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FMQ Playlist: Finland-Swedish folk music

by Désirée Saarela

Swedish native speakers constitute Finland’s culturally most significant minority. Much of Finland’s music has Finland-Swedish roots, the best-known case in point being Jean Sibelius. The strength of these roots can be heard in Finland-Swedish folk music, with its minuets, ballads and regional specialties – a tradition very different from that of Finnish-speaking Finns.

This playlist is compiled by Finland-Swedish folksinger-songwriter Désirée Saarela.

Maria Kalaniemi & Eero Grundström: Svalan

Maria Kalaniemi, one of Finland’s best-known folk musicians, is increasingly exploring her Finland-Swedish heritage. Svalan is a powerful disc full of handsome, emotional performances and wonderful traditional songs in Swedish.

Jepokryddona: Ein tridi

At the heart of the Finland-Swedish fiddler tradition in Jepua we find a group of women led by Christine Julin-Häggman, performing traditional pieces from Jepua with their own peculiar brand of super-strength.

Marianne Maans & Lauri Antila: Duets

A duo album laden with trad, new tunes, lullabies and ballads in dialect – rare and wonderful. A lovely combination of violin, voice and double bass!


A wealth of Finland-Swedish songs and tunes performed in true fiddler spirit by the excellent Rosenfink trio.

Valter Enlund & Torsten Pärus: Bröllopsspelmännen

Valter Enlund and Torsten Pärus, master fiddlers of yesteryear, played together exceedingly well on their violins, and their music-making captures the local dialect and style of Lappväärtti. This compilation of archival recordings was originally released a long time ago but has now been digitally re-released.

Kenneth Nordman & Mats Granfors: I Fäälan - Nya spelmanslåtar från Sydösterbotten

A great fiddler duo from Suupohja re-imagining traditional music, warts and all.

Kusinerna Riippa: Vedil

New music in a folk music spirit, setting early 20th-century texts. Guitarist Niko Riippa combines blues with traditional music with a simple and original touch.

Désirée Saarela & Triskel: Brandliljor och Eldsjälar

I put together a disc of true stories by Finland-Swedish women, exploring Finland’s history from a women’s point of view and from a minority perspective. The songs are mine, but the but the stories and this album are theirs.

The Hobs: E ni me?

Young energy and a new generation of Finland-Swedish folk musicians.

Translation: Jaakko Mäntyjärvi