All music by Arja Kastinen
with 15-, 14- and 10-string kanteles.
Arja Kastinen was the first Finnish folk musician to take the Doctor of Music examination in the artistic study programme at the Sibelius Academy in December 2000. Kastinen mixes the old and new playing techniques presenting the versatile timbres and acoustic properties of the kantele. The music is an experimental journey to the dim and distant past seeking to uphold tradition while creating new things.
The kantele is an ancient Finnish zither-like instrument. The oldest model - the five-string kantele - is estimated to be at least 2,000 years old. An almost similar instrument can also be found in the Baltic countries (Esthonian 'kannel', Latvian 'kuokles' and Lithuanian 'kankles'). Nowadays, there are several different types of kantele instruments in Finland: for example, 5-, 10- and 15-string kanteles, concert kanteles with 39 strings and electric kanteles.
The ancient kantele, like rune singing, was part of the old music culture that was still a living tradition in isolated Karelian villages at the end of the 19th century and even at the beginning of 20th century. In that culture music was an inseparable part of everyday life. Music was not made in separate pieces, as we understand them, but in an improvised flow of tones that described one's feelings or, for example, events in everyday life.
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