Matti Palonen has been building and playing the kantele since 2013. He has made many connections in the Toronto Finnish community leading the kantele group at Agricola Church. As a TTC subway busker in Canada, he brings the sound of the kantele to the public, often bearing witness to their stories. He has studied the Finnish kantele and vocal traditions with musicians from Finland including Arja Kastinen, Maija Pokela, Outi Mantere, and Emmi Kuittinen.
Matti also plays The Tree Harp, which is a large playable installation designed to be attached to a tall tree for the duration of an event or festival. The harp is constructed of wood and metal, and stringed with steel piano wire. It is attached to a tree with heavy duty tie-down straps, which cause no damage to the tree. The harp can be used for performance, or as a focal point for memorable acoustic jam sessions. If appropriate, the harp can be connected to a portable battery powered amplifier. Matti Palonen first began designing the tree harp in 2015 while optimizing the string tension calculations for building kanteles.
Honeypaw - The treeharp sutartinė project
The treeharp sutartinė project is a collaboration between interdisciplinary artist Jurgita Žvinklytė and musician/luthier Matti Palonen. When they met in 2019, they began sharing aspects of eachother’s cultural background after discovering that Matti had previously learned a few sutartinės, and Jurgita had briefly learned to play the kanklės. They formed the band Honeypaw, and sutartinės with kanklės accompaniment became one of the defining elements of their sound. Around the same time, a video of Matti playing a treeharp began to go viral, and the positive reaction it received inspired them to work it into their band.
I want to express my deepest gratitude KIITOS to Matti Palonen, Mister Tähti, Rok Capuder, Jurgita Zvinklyte and to the Folk Camp community, who did made the magic alive.
Kiitos soitosta, laulusta, kärsivällisyydestä, ystävyydestä ja raudan voimasta.
Palonen Music webpage https://www.palonenmusic.com/
Matti Palonen and Tree Harp in Youtube and Instagram (link in the button)
A forging ritual at Folk Camp in Grafton Ontario, Aug 2019. Matti Palonen kantele playing/singing workshop participants are reciting the Origin of Iron from the Kalevala in Finnish by Dalva Lamminmäki and english by Mister Tähti. Forging ritual by blacksmith/seppä Rok Capuder.
Jurgita Zvinklyte and Matti Palonen
Estonian Music Week Celebrating Mutual Nordic Heritage with Lithuanian-Finnish Folk Duo Honeypaw
Eesti Elu newspaper/Kanadan sanomat
November 20, 2020
In this episode of the Wanderings Podcast Pedro Bonatto talks to musician and instrument maker Matti Palonen about the music of Finland, an instrument called the kantele, and Matti’s exploration of roots in the music of that country and his adventures combining elements of different traditions.