Messages from our time

Outi Linnaranta

"When time ceases to exist, timelessness begins." Let this thought dear to me be your guiding principle when you submerge into my music. Forget haste. Let the slightly changing measures, resembling the lapping of waves, flickering of leaves or the subtle colours of a meadow, caress your mind. Prick up your ears as if you had never heard the sound of a motor, roaring of an aeroplane or din of technology.

Karelia is famous for her kantele. At the beginning of the 20th century, kantele was considered so commonplace that it was believed everyone knew how to play it. Armas Otto Väisänen (1890-1969) was among the first to notice at the turn of the century that kantele culture was on the verge of extinction. The last observations of folk-style performers date back to the 1960s.

The direct link to the old Karelian kantele tradition is missing. Therefore, we have to rely on sheet music fragments. It takes some 20 seconds to play through the music and yet we have testimonies of how playing continued for hours. This recording was made possible by a desire to chart the missing bits by identifying with the kantele players' way of understanding music. I learnt the only existing written source, Kantele- ja jouhikkosävelmät (Kantele and jouhikko tunes), from cover to cover by heart. I studied variations in rune and lamentation melodies, in pastoral tunes and in poetry in Kalevala metre. I scrutinised the markings describing variation in publications and Väisänen's notes extremely closely. I read folk poetry, familiarised myself with popular beliefs and the way people used to perceive time. I listened to the whistling of the wind in the forest and the whining of the mosquitoes by the forest pond.

As years went by I was able to complete a unity in which I play Karelian kantele music non-stop for over an hour. This represents my own view at some point of the process during which I put my soul into the bygone age and music.

This recording utilises the following kantele and jouhikko notations:

* Paavila Patronen, Korpiselkä: nro 87 Maanitus (Persuasion)
* Iivana Sirgo, Impilahti: nro 75 Maanitus (Persuasion)
* Iivana Brelo, Suojärvi: nro 76
* Pesa Padrone, Korpiselkä: nro 66 Ripatska (Trepak)
* Jeyssei Pyy, Korpiselkä: nro 85 Tripatska (Trepak)
* Fedha Happo, Suojärvi: nro 63 Ripatska (Trepak)
* Mikko Röpeli, Korpiselkä: nro 148 Marssin tapaista (Alla marcia)

Outi Linnaranta
Publishing year: 
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Recorded by Outi Linnaranta, mixed by Matti Kontio and Outi Linnaranta.

1. Mosquito dusk

Comp. Outi Linnaranta.

Outi Linnaranta: kantele

2. Sparkle of the dragonfly

Comp. Outi Linnaranta.

Outi Linnaranta: kantele