Kantele Goes Global! Ground Zero (Kantele-GO!)
The project is funded by Karelia CBC-programme. The project is implemented by University of Eastern Finland, The Karelian National Song and Dance Ensemble Kantele (coordinator), National School of Arts of Pryazha district and the Runosong Academy.
Kantele music constitutes an integral part of Finnish-Karelian cultural and historic heritage. Traditional kantele melodies embody the invisible bond connecting the present and past generations of Karelians, and thus serve as a powerful factor defining Karelian identity and fostering a sense of belonging and love to Karelian Motherland. At the same time, kantele music is a key element of Karelia’s authenticity and distinctiveness, which attract attention to our region from the external world (i.e. in the form of inbound tourism). In this sense, kantele is one of Karelia’s “comparative advantages” culturally distinguishing it from other regions. That is why kantele music, its development and promotion is of strategic importance for Karelian cultural policy both in Finland and Russia.
Our project seeks to promote internationalization of kantele music and foster closer cooperation between Finnish and Russian kantele players. The project’s activities include:
WP1: Develop a new Finnish-Russian Kantele Music Programme. This Programme will combine kantele’s traditional melodies and songs with innovative compositions belonging to contemporary music genres. The Programme will be developed at three “music labs” to be held in Russia and Finland. At these labs Finnish and Russian musicians will jointly draft the Programme, rehearse together new compositions and exchange their knowledge on playing different types of instruments. This Programme will significantly diversify the currently existing kantele repertoire.
WP2: Carry out three tours presenting the new Kantele Programme in Eastern Finland and in the Republic of Karelia. Each tour will last up to 10 days and include 7 performances in different locations. Several leading Finnish kantele players, members of the Kantele Ensemble and a few pupils for the Pryazha School of Arts will take part in the tours. Some of the performances will be given in large tourist resorts, while others will take place at major folk music festivals on both sides of the border.
WP3: Produce, publish and promote 40-50 video clips presenting the Programme and new kantele compositions in global video-sharing platforms (e.g. YouTube and Facebook). Additionally, several animated videos with kantele music will be produced by pupils of the Pryazha National School of Arts. All the videos will be promoted by advanced “search-engine optimization” techniques and by means of cross-media marketing.
WP4: Organize four master courses on contemporary kantele playing techniques. Leading Finnish and Russian kantele players will be invited to give their master classes. Each course will last 4-5 days and have 30-35 participants (professional and amateur kantele players and teachers of kantele). We expect that musicians and teachers from at least 10 different municipalities will attend our master courses. The purpose of these courses is to improve kantele skills of participants. In
particular, the courses will teach to play diatonic and electric models of kantele. On the basis of course materials, we also plan to publish a manual on kantele playing techniques.
WP5: Arrange two Youth Kantele Creative Forums, where school-children will learn alternative styles of playing kantele, kantele improvisation techniques, and composing skills. There will be joint rehearsals, musical quests, and creative brainstorming sessions. Each forum will be attended by 40-45 children, arriving from different parts of Karelia.
WP6: Carry out a comparative study of international experiences in ethnic music promotion and development. The purpose of this activity is to identify the most successful practices and suggest how they can be applied for promoting kantele music internationally. This study will be done through a review of exiting literature on this topic and a series of in-depth interviews with experts in this field.
WP7: Carry out research on new cultural niches for kantele music. The goal of this activity is to find new niches, in which kantele music can be successfully introduced. Research methods will include video marketing (on the basis of thematic videos with kantele soundtracks), a review of relevant literature and expert interviews. This approach will allow us to test several potential niches and identify ones where kantele music attracts highest attention of viewers.
WP8: Prepare the International Kantele Promotion Action Plan for 2021-2030. This Plan will guide our cross-border cooperation upon completion of this project. It will define our future joint activities, new partners to be involved and new possible sources of funding.
The project’s lead partner is the Ensemble “Kantele” from Petrozavodsk. Two other partners are the Runosong Academy (Kuhmo) and the National Art School (Pryazha). The project is funded by the Karelia CBC Programme.
Group members - UEF
Pekka Suutari Professor , Faculty of Social Sciences and Business Studies, Karelian Institute