New World and Folk Music from Finland

Get to know the most exciting new world and folk music from Finland!

The Finnish music scene is more diverse than ever, with traditional music styles and instruments shaking hands with modern soundscapes and other genres. The artists featured on the playlist range from Jaakko Laitinen & Väärä Raha's balkan grooves to Joonas Widenius Trio's flamenco jazz and Maija Kauhanen's music inspired by Finnish and Karelian traditions.

This Apple Music and Spotify based playlist is updated frequently. Scroll down fro artist info!

New Folk & World Music from Finland on Apple Music
New Folk & World Music from Finland on Spotify

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Enkel

ENKEL are a traditional music girl band from Finland made up of two melodeons, kantele, viola and four voices; four personable, unique and folky ladies with their instruments, sharing a great passion for traditional music, social folk dancing and telling stories through instrumental arrangements.

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Slack Bird

Slack Bird is a punk folk band as well as the solo vehicle for singer-songwriter Dave Klas. During their existence, Slack Bird has toured abroad with various lineups, the most active of which has been the duo version with accordionist Susanna Leppänen and Klas. Thus far, Slack Bird has released three albums Let's Start Wearing Capes (2016), Aleta Au (2018) and Hämärään (2021).

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Solju

Solju is formed by Ulla Pirttijärvi and her daughter Hildá Länsman, who combine their heritage of northern Sámi language and traditional chant, known as yoik, with a desire for new and innovative music. Their debut album Ođđa Áigodat was released in spring 2018, and the duo is joined live by Teho Majamäki and Janne Puurtinen (HIM).

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Okra Playground

Helsinki based electro-folk band Okra Playground was formed in 2010. On this musical playground the kantele and bowed lyre, both ancient folk instruments, coexist in a new, exciting symbiosis with modern instruments and soundscapes. In 2016 the group played the official showcase of WOMEX and released their debut album Turmio, which came out in Europe via Nordic Notes and received a five-star review from Songlines Magazine.

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Kardemimmit

Kardemimmit are four young women playing the ancient Finnish national instrument, kantele. Their long mutual history can be heard in their unique sound: The silvery tones of kantele flow together with mesmerising vocal harmonies. In 2004 Kardemimmit was nominated the Band of the Year by Kantele Association in 2004 and in 2005 they won the International kantele competition. Kardemimmit has been touring extensively in Europe, US and Japan. They released their fifth album "Kesäyön valo: Midnight Sun" in 2018.

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Maajo

Maajo is a sextet that brings a rare tropical breeze from the cold north. Their music carries various influences from different continents. The Berlin/London based label Queen Nanny released Maajo’s first full-length Tropic of Tulli in early 2016. 2017 saw the release of a Maajo Remixes EP with track reworks by Luke Vibert and Call Super. The band has also composed, arranged and performed a live soundtrack for the 1925 classic silent stop motion dinosaur movie “The Lost World”.

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Tuomari Nurmio & Knucklebone Oscar

Finnish rock legend Tuomari Nurmio (alias Judge Bone) joined forces with garage/blues-rocker Knucklebone Oscar for an album's worth of gospel influenced tunes. Recorded with vintage gear only, the album "Believe It or Not" – out in September 2022 – draws inspiration from artists like Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Son House, Mavis Staples and the Staples Singers.

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Päivi Hirvonen

Päivi Hirvonen is a Helsinki based musician and composer – violin, voice and bowed lyre as her instruments. During her career as professional musician she has played music from folk and popular to classical and performed both solo and with different ensembles and bands touring in Finland and abroad. Päivi’s debut solo album “Alku – The Beginning” was released on January 2018 by the German record label Nordic Notes.

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Vilma Jää

The singer, composer and multi-instrumentalist Vilma Jää mixes hundreds of years old stories with today’s electronic music. She combines the ancient instruments such as kantele and harmonium with synthetic beats. She is also known from her breakthrough role in Innocence, an international success opera by Kaija Saariaho.

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PK Keränen & Leija Lautamaja

Many were surprised when 22-Pistepirkko's PK Keränen – one of Finland's most respected rock musicians – joined together with Leija Lautamaja, a Helsinki-based artist and musician specialised in Finnish and Nordic folk music. On this project Keränen's stomp blues and piano ballads meet Lautamaja's melodeon playing.

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Kusinerna Riippa

The cousins Niko and Jessica Riippa, whose Swedish band name naturally translates to "the Riippa cousins", form the Finnish-swedish duo with roots in the village of Nedervetil on the west coast of Finland. Jessica has a degree in both music and drama and Niko is the founder and guitarist of Wentus Blues Band. The duo's debut album made new arrangements to old Swedish folksongs but also made new compositions to texts by the poet Alexander Slotte. Jessica and Niko have taken these poems and made new modern folksongs, on which their fondness to their hometown can be heard.

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Dantchev:Domain

DANTCHEV:DOMAIN portrays cinematic melodies and Bulgarian rhythms. The band, helmed by Finnish-Bulgarian singer-songwriter Anna Dantchev, journeys musically between the aesthetics of traditional Bulgarian music and jazz & blues, all provided by Dantchev’s compositions. Their debut album was awarded as folk music album of the year in 2020. The second album "The Lions We Are" is the first Finnish full-length album released in Dolby Atmos format.

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Bergå Folk Project

Bergå Folk Project is the new group formed by professional folk musicians Aili Järvelä, Iida Savolainen, Esko Grundström and Topi Korhonen. They perform the folk song arrangements by the one Luciano Berio well known in the field of classical music. The group seeks out to bring the folk songs that inspired Berio back to their roots with new, innovative arrangements. The group’s international repertoire sung in 8 languages and played with 12 different instruments presents a variety of world and folk music styles. Bergå Folk Project released their debut album in 2022.

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Maija Kauhanen

Maija Kauhanen is a composer and a versatile multi-instrumentalist inspired by rural music traditions of Finland and Karelia. She specializes in Finnish Saarijärvi kantele as well as the old and rare technique of playing kantele using a tiny wooden stick as a plectrum. Her debut solo album Raivopyörä ("Whirl of Rage") came out in March 2017 on the Nordic Notes label.

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Ilkka Arola Sound Tagine

Ilkka Arola Sound Tangine is a six-piece ensemble consisting of the top musicians of the Finnish rhythmic music scene. Their music combines a variety of genres into a blend of folk, jazz, modern beats and cinematic soundscapes.

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Vilma Talvitie

Vilma Talvitie is a singer, composer-lyricist and multi-instrumentalist who creates bridges between pop, global and folk music. In her music, Finnish folk aesthetics and acoustic instruments (piano, accordion, strings) exist in harmony with electronic beats and catchy pop melodies. Having lived in several different countries and continents – Europe, South America and Asia – the nomadic lifestyle has left a distinctive mark on Talvitie's music.

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Jaakko Laitinen & Väärä Raha

Jaakko Laitinen & Väärä Raha's music is an interesting combination of Balkan Roma grooves, Russian romances and old Finnish tango and humppa. The group, established in 2009, has won recognition and released three critically acclaimed albums, and also become very on-demand live act due to their wild live performances.

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Matti Kallio

Matti Kallio is a multi-instrumentalist, accordionist, composer and a producer based in Iceland. He has worked with number of folk and world music acts like Värttinä and among popular music with acts like Hector and Vesa-Matti Loiri. “Murder Street”, his second full-length solo album released in 2022, consists of duets for piano and accordion and is written, played, recorded as well as produced by Kallio himself.

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Hurja Halla

Inspired by Northern mythologies and nature, the Joensuu based folk music duo Hurja Halla combines folk music with experimental elements. The collaboration between multi-instrumentalist Janne Ojajärvi and cellist Liisa Haapanen has released its debut album “Riitti” in early 2022.

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Ritva Nero

Ritva Nero is a party metal folk band formed in 2017. Their music combines soprano saxophone, Finnish bagpipes and nyckelharpa with bass and drums resulting a mix of dance folk and metal tradition. Their latest album “Immortal Tradtion” released in 2022 is a collection of dances from the 1800’s infused with explosive elements of today’s metal scene.

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Haapoja & Illmari Collective

Blending rap with folk music, Haapoja & Illmari Collective takes influence from Fenno-Ugric folk tradition as well as Kalevala and Finnish hip-hop. The band consists of composer and bowed lyre player Mikko Haapoja, rapper Illmari (Ilja Lehtinen), singer Amanda Kauranne and keyboardist Lukas Kristo.

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Pelkkä Poutanen

The solo project of composer and musician Petra Poutanen plays folk music with a modern twist using techniques of Scandinavian and Finno-Ugrian folk singing as well as throat singing. Her solo debut “Pyhä Veri Vuotaa” released in 2022 takes influence from around the world and has been described as a layered entity with acrobatic vocals and a rich sounds world.

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Pauanne

Kukka Lehto (violin, keyboards), Tero Pennanen (Hammond B3, keyboards) and Janne Haavisto (drums, percussion) form Pauanne, whose music combines compositions with archived tapes. The trio draws influences from old beliefs and traditions. Their self-titled debut album was released by Nordic Notes in 2019, which was followed by the collaborative album "Barely Ann-Mari" with singer-songwriter Irina Björklund in 2020.

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Aition

Aition is a collaboration project started by producer Lasse Lingren and vocalist Aino Peltomaa and was joined by vocalist, clavicymbalum player Anna-Maaria Oramo on their second album. In their music they combine the sounds of early intsruments with ethereal ambient soundscapes. Currently Aition is working among APOHTHEGMATA, a series of album releases focusing on the texts of Apohthegmata Patrum, a collection of narratives telling about ancient residents of Egyptian desert.

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Maarika & the Frocodiles

Maarika & the Frocodiles plays music written by Maarika Autio. Their music has roots in West African tradition and it tells stories ranging from the surroundings of Sahara to cold Northern latitude and reaches the levels of funny as well as deep and personal. The Frocodiles includes Cheich Cissokho (percussion), Tuomo Kuure (double-bass), Repkat Parhat (acoustic guitar), Ossi Raippalinna (percussion, drums), Christopher Rodulfo (percussion, drums) and Kaisa Siirala (saxophone, flute and backing vocals).

Pekko Käppi

Pekko Käppi is a visionary Finnish folk music composer, ethnomusicologist, runo-song researcher, member of the groundbreaking revivalists Jouhiorkesteri and album-award-winning solo artist. His oeuvre revolutionized the standards of playing the ancient Finnish instrument jouhikko, a bowed lyre, by plugging it into an amplifier.

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Lapua-Uusi-Guinea

In Lapua-Uusi-Guinea’s music the traditions of folk music are essential, yet being blended with aesthetics of pop, jazz and world music. They have released their debut album Virittää in 2021. The band is formed by Anna Kinnunen (violin and vocals), Oona Yliperttula (violin), Jenna Hiipakka (accordion), Santeri Kaipiainen (piano and vocals), Aapo Nieminen (guitar and mandolin) and Veli-Matti Silanterä (double bass).

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Celenka

Founded in 2013, the folk trio Celenka finds their inspiration in Karelian, Slavic and Balkan musical traditions. They released their debut album in 2015. The trio is formed by Emmi Kujanpää (vocals and kantele), Eero Grundström (vocals and harmonic) and Jarkko Niemelä (vocals and trumpet) and has been complimented especially for their rich vocal harmonies.

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Utopianisti

Utopianisti is a group from Tampere, Finland led by multi-instrumentalist, composer, producer Markus Pajakkala. Utopianisti’s music explores the realms of jazz and rock with a progressive, open-minded and sometimes avant-garde touch, similar to those of Frank Zappa and Pekka Pohjola. On Utopianisti's latest album "Tango Solo" released in 2021, Pajakkala's music takes a step towards world music as he blends his classic jazz fusion sounds with tango.

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Antti Paalanen

Accordion experimentalist Antti Paalanen has created his own sound with his diatonic instrument, which he uses to weave hypnotic and minimalistic tunes that tell stories about the world of today. On his songs Paalanen screams at his accordion, kicks the floor and hits the bellows. Alongside his solo career, Antti Paalanen is a member of several folk music line-ups such as Hehkumo, Hyperborea, Laitakaupungin- orkesteri, Kiharakolmio, Trepaanit and Turkka ja Paalanen.

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Tuuletar

Tuuletar is a vocal performance group, consisting of four diverse women from Finland. The quartet takes influences from all around the world, inspired by sounds from American hip hop to South Asian folk, all while keeping their feet strongly rooted in Finnish language and musical heritage. Following the release of their debut "Tules Maas Vedes Taivaal" the group toured across the world. Tuuletar's 2nd album "Rajatila/Borderline" was released in May 2019.

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Perttula

Toni Perttula is a musical blacksmith whose open-minded experimentation with diverse musical styles and genres has forged a path towards creating his own unique musical approach and identity. PERTTULA ́s lyrical accordion playing is accompanied by the primal, rhythmic beating of hammers and anvils found in a blacksmith's workshop, inviting the listener into a new world where sounds are melted and manipulated by a musical blacksmith into a whole new form.

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Helsinki-Cotonou Ensemble

In 2012, three Finnish musicians travelled to Cotonou, Benin, discovered a shared musical language with local players and voilá: the critically acclaimed and dancefloor grooving ensemble was born. ”Weather Report meets Fela”, a reviewer from fRoots described Helsinki-Cotonou Ensemble’s debut album Beaucoup de Piment (2013), hitting the nail on the head: jazz, funk, and afrobeat are the main ingredients in the band’s ferocious groove.

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Akkajee

Consisting of Iida Savolainen (viola, vocals, stomp box) and Meriheini Luoto (nyckelharpa, vocals), Akkajee calls themselves "a band of two 'akkas' (which translates to "a head strong woman with a decisive attitude and a sharp tongue") creating string noise on the rotten roots of Finnish folk tradition". Their layered aesthetics invite you to the world of frozen lakes, haunting nightmares and the ancient mystery of giving birth. The vocal and instrumental storytelling varies from intimate to fierce seasoned with pulsating beats and floating soundscapes.

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Ilkka Heinonen Trio

Ilkka Heinonen Trio combines the ancient sounds of the Finnish jouhikko (bowed lyre) with a diverse range of contemporary influences, pushing the instrument into exciting new musical territories. Ilkka Heinonen leads from the jouhikko with echoes of old traditional melodies juxtaposed by contemporary improvisation and newly developed techniques for the instrument. Nathan Riki Thomson’s double bass provides earthy grooves and subtle textures with influences from Africa to Nordic lands, all complimented by the virtuosic percussive pallet of Mikko Hassinen on drums and electronics.

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Suistamon Sähkö

Suistamon Sähkö performs new Karelian dance music with electronics, Russian toy accordion, power of song, rap and manic moves. Crazy music scientists Anne-Mari Kivimäki and Eero Grundström create new Suistamo dance music with a Notka accordion and electronics. Add two dancing vocalists Reetta-Kaisa Iles and Tuomas Juntunen and this visual folktronica act will make you dance yourself into a trance.

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Värttinä

One of the most internationally successful acts to emerge from the contemporary Finland music scene, Värttinä revitalized the nation's folk traditions with an aggressive and modern style that eschewed not only the costumes of their ancestors but also the long-accepted cultural notion that women should sing unaccompanied.

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