About Värttinä

Mari Kaasinen – vocals

Mari is an original Värttinä singer and co-founder from Rääkkylä, Karelia. Her first public performance took place at the age of 2½. During her career she’s studied classical singing, accordion and fiddle and majored in folk voice in Sibelius Academy Folk Music Department. Partly because of her own North Karelian roots and dialect, she’s always been keen on Kalevala poetry and has become the main lyricist for Värttinä. She now maintains a career simultaneous with her life in Värttinä, teaching voice and kantele in Helsinki and participating in outside projects.

Susan Aho – vocals

Playing accordion since the age of 13, she played accordion on Värttinä’s Vihma album before moving to vocals. Susan graduated from the Sibelius Academy Folk Music Department in 2008. Besides being a songwriter as well, she’s worked with the puppet theatre Sampo for over a decade. Susan is also now in the duo Kuunkuiskaajat with Johanna Hytti.

Karoliina Kantelinen – vocals

Karoliina Kantelinen is a singer and an ethnomusicologist from Helsinki who specializes in different ethnic singing styles. Her doctoral dissertation is on the old yoik tradition from Russian Karelia, formerly a Finnish territory. She currently teaches folk music at the department of musicology in the University of Helsinki. At this moment Karoliina is finishing her artistic doctoral studies at the Department of Folk Music in Sibelius-Academy.

Known for challenging the old established ideas and concepts of interpreting Viena Karelian yoiks, Karoliina uses the traditional Kalevala style as her inspiration for new contemporary folk-based compositions. With her distinctive broad-ranged voice, she is also known as a ‘lament singer’ whose unique ability spans a range of emotion from anguish to compassionate sensitivity.

Matti Kallio – accordion, keyboards

Matti Kallio is a musician from Helsinki, Finland. During his career he has been engaged in numerous projects of different musical styles. Matti’s instruments are the piano and keyboards, 2- and 5-row accordion, Irish whistles, flute and vocals.

Matti had worked with Värttinä as a substitute accordionist on previous tours. He has also worked with Finnish popular singers Hector, Vesa-Matti Loiri and Anna Eriksson. He has arranged music for a cappella groups such as Rajaton and Club for Five, UMO Jazz Orchestra and composed music for the Reykjavik City Theatre in Iceland. Matti has been taught accordion playing by Maria Kalaniemi, Jackie Daly and Mairtin O’Connor. He has also completed a master’s degree in music from the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki.