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Ilmatar’s Inspirations

Nationalism, Globalization, and the Changing Soundscapes of Finnish Folk Music

Ilmatar’s Inspirations

Nationalism, Globalization, and the Changing Soundscapes of Finnish Folk Music

Ilmatar gave birth to the bard who sang the Finnish landscape into being in the
Kalevala (the Finnish national epic). In Ilmatar’s Inspirations, Tina K. Ramnarine explores creative processes and the critical role that music has played in Finnish nationalism by focusing on Finnish "new folk music" in the shifting spaces between the national imagination and the global marketplace.

Through extensive interviews and observations of performances, Ramnarine reveals how new folk musicians think and talk about past and present folk music practices, the role of folk music in the representation of national identity, and the interactions of Finnish folk musicians with performers from around the globe. She focuses especially on two internationally successful groups—JPP, a group that plays fiddle dance music, and Värttinä, an ensemble that highlights women’s vocal traditions. Analyzing the multilayered processes—musical, institutional, political, and commercial—that have shaped and are shaped by new folk music in Finland, Ramnarine gives us an entirely new understanding of the connections between music, place, and identity.

288 pages | 18 halftones, 45 musical ex's | 6 x 9 | © 2003

Chicago Studies in Ethnomusicology

Anthropology: Cultural and Social Anthropology

Culture Studies

Music: Ethnomusicology


"Ramnarine considers how Finnish folk music shapes national identity, the influence of outside musical cultures on Finnish folk music, folk music’s place in urban institutions . . . and the position of the individual folk musician in the growing arena of  ’world music’. . . . Her study of this musical culture is thorough in its scope, dissolving the boundaries between urban and village, old and new, local and global, and professional and amateur. . . . . A detailed and informative look at some of Finland’s music festivals and most popular music groups."

Kevin R. Burke | Ethnomusicology

"An excellent ethnography of the ’new Finnish Folk music.’ Ramnarine has met key firgures of the movement, and I can well hear their intonations and personalities in the interviews. We learn how they conceptualize folk music and their own role as its practitioners, and get a good view of  typical performance contexts."

Pekka Gronow | Folk Music Journal

’[Ramnarine] meaningfully connects changes in Finnish society and culture to changes in musical sound. . . .
Ilmatar’s Inspirations makes an important contrihution to the ethnomusicological and anthropological literature and comes highly recommended."

Jeffers Engelhardt | Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute

Table of Contents

Part One: Theoretical and Historical Perspectives
Chapter 1 - Introduction: Place, Identity, Representation
"National Art": Folk Music, Art Music
Continuity and Change
Identity and Representation
Borrowing from the Traditions of "Others"
Chapter 2 - The Folk and the Nation
Interest in Folklore before Lönnrot and the Kalevala
Lönnrot and the Kalevala
The Kalevala, Song Traditions, and the Kantele
Myth, Music, Landscape, Identity
Part Two - Ethnography: The Transmission, Performance, and Repertoire of New Folk Music
Chapter 3 - The Folk Music Revival in Finland: Toward "New Folk Music"
Revival, Transformation, Authenticity
The Kaustinen Festival and Konsta Jylhä
The Role of Folklorists in the Finnish Revival Movement
The Role of (Jazz and Rock) Musicians in the Revival Movement
Institutionalizing Folk Music during the Revival
Chapter 4 - New Folk Music in the Urban Center
The Setting: The Sibelius Academy
Learning Folk Music at the Sibelius Academy
Performing Folk Music in the Urban Center
Chapter 5 - Värttinä: Women’s Songs from the East
An Interview with Sari Kaasinen: Making the Music
Gender and Region
Reception, Aesthetics, Politics
Chapter 6 - New Folk Music in a Rural Context
Formal Folk Music Education in the Village of Kaustinen
The Kaustinen Festival: "Roots in Finland" 1992
From Five Strings to Electric Models
Chapter 7 - A Family of Folk Musicians: The Järveläs
The Fiddle in Finland: A Historical Perspective
Biography, Locality, "Authenticity"
Composing New Folk Music: The Ostrobothnian Example
Local Musicians, Global Stages
Part Three: Folk Music, World Music
Chapter 8 - Musical and Social Identities: Borrowing from the Traditions of "Others"
New Folk Music and Karelianism
Saami Music in Helsinki
Learning from Senegalese Musicians
The Finnish Tango
Irish Music in Helsinki
Appropriation, Originality, Representation
Chapter 9 - Global Commodities: The New Folk Music Recording in World Music Markets
Sonic Representations: Music in Many Places
Small Record Companies in Finland
The Finnish Performing Music Promotion Center (ESEK)
Music as Product: Questions of Ownership
Chapter 10 - Epilogue
Musical Spaces
Writing History

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