Sari Kaasinen (b. 1967) was
born and grew up in Rasivaara
Village, Rääkkylä. Her
strong cultural roots, talent and determination have gained her worldwide recognition
and made her an ambassador and an innovator of Finnish folk music, a productive
musician and a charismatic performer, lecturer and teacher. Sari Kaasinen is
one of the most well-known names in Finnish folk music.
Sari's interest towards
music, and folk music in particular, grew during the 1970's at the Rasivaara
Youth Society. She became part of the Tsupukat group, which performed at local
venues and at national events around Finland. Sari began playing the kantele in 1979. She performed as the kantele soloist of folk dance group
Motora on its tour around Europe. She was
recognised as a soloist, singer and reciter in a number of events.
Sari Kaasinen has pursued a
career as a musician and performing artist. Sari served as artistic director of
Värttinä during the years 1983-1996, after which she focused on her career as a
solo artist. In 2001, Sari Kaasinen & Otawa was born, followed by Set'Akat
in 2008. She continues to be active in both bands. Sari Kaasinen is a versatile
and productive musician. Her creative work can be seen and heard in theatres,
choral repertoires and children's kantele
ensembles, among others.
Sari began teaching folk
music in 1983. For over twenty years, she has introduced folk music to hundreds
of children and adolescents, from beginners to professionals. The joy of
playing and learning are the underlying themes of Sari's instruction. The most
positive example of this include the Rääkkylä national folk music and dance
clubs from 1983-2005. In 2008, Sari Kaasinen launched national folk music camp
activities at Villa Ruusula in Rääkkylä.
Sari Kaasinen was the
artistic director of Rääkkylä's Kihaus Folk Music Festival from 1991-2005.
During this time, the Municipality
of Rääkkylä made the headlines
as a radiant folk music village. The concept of folk music from Rääkkylä was
created by local professionals and folk music lovers, as well as hundreds of
Sari graduated from Kuopio
High School of Music in 1986. She received her Master in Music from the
Department of Folk Music in Sibelius
Academy in 1994. She is
currently finalising a Doctoral degree in the Artistic programme of Sibelius Academy, under the title "Songs by a
Sari Kaasinen's artistic
and professional expertise ranges from folk music to children's music and from
entertainment to artistic research. Her music has brought joy and inspiration
to people around the world. Sari's upbeat, Karelian personality and
determination has positively influenced the cultural and mental atmosphere in
North Karelia as well as other locations in Finland.