Kantele HistoryInstrument DescriptionsHow to OrderAbout Gerry Luoma HenkelKantele Resources

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  Five-string kantele designs





  • A Guide To Five String Kantele Playing, by Heikki Laitinen and Hannu Saha. In English. Order from the Kaustinen Folk Music Center website http://www.kaustinen.fi/ktk/ or directly via email. If you do not write in Finnish, it is best to send an email - the person who responds understands English.
  • Kymmenkielisen Kanteleen Opas, by Hannu Saha. A guide to the 10-string kantele in Finnish, but charts and diagrams make it possible for use by non-Finnish readers. Order from the Kaustinen Folk Music Center website or directly via email. If you do not write in Finnish, it is best to send an email - the person who responds understands English.
  • Kanteleet Kaapeista, by Anna-Liisa Tenhunen. A guide for teachers of kantele. The book is in Finnish, but once again the diagrams and charts and repertoire of tunes makes it useable by non-Finnish readers. Order from Kerhokeskus, Mariankatu 15 A 11, 00170 Helsinki, Finland. Price is 70 finnmarks.
  • Perinteisen Suurkanteleen Opas, by Tytti-Leena Laasanen. A guide to playing the 34-string kantele. Order from the Kaustinen Folk Music Center website or directly via email. If you do not write in Finnish, it is best to send an email - the person who responds understands English.
  • Lani K. Thompson has a webpage on which she lists her English language book of instructions, and a book of chords for 5 and 10 string kanteles. Go to: www.kantelemusic.com



  • The Kantele Traditions of Finland, by Carl Rahkonen. Order from Carl Rahkonen, Dept. of Music, Indiana U. of PA, 101 Cogswell Hall, Indiana, PA, 15705-1070, USA. $25.00.
  • Memento of Finland, by Joyce Hakala. Order from Pikebone Music, 865 Lenox Avenue, St. Paul, MN, 55119, USA.


  • Viisikielisen Kanteleen Ohjelmistoa 1, edited by Hannu Saha. 70 tunes. Order from the Kaustinen Folk Music Center website or directly via email.
  • Viisikielisen Kanteleen Ohjelmistoa 2, edited by Hannu Saha. 42 tunes including many for 5 string kantele duos and trios. This book includes the tunes that are performed on the recording produced by the Finnish Folk Music Institute - Soitimella - a recording of contemporary pieces for 5 string solo, duo, and trio. Order from the Kaustinen Folk Music Center website or directly via email.
  • Viisikielisen Kanteleen Ohjelmistoa 3. Tunes by Martti Pokela edited by Sinikka Kontio. Order from the Kaustinen Folk Music Center website or directly via email.
  • Näpellysnoroja, compositions by Finnish children arranged by Sinikka Kontio. Order from Anna-Liisa Tenhunen, Pielavedentie 1331, 74630 Heinäkylä, Finland. 35 Finnmarks.





The following is a short list of recordings (i.e., not exhaustive) that either feature kanteles or includes kanteles as a part of the music. One of the best places to order recordings from is Digelius Music in Helsinki: http://www.digelius.com/order.htm. Another source is the Kaustinen Folk Music Institute in Finland, who you can email your order to at: folk.art@kaustinen.inet.fi.

• SYLVAN GREY, Two recordings of Sylan's are available: "Flowers Melting" and "Recurring Dream", Fortuna Records 170634. Order from Celestial Harmonies, P.O. Box 30122, Tucson, AZ 85751. Very meditative music composed and played by Sylvan Grey who lives in Arizona.

• DIANE JARVI, "Foreign Winds" 1992; "Revontuli", 1996; and "Flying Into Blue", 1999. Three albums of both original compositions and Finnish tunes. A few kantele pieces (5-string, 10-string and 36-string) are included. Order from: Lupine Records, P.O. Box 19274, Minneapolis, MN, 55419. Her website is at http://www.dianejarvi.com.

• SINIKKA KONTIO / MATTI KONTIO - Kantele players from the groups Pirnales and Karelia respectively: "Kantele Duo" (mostly original compositions, recorded 1995 on Octopus OCTO 405-2. An excellent recording of two of the world's best kantele players. Order from Digelius.

• MELVIN KANGAS, "Variations for Kantele on Finnish Folk Tunes". Order from M. Kangas, HCO 1, Box 103, Pelkie, MI 49958. A cassette tape by a very skillful kantele player from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

• "Kantelekipinöitä Kiurovedeltä": Charming music from a group of young kantele students in central Finland. Order from Anna-Liisa Tenhunen by writing to: Pielavedentie 1331, 74630 Heinäkylä, Finland. The price in 1997 was 35 Finnmarks.

• KARELIA: Electro/acoustic folk/jazz fusion: kantele, sax, drums, synth, bass, flutes. Musicians: Seppo Paakkunainen, Esa Kotilainen, Matti Kontio, Jukka Wasama, Eerik Siikasaari. Rarely playing together anymore, the group Karelia set the standards for contemporary interpretations of old Finnish tunes."The Sound of Birchbark Flute" (1980, Bluebird BBCD 1013); "Best of Karelia" (BBCD 5007), both CDs available from Digelius. "Eras Soitohetki" (Tano 1) is a fantastic cassette tape that features the group Karelia and a number of other top Finnish folk musicians playing kantele tunes by Vilhelmiina Halonen. Order the tape from: Matti Kontio, Jonannesbergin Koulu, 10230 Inkoo AS, Finland.

• TAITO KARULAHTI AND VOITTO ISOSAARI, "Kesäillan Kannel". Available from Taito at Vetelintie 170, 69510 Halsua, Finland.

• ARJA KASTINEN, "Iro" (60 minute improvisation, MIPUCD 401). Player of the 15-stringed kantele. It is also available now with English notes on the Finlandia label under the name Meditations. In 1999 Virpi Forsberg collaborated with Arja to record "Vita", duets featuring goat horn and 8 & 10 string kantele. Digelius says "four of the six pieces are original compositions/improvisations by the duo and the effect is very atmospheric, almost meditative." Order from Digelius.

• SINIKKA LANGELAND: Norwegian kantele player and singer. "Langt Innpa Skoga" and "Har du lyttet til elvene om natta?" feature her beautiful voice and kantele. Accompanied by great Norwegian folk and jazz players. Order from Digelius.

• LOITUMA: vocal/instrumental group with kantele: Sari Kauranen, Timo Väänänen, Anita Lehtola, Hanni-Mari Verdecia. "Things of Beauty" (NSD6010 - NorthSide) is delightful and fresh. In 199 NorthSide released a newer recording "In The Moonlight". Order from NorthSide at www.noside.com.

• NIEKKU: All-woman experimental folk group: Maria Kalaniemi, Anna-Kaisa Liedes, Liisa Matveinen, Anu Itäpelto, Leena Joutsenlahti. "Niekku" (first recording, 1987, with Arto Järvelä, OMCD 11); "Niekku 2" (1988-89 recording, with Arto Järvelä, LP & cassette only, KILP /KIC 18 65); "Niekku 3" (1988-89 recording, OMCD 27). Order from Digelius.

• PIRNALES: The original group was a four-piece, acoustic folk ensemble: kantele, accordion, melodeon, bass, fiddle, piano, mandolin, guitar, flutes, jouhikko, drum, voices. Final line-up was a hot seven-piece dance band! Sinikka Kontio, Marianne Maans, Markku Lepistö, Pekka Pentikäinen, Jouko Kyhälä, Antti Soininen, Mika Uimonen. "Pirnales" (1989, OMCD 26); "Aquas" (1992, with Martti Pokela, kantele, Hannu Saha (kantele) and Janne Lappalainen of Värttinä on sax, KICD 27). Order from Kaustinen or Digelius.

• MARTTI POKELA: The godfather of contemporary kantele. Technical and compositional brilliance. "Old & New Kantele" (1978 recording, Arc EUCD 1040); "Sonata for Kantele" (Pokela compositions with Pirnales, Ritva Koistinen and Sari Kauranen & Timo Väänänen from Loituma, Finlandia 4509-98357-2); "Snow Kantele" 1997, Finlandia Innovator series, 0630-19052-2; Martti Pokela, Sari Kauranen & Timo Väänänen from Loituma: an exceptional recording every kantele lover should have. Order from Digelius.

• MARTTI POKELA / EEVA-LEENA SARIOLA / MATTI KONTIO: Three kantele masters. "Kantele" (FACD 018); "Kanteleet" (1983, Pokela compositions and traditional material, Polarvox LJCD 1027); "The Art Of Finnish Kantele" (1996, EUCD 1342). Order from Digelius.

• MARTTI POKELA / ULLA KATAJAVUORI: "Finnish Kantele Music, Vol.2" (includes all of Old & New Kantele album plus 1950s and 60s recordings, Finlandia 500392). (Note: Finlandia titles are available worldwide at record stores, or online from Digelius.)

• MINNA RASKINEN: Minna plays 36-stringed concert kantele. Now recognized for her performances on CDs by Hector Zazou and Andrew Cronshaw. "Paljustuksia" ("Revelations", 1995 recording, OMCD 64). On "Revelations" Minna demonstrates brilliantly new ways to play kantele. Order from Digelius. You can also order directly from Olarin.

• TEPPO REPO: Ingrian born herdsman (1896-1962) and a major influence on today’s musicians. Flutes, goat horns, kantele, voice. "Paimensoittaja" (1950s recordings, KICD 7). Order from Kaustinen.

• SALAMAKANNEL: Hannu Saha (kantele, harmonica), Arto J_rvel_ (fiddle, mandolin, kantele) plus guitars, bass. "Salamakannel" (1989, OMCD 25); "Väinön Paluu" (1990, KICD 22); "Koivunrunkorakkautta" (1992 recording, produced by Andrew Cronshaw. Features: Sanna Kurki-Suonio (voice), Janne Viksten (banjo), AMFCD 2005-2). Order from Kaustinen.

• HANNU SAHA: Solo album "Mahla".

• HANNU SYRJÄLAHTI: Classical/folk kantele player. "Kantele" (1988-89 recording. Compositions by Syrjälahti, Pokela, Kontio and Nordgren with guest players Anu Itäpelto, Anna-Kaisa Liedes, Matti Kontio, BBCD 5008). Order from Digelius.

• "Soitimella, Finnish Pentatonic Music": Pentti Turpeinen, Esa Kamu and Wolfgang Lauppe perform traditional Finnish tunes on kantele, violin and double bass. Available from the performers at: Soitimella, Novalisstr.21a , 86157 Augsburg , Germany. email: wolfgang.lauppe@t-online.de.

• EINO TULIKARI: Ostrobothnian kantele player (1905-77). "Kantele" (recordings from 1956, ’57, ’75; KICD 1). A kantele master who carried on the old ways of playing. Order from Kaustinen.

• TUULENKANTAJAT: Experimental group: flutes, kantele, guitar, bass, synth, mandolin, accordion, woodwinds, harmonium, clarinet, saxes, bouzouki, trombone, vocals. "Tanssitytt tanssi" (2nd album: LP only, ZENLP 2008); "Vedenalusmusiikkia" (1991, OMCD 36); "He!" (1994, KICD 33). Order from Kaustinen.

•TIMO VÄÄNÄNEN: Well respected kantele player and member of Loituma. "Viileri (Wheels)" is his debut album featuring mostly traditional material. 1999. Finlandia Innovator Series 3984-23072-2. Digelius

• WORLD MÄNKERI ORCHESTRA: Also known as Etnopojat, this quartet is distinctive in the fact that they build their own instruments: flutes, stringed instruments, percussion instruments. Their new album "Eke!" (ETCD 003) is all instrumental and was recorded live at their own studio in 1996. Order online from www.vip.fi/primus.

• TULIKULKKU: A wild collection featuring the more experimental and improvisational side of Finnish "folksters": Tuulenkantajat, Hedningarna, Niekku, Pirnales, Martti Pokela, Pohjantahti with Wimme Saari, Me Naiset, Etnopojat, Primo. (KICD 30). Order from Kaustinen.

• 1990 KAUSTINEN FOLK FESTIVAL: Live recordings of Pirnales, Ottopasuuna, Salamakannel, Angelin Tytöt (BHCD 9130). Order from Kaustinen.

• BEST OF KANTELE: Collection of 28 pieces from the Finlandia Records kantele recordings. Features Martti Pokela, Ritva Koistinen, Matti Kontio, Eeva-Leena Pokela-Sariola and others. (0630-12722-2). Order from Digelius.

Read about the kantele and hear Timo Väänenen play kantele at http://virtual.finland.fi/finfo/english/kantele.html.

A good source for kantele recordings is www.digelius.com. Find the Nordic Gallery, then the Finnish section.

Go to www.noside.com for recordings of Loituma, a Finnish kantele/vocal group. They offer an excellent selection of progressive Scandinavian folk music recordings.

A Minneapolis based kantele teacher and player, Diane Jarvi, can be found at www.dianejarvi.com. Check out her three recordings which include some fine kantele playing.

Kasha Breau is a kantele teacher in Marlborough, Connecticut, and can be emailed at harpplayer@att.net

Merja Soria teaches kantele playing in the southern California area, and she also gives workshops throughout North America. You can email her at msoria@cox.net.

Tiffany Moon also teaches music in California. Contact her at rasputia@yahoo.com.

The North American Kantele Organization has its own web page at home.earthlink.net/~mcushing.

The Finnish Kantele Association (Kanteleliitto) can be found at http://www.kanteleliitto.sci.fi. It's all in Finnish.

World Music Tradition is an Internet based non-profit project aiming to facilitate the WWW presence of Traditional Cultures and Traditional Music in particular. It also aims to provide a channel for interaction between the specialists and the general public. Here one may find some information on appearance, construction, sounds and playing technique of several traditional musical instruments, including kanteles. There is also information about people involved in the area of traditional music. Soon they are planning to add sounds and a lot of visual material to this site. There are also many annotated links related to traditional music and musical instruments.

A variety of kantele information can be found at Timo Saarnikivi's homepage.

See the Ancient Lithuanian Kankles website for drawings of kanteles and other Baltic Psalteries.

Kantele HistoryInstrument DescriptionsHow to OrderAbout Gerry Luoma HenkelKantele Resources

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