy and so dominant those famous names who succeeded him. But that idea now seems outdated," writes Andrew Mellor in his column on the Day of Finnish Music.
“Music’s close relationship to nature can be seen precisely in the ways it alters and affects our relationship to the diversity of our surrounding world – and not only to itself or myself.”
Baroque violinist and conductor Kreeta-Maria Kentala writes about how attitudes towards baroque music and female conductors have changed during her career.
Concert promoter, journalist and music export researcher Dr Greg Goldenzwaig takes a look at the import-export of rock and pop music between Finland and Russia. Some things have changed for sure in the past ten years.
"Cultural exchange is a win-win proposition, and there are plenty of paths to explore for newcomers and old hands alike."
Interesting things happen in the borderlands between music and sound art. Sub-genres of electronic music, field recordings, studies in improvisation and graphic notation and sound installations continue to open up new pathways for musicians in all genres.
"The Estonian and Finnish contemporary music scenes share many similarities but also have considerable differences. I can say this from my own first-hand experience as an Estonian composer who has lived and studied in Finland for a long time. The differences may come as quite a surprise, considering how close our two nations are culturally."...
Progress is all about trying out new things, as every forward-thinking artist intrinsically knows. Nevertheless, a case could be made that it is not enough if only the vanguard embraces the unknown. Perhaps all could take a page out of Pepa Päivinen, Janne Tuomi and other open-minded musicians’ book.