Kaustinen is a municipality of 4,300 inhabitants in Central Ostrobothnia, in Western Finland. Hundreds of people from Kaustinen and neighboring municipalities cherish the local living music and dance tradition, with the fiddle as the main instrument.
In the spring of 2020, Finland has submitted a proposal to UNESCO to add Kaustinen Fiddle Playing to the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. The nomination will be processed at the end of 2021.
There are dozens of active groups in Kaustinen: village bands, family bands, guided instrument and dance groups and choirs for children, young people and adults. In addition, people play instruments in their own homes and in spontaneously changing ensembles anytime, anywhere.
The music is based on the area’s old wedding music, but new music has always been composed as well. The most well-known amateur folk musician composers in Kaustinen region are Konsta Jylhä, Wiljami Niittykoski and Otto Hotakainen. Numerous professional musicians and bands have originated in Kaustinen and have made a name for themselves around the world, some relying more on the region’s musical heritage and some less.
You can find out more about the history and present of Kaustinen Fiddle Playing in the Finnish Wiki-inventory for Living Heritage.
The highlight of the year is the Kaustinen Folk Music Festival in July. Thousands of musicians from all over Finland and the world perform at the week-long festival. Groups from Kaustinen perform many times a day.
The tradition is kept up by individuals, groups and many heritage practitioners’ associations. The Kaustinen Youth Association, the Kaustinen Näppärit Association and the Kaustisen Folk Musicians’ Association are the member organisations of Pro Kaustinen Association which produces the Kaustinen Folk Music Festival. These and the Finnish Folk Music Institute, situated in Kaustinen, form the Intangible Cultural Heritage Working Group of Kaustinen Fiddle Playing associations which coordinates the Kaustinen Unesco-process and related measures.
Manager, Finnish Folk Music Institute
phone +358 (0)40 358 8921