The annual Finnish Ethnogala was held for the third time at Helsinki’s legendary venue Tavastia Club. Live acts in the line-up included ENKEL and Helsinki-Cotonou Ensemble, among others.
At this year's Ethnogala, Music Finland again awarded the Border Breaking Act of the Year prize, which this year went to accordionist and composer Johanna Juhola. It was presented along with seven other highly coveted awards given out to leading figures in Fnnish folk and world music as well as folk dance in the course of the evening. The Border Breaking Act of the Year is awarded yearly to an act that has aroused interest in the international music field and demonstrated export-readiness. The other nominees in the category were Maija Kauhanen and Antti Paalanen.
With a career as a recording artist spanning fifteen years, Johanna Juhola charms ever growing audiences in Europe and worldwide. She tours either with her self-titled Trio, her quartet Reaktori, her tango duo with Milla Viljamaa or with her newest solo project Imaginary Friends. A truly international act, she has also built herself a highly effective (female!) team: her manager Minna-Mari Roms works closely with Johanna, while Anja Hövelmann takes care of the German-speaking market.
The award jury explained the winner:
"If you look at the career of accordionist and composer Johanna Juhola over the years, there's one definite feature that makes her stand out: it’s the bold and strong colors. Not only do her outfits and stage designs shine in brave nuances of red and blue, but also her music: it is adventurous, expressive, fairytale-like, yet smart, well-rooted and forward-thinking. Most of all, she's highly professional and a by nature international artist – bringing a unique new voice to the world. Keep up the excellent work and continue to brighten our world in strong Finnish colors!"
The jury members selecting the Border Breaking Act were Mika Kauhanen (Music journalist and panel member of the Transglobal World Music Chart, Finland), Patrik Lindgren (Editor in Chief at Lira Music Magazine, Sweden), Ros Rigby (Freelance creative producer and consultant, Co-Founder of Folkworks, UK) and Music Finland’s Export Manager Henna Salo.
Other winners at Ethnogala 2020 were:
- Artist of the Year: Juurakko
- Folk Music Creator of the Year (awarded by Finnish Music Creators): Timo Alakotila
- Dance creator of the year: Timo Saari
- Intersection Award (awarded by the Global Music Centre): Eva Jakob
- Newcomer of the Year: Vimma
- Phenomenon of the year: Verta, pornoa ja propagandaa, jumalauta!
- Special award: Duo Emilia Lajunen & Suvi Oskala's carbon-free bike tours
Live acts at Ethnogala 2020 included ENKEL, Amanda Kauranne, Compañía Kaari & Roni Martin, Aili Järvelä and Helsinki-Cotonou Ensemble. The Finnish Broadcasting Company Yle recorded and broadcasted the event on its radio and internet channel. You can stream the contents – also outside of Finland – on Yle Areena via this link.
The Ethnogala is part of a larger programme of events called “Riding the Folk Wave Together”, which includes the FolkForum seminar and the Folklandia cruise.