I am from Haapavesi and folk music has always been an important part of my life. I got to know the folk music tradition when very young, since my parents regularly took me to the Kaustinen Folk Music Festival. I started to play a 2-row accordion at Haapavesi Community College at the age of seven, immediately after the college established a two-row accordion circle led by master folk musician Jussi Haanpää from Oulu. When I was around ten, I started to play the 5-row accordion, first at the Community College and later in Jokilaaksojen Music Institute. I also took part in folk music courses in Haapavesi and got instruction from professional folk musicians from a very early age.
After completing comprehensive school, I continued in Kaustinen upper secondary specialising in music, with Antti Hosioja on the 2-row accordion and Raimo Vertainen on the 5-row accordion as my teachers. Raimo trained me for the Golden Accordion competition, and I took part in the competition twice. My best placing was second. The competitions were a highlight in my musical career during my upper secondary school days. After upper secondary school, I studied for a year in the music programme of the Orivesi Institute. In autumn 2002, I enrolled in Sibelius Academy’s Folk Music Department. My teachers include Anne-Mari Kivimäki and Maria Kalaniemi.
My repertoire consists of folk music from Finland, the Nordic countries and the Balkans, French musette, old dance music, etc. I have taught 2-row accordion groups at Haapavesi Community College and Ahjola Community College in Tampere. In addition I have private students in Helsinki. My bands are Stara Zagora, Polka Chicks and a duo Oskala-Niku. My most important influence derives from my teachers Jussi Haanpää, Raimo Vertainen and Maria Kalaniemi.
- Castagnari Nikk 2-row accordion
- Casotto-timangi, Lasse Pihlajamaa 5-row accordion with five sets of reeds
- Bugari Ethnos melody bass