FinnFest USA '99
4122 128th Ave. SE, Ste. 305
Bellevue, WA 98006
Telefax: 425-641-9983


Musical Diversity



Medley of musical and dance artists from Europe and North America to highlight the seventeenth annual Finnish culture and heritage festival slated for July 22-25, 1999 in Seattle.


Seattle, January 29, 1999: Come July 22-25 in Seattle, the University of Washington campus will come alive with the sounds of Finnish music at FinnFest USA '99.

Festival organizers have assembled a lineup that is sure to please a variety of musical tastes. Links to Finnish, Finnish-American, and Finnish-Canadian culture unify the festival's musical diversity. Shirley Makela, FinnFest program co-chair in charge of the performing arts, commented: "The music will be continuous, so that at no time during the three-day program will we be without at least one music or dance event."

An all-Finnish program by the Seattle Symphony conducted by Hannu Lintu with concertmaster Ilkka Talvi; Finnish tango tunes played by Petri Ikkelä's band, Bandola, and sung by Kari Piironen and Finnish Tango Queen Arja Koriseva; Timo Väänänen, Finland's foremost kantele player; the Turku Cathedral Boys' Choir; the North American debut of Pinnin Pojat, the humorous folk music duo of Arto Järvelä and Kimmo Pohjonen; classical organist Kari Vuola; Ottoset, a folk dancing and music group from Kaustinen; the Kronoby Hornkapell, a brass septet that traces its origins to 1885; and the ever-popular Finnairin Laulajat (Finnair Singers) highlight the Finnish musical talent for FinnFest USA '99.

Complementing the talent from Finland will be several artists and performing groups from North America: Al Reko and Oren Tikkanen, perennial FinnFest favorites from the Upper Mid-West; the Finnish-American Singers from Michigan; choral groups from Seattle, Portland, Oregon, and Vancouver, British Columbia; Katrilli and Tanhuajat, Seattle's very own Finnish folk dancing groups; Singing Strings, a youth group from Minnesota; Merja Soria and her Suddenly Finnish Ensemble from California; Washington State's Naselle Kantele Players; and Northwest Pelimannit, a versatile Finnish-American folk music group from Seattle.

In addition to their own performances, featured musicians and dancers will have another opportunity to perform in a variety show format. According to Makela, "Artists from each country like to watch each other perform." Therefore, one evening's Variety Show spotlights talent from Finland, while the second night boasts the sights and sounds of Finnish-American and Finnish-Canadian artists.

Performances will take place at several venues in an around the Husky Union Building (HUB) on the University of Washington campus. Outdoor stages adjacent to the HUB will take advantage of Seattle's sunny and long summer days. Other musical and dance events have been matched to unique campus facilities, all of which are either within or a short walk from the HUB. Meany Hall will host the performance by the Seattle Symphony, the tango workshop and evening dances will be in the HUB ballroom, and selected recital halls will give just the right acoustical treatment for other special performances.

Opportunities exist for other artists and groups to participate in the music and dance of FinnFest USA '99. Members of the various festival choirs will perform together as one great Festival Chorus. Singers in groups not represented at this year's FinnFest are encouraged to participate by attending the rehearsal of the Festival Chorus.

Makela continues to scout for performers from the Pacific Northwest to share the best of their repertoires. "Open-air stages outside the HUB will provide opportunities for local folks to showcase their talent," Makela adds. If interested in participating, send information about your talent to

FinnFest USA '99 will offer special workshops featuring the kantele, Finnish tango, and folk dancing. The workshops include all levels of instruction offered by leading artists from Finland and North America.

If these opportunities to share your musical and dance talent did not apply, you still have other chances to perform. There will be a Tango Night, tango and folk-dancing contests, evening public dances at the HUB, an evening disco cruise on Lake Washington, and, of course, sing alongs.

FinnFests mean different things to different people. If organizers of the seventeenth annual festival have it their way, music and dance will be foremost among the fond recollections of FinnFest USA '99.

FinnFest USA '99 program and registration information can be found at   Send inquiries and requests for addition to the mailing list to:

Phone: 425-641-9983
Mailing address: 4122 128th Ave. SE, Suite 305, Bellevue, WA 98006


FinnFest USA '99
4122 – 128th Ave. SE, Suite 305, Bellevue, WA 98006
Phone: (425) 401-7100   Fax: (425) 641-9983

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