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Finnish folk group Kardemimmit comes to Eau Claire

| Shari Lau

This year Eau Claire has hosted rock, country, bluegrass and indie musicians, but a whole new sound comes to town Sept. 17-18 with award-winning Finnish folk music group Kardemimmit.  

Kardemimmit is composed of four singers and players of the kantele — the national instrument of Finland — in its 15- and 38- stringed forms.  

The group will hold two events on the UW-Eau Claire campus: a kantele demonstration-lecture at 4 p.m. Sept.  17 in Room 1704 of Centennial Hall , followed by a concert at 7 p.m. in Phillips Recital Hall of the Haas Fine Arts Center. Both events, which are sponsored by UW-Eau Claire's Council on Internationalization and Global Engagement, are free and open to the public.  

On Sept. 18, Kardemimmit also will hold two community performances: a concert at 10 a.m. at Eleva-Strum High School and a 7 p.m. concert at Acoustic Café in Eau Claire.

"Eleva-Strum's Central High School is thankful for the partnership with UW-Eau Claire and the special opportunity to have Kardemimmit perform for our school and community," said Meg Nord, Eleva-Strum School District librarian. "It is also a fantastic compliment to the Scandinavian arts course we offer in our high school."  

The group's repertoire consists of modern folk music mostly composed by the members. Kardemimmit has four albums including Auto Huivila Kardemimmit, which won the Finnish Music's Association's Best Folk Music Album of the Year award in 2012.  

"One of the things that is so great about Kardemimmit is that they play the kantele, a traditional instrument with a long history in Finnish identity and culture," said Dr. Paul Kaldjian, chair of the Council for Internationalization and Global Engagement and of the geography and anthropology department at UW-Eau Claire. "The kantele — in the same family as a dulcimer or zither — is so valued that one can major in it at the world-renowned Sibelius Music Academy and other music academies in Finland." 

Finland has a strong musical tradition, one that has place for all kinds of music, from classical, to folk, to metal, Kaldjian said. 

"If people take away an enhanced appreciation for music, how the new and traditional can complement each other, and can connect music to its wider geographic context and human experience, we have accomplished something worthwhile," he said. "As we develop our global engagement, we want the partnership and support of the Chippewa Valley community. I hope that many students, university employees and community members will be able to experience Kardemimmit as we expand the geography of Eau Claire's musical repertoire." 

For more information, contact the Council for Internationalization and Global Engagement at cige@uwec.edu.