Students in field

Get to know Jouhikko – the instrument people hate to love – at Juhannus

June 12, 2018

There’ll be plenty of Finnish American Folk School offerings at Juhannus this year. In addition to welcoming the Finnish band Jepokryddona, Hancock resident and stringed instrument builder Alice Margerum will lead a workshop in the construction of the Finnish instrument jouhikko.

On June 22-23 (the class will take place over two days, and attendance both days is required), Margerum will instruct a maximum of 12 students on assembling the ancient Finnish lyre known for its droning sound, including making and attaching the horsehair strings typically included on a traditional instrument. Whereas Jepokryddona represents western Finnish music tradition, the jouhikko hails from the east regions known as Karelia.

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Once students have assembled their jouhikkos, they’ll have an opportunity to learn to play them, taught by Clare Zuraw, a Copper Country resident who’s a veteran music instructor. Clare, like many other area musicians, has been swept up in the recent resurgence of interest in the jouhikko, so much so that she and Alice have formed a jouhikko ensemble, aptly named Jouhikombo. Zuraw’s workshop, which will take place in Toivola from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m., is open not only to the folks from the building class, but also those who’ve caught the wave of jouhikko and want to further develop their skills.

Registration for the jouhikko building workshop is $135 per person (which includes all materials except the bow) and includes a seat in the jouhikko playing workshop. Those interested in only the playing workshop will pay $10 per individual. To sign up for these classes, call (906) 487-7549.

Juhannus is an annual celebration at Finlandia University’s Finnish American Heritage Center, incorporating Finnish American Folk School (FAFS) workshops into a festival atmosphere. The FAFS, which is made possible by a grant from the Margaret A. Cargill Foundation, is designed to provide instruction in Finnish folk arts, with a goal of creating a new generation of tradition bearers in Michigan’s Copper Country and beyond.

For more information about this festival, visit finlandia.edu/juhannus, or call (906) 487-7302.

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