Accepted Paper:

The new wave Kalevalaic rune singing In Finland: an ancient cultural heritage from the past?  


Heidi Henriikka Mäkelä (University of Helsinki)

Paper short abstract:

In my paper I examine the language and the expressions that are used in the media to describe the status and character of the new rune singing. Is the genre seen as a stagnant message from the ancient past? Or is it described as a part of a living circulation of the rune singing tradition?

Paper long abstract:

The kalevalaic rune singing - and especially written and textualized folk poems - has had a great symbolic value and a status of a cultural heritage in the Finnish national romantic discourse for over hundred years. The status and the established role in the literal culture have remained until these days.

During the last twenty years the sung poem has been re-vitalized and it has ended up in concert halls, stages and jam sessions; it has become a visible part of the professional Finnish new wave folk music field. The music made within this genre is often a mixture of traditional elements, avantgardistic improvisation and popular and world music fusion. The new rune singers keep also to these paths: some musicians follow the popular music oriented style, some seek new, unique sounds, and some want to find a tradition-based, "archaic" way to understand "the long-lasting aesthetic of the rune songs".

In my paper I examine how this phenomena has been treated in the Finnish media during the last ten years. What kind of language is used to describe the new kalevalaic rune singing? I study the theme especially from the perspectives of mobility, transformation and continuity. Is the phenomena seen as a part of a living rune singing tradition or is it regarded as a stagnant, ancient message from the past?

Panel P38
Cultural heritage, status and mobility