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.
I had to travel from Finland to Canada to learn how to play Kantele. I didn't learn to play well, but we created something else. An ancient instrument, dark evening and a blacksmith, together we created a ritual that was more than music. It was ancient words, a different world experienced together. Blacksmith forged iron, we forged words and chords. Fire created light, people created power and experience. Words came a long way from history, but the story was about us and about nature.
I want to express my deepest gratitude KIITOS to Matti Palonen, Mister Tähti, Rok Capude, 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)
Photos by Carlos M. Garáte https://www.garatephotography.com/home
& Stephanie Turenko