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Sari Kaasinen > Life Story

Life Story

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 volunteers.

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 Karelian woman".

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.