February 7th to 13th, 2021, Kokkola Winter Festival

Event Pictures and Videos

2021Poster printable download

Sunday 07 February

17:00, Kokkola Tour: The Dark Years.

Video: Stylised "grim reaper" for death with his scythe is shown. Historical narrative to the people and some of the historic buildings. Tales from our city by the sea are the spotlight of this tour.

Learn how years of famine and plagues affected everyday life Kokkola in centuries past. The tour starts at Katariina cemetery and will be divided into two groups.
Social distancing will be observed.
Free admission

Monday 08 February

Young Virtuosos let loose with the Monday students concert

Video online, 08 February.

Tuesday 09 February

Julia Hansson (accordion, voice)
Katri Antikainen (cello)

Georg Friedrich Händel         
François Couperin                 
Edvard Grieg
Sergei Rachmaninov             
Aulis Sallinen                         
(1935-   )                                

Dignare, o domine

Les Roseaux

Solveigs song


Die Virtuose Tafelmusik von
Don Juanquijote

Julia Hansson (b. 1992 in Kokkola, Finland) is a versatile musician and music teacher. She began her music career at the age of six playing the piano, but decided to make the accordion her main instrument a year later and has stuck with that decision ever since. Throughout the years she has rarely declined any gig offers, resulting in her being involved in a selection of widely different projects, ranging from church music to rock, via jazz and folk music. Associated acts include Guardia Nueva, La Riippa Group and Kamarikuoro Näsi.

She has also participated in various theatre productions as a musician and gained experience as an instrument and music teacher at a large number of institutions. Julia has studied various forms of music pedagogy, music education and music making at different institutions in Kokkola, Jyväskylä, Gdánsk (Poland) and Tampere, her latest accordion teacher being Mika Väyrynen in TAMK. At the moment Julia is working as a music teacher in Tampere and aiming to complete her studies very soon. In addition to teaching music and playing the accordion, Julia enjoys singing, trying out new instruments and making her own music.

In this concert, Julia will be performing solo accompanying her own singing, presenting the hauntigly beautiful but equally sad Solveig’s Sang by Edvard Grieg in its original language and the tranquil Dettinger Te Deum by Georg Friedrich Händel. The ornate and ever-flowing instrumental piece Les Roseaux by François Couperin is also included as well as a few pieces together with the cello, played by Katri Antikainen.

The chamber music repertoire consists of Rachmaninov’s famous lyrical piece Vocalise Op. 34 No. 14 and a very rare gem by Aulis Sallinen from 2011, called The Virtuosic Tafelmusik of Don Juanquijote Op. 98. The latter can be described as a rather sudden and colorful journey through assorted rhythmic landscapes -- and you won’t know where it ends until it’s over!

Video: Julia Hansson performs Les Roseaux composed by Couperin

Léna François-Poulet (accordion)
Júlia Mušáková (violin)

Léna François-Poulet and Júlia Mušáková having fun in the snow with a reindeer.
Moved by her interest to basque folk music, Léna Poulet started learning chromatic accordion at the age of 6 years old under the guidance of Philippe de Ezcurra at the Conservatory of Bayonne. She has had the chance with Philippe to be introduced at a very young age to a large repertoire for accordion from contemporary music to baroque style.

After graduating from this school with great honors at the age of 18, she oriented herself towards professional studies in music at the Centro Superior de Musica del País Vasco in San Sebastian where she studied with Iñaki Alberdi, Aitor Furundarena and Miren Iñarga . She has had the opportunity during her study time there to take part in the Erasmus exchange program for one year and to move to Finland to study at the Sibelius Academy of Helsinki with Matti Rantanen.

Riched from this great experience, she decided, after completing her studies in Spain, to move back to Finland and start a master’s degree at the Sibelius Academy to study classical accordion performance with Veli Kujala.

During all those years, Léna has had the pleasure to perform as solo as well as in diverse formations in France and abroad such as in duo with guitar at the Festival de Musique classique de Jatsou in 2015, with the Ensemble baroque de Toulouse in 2017-2018, or as solo at the Musiikkitalo of Helsinki in summer 2020. Competitions have also been part of Léna’s experiences and she has been awarded from various participations at competitions in France and Spain.

Júlia Mušáková (violin)

Júlia Mušáková is a slovak violinist, currently studying at the Sibelius Academy in the studio of Tero Latvala. Her first contact with music led her, through her interest in singing followed by several awards from competitions, to the slovak folk music where she developed her improvisation skills. She was then active as primarius of the music group.

It was at the Conservatory in Žilina that she also gained experience and interest in classical music, under the guidance of Mgr. art. Katarína Bírošová. With her own responsibility and determination, she achieved several successes there. The most important of which are the solo interpretation of the violin concerto in H minor op.61 by C. Saint-Saens and the solo arrangement of The Beatles’s songs in baroque style by Peter Breiner accompanied by the orchestra of the Conservatory.

On her musical path of improvement, she worked under the very experienced teachers at various interpretation courses and additional studies: Mari Tampere-Bezrodny, Yuri Zhislin, Karol Petróczi, Jindrich Pazdera, Dalibor Karvay, Mario Hossen, Tobias Granmo, Isabelle van Keulen, Marko Ylönen or Levon Chilingirian.

Besides regular public solo and chamber concerts, she has interest and experience in orchestral music - performing with professional orchestras such as Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra in Bratislava, Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra, Capella Istropolitana, or University of Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra in Sweden. She also has extensive musical experience in television, pop concerts and film productions in Slovakia.

About the Duo

The motivation to form Duo with Léna Poulet was based on their friendship and common Erasmus studies at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki. Since that time, they have had the opportunity to grow as artists in both solo and chamber music as well as to develop their individual interests in different music styles. They are both interested in improvisations, jazz or folk music and in their free time they like to experiment with sounds and various effects on their instruments.


J.S. Bach (1685-1750)    English Suite no. 4 in F major BWV 809
        - Prelude
        - Allemande
        - Menuet 1 & 2
        - Gigue
Manuel De Falla (1876-1946)    ”Seven Spanish Folksongs”
        - Asturiana
        - Canción
Astor Piazzolla (1921-1992)    Tango Etude No. 3

Video online, 09 February at 19:00 to 20:00 Finland time.

Wednesday 10 February

Vilda Duo, Hildá Länsman (vocals) and Viivi-Maria Saarenkylä (accordion)

Video: Online performance at the Eurosonic Noorderslag festival
VILDÁ is an original blend of indigenous Sámi yoiks, grooving rhythms and improvisation - with girly charm. Inspiration has been sought from Sámi people's strong connection to nature, present-day pop as well as the Finnish folk tradition. The result is a unique dialogue that takes the listener to a fascinating journey to the Sámi land - the vast landscapes under the arctic hills and frosty winds.

VILDÁs debut album Vildaluodda - Wildprint, released in April 2019 by Bafe’s Factory, has already gained great reviews internationally and singled out as one of the best albums of 2019 by Songlines Magazine. Since, the band has toured in Canada, Spain, UK, France, Bulgaria and Scandinavia.

Viivi Maria Saarenkylä is one of the most promising young Finnish accordionists. She has been awarded in many renowned competitions such as Castelfidardo and Coupe Mondiale and in China. She has performed internationally and the many travels can be heard in her music as nuances from different music cultures around the world.

Hildá Länsman was born in a small Sámi village called Ohcejohka in the northernmost municipality of Finland. Having grown up with reindeer husbandry, handicraft (duodji) and a joik (luohti) traditions which spans several generations she connects her background with contemporary world music and academic studies. Hildá is a proud upholder of the Sámi culture and joik-tradition and also a member of Sámi fusion band Solju.

J-P Piirainen (acoustic guitar, guitele)
Venla Ilona Blom (beatboxing, vocals)
Viivi Maria Saarenkylä ( accordion)

PIIRAINEN | BLOM | COMPANY was born out of collaboration of two modern day musicians J-P Piirainen and Venla Ilona Blom who were craving for a deeper connection between folk music and folk dance. They combine acoustic guitar and beatboxing creating a totally new sound. Despite using modern sounds and contemporary playing techniques, the company’s music is deeply rooted in traditional dance music and folk dance of Finland. Now Viivi on accordion has been added to the folk music mix to add another dimension.

Wednesday’s Concert New Format

Due to illnes, a live performance of Vildá planned for Wednesday evening has been canceled. But fear not: Vildá has not left the building. The one-hour-long concert will kick-off with a speical 15-minute-long recorded performance of the group that earned it the European Culture prize in January.

After Vildá comes a live-streamed performance with the exciting Piirainen Blom Company. The trio features guitarist JP Piirainen, beatboxer and singer Venla Ilona Blom and accordionist Viivi Maria Saarenkylä, who is also a member of Vildá.

The concert will allow viewers a chance to enjoy the band’s most recent success.

”The recording was made for the Music Moves Europe Talent Awards competition 2021. It took place January 15 and Vildá was one of the winners,” says the group’s proud manager Laura Salokoski.

Vílda’s sound is a unique combination of mystical yoiking, swinging rythyms and improvisation. The duo finds Hildá Länsmans yoik in dialogue with Ms. Saarenkyläs expressive accordion, which quickly sends spirits northbound. Skorpioni, a noted collaborator with Music Finland, produced the video.

The Piirinen Blom Company Radiates

The rest of the concert comes to us live from Central Ostrobothnia Conservatory, where JP Piirainen Blom Company will take the stage.

”Our passion and desire is to take Finnish folkdance music into the 2020s,” says Mr. Piirainen.

”The energy in this music is important for us all. None of us play a traditional folk music instrument, but in our music we embark on a journey of discovery where we explore how we can express folk music a new way,” he continues.

This summer Mr. Piirainen and Blom – then a duo – released their debut album Matka, but the pandemic prevented live performances of its tracks. The invitation to perform at Winter Accordion 2021 couldn’t have come at a better time. In the meantime, the duo took on Viivi Maria Saarenkylä and became a trio.

”Our music is largely built around stories. We often tell stories before we perform that take the audience on a journey. We hope that they’ll enjoy going on these journeys with us,” Mr. Piirainen says.

”We have some traditional songs. Everything we play has its roots in old dances that are a part of Finnish culture. Vals, mazurka, schottis. So in every piece there are some familiar elements,” Mr. Piirainen continues.

Even if the show will go on without a live audience, the trio is still excited about its Kokkola performance – and at least we can still enjoy it streamed live.

”We are very happy that we can come to Kokkola for Kokkola Winter Accordion. Our music is easily enjoyed and it radiates positive energy in these times!” he says.

Video online Video starts at 30:45 mins, 10 February at 19:00 to 20:00 Finland time.

Thursday 11 February


Accordion and Winter are the year’s themes. A range of musical genres are on the program.

Fun in the Snow to Accordion Music

Look at this video of children playing in the snow, and old accordion music comes from the loudspeakers on the hill.

VideoTalviharmonikka—Thursday’s experiment was a success!

Kokkola Winter Accordion XXIII is always open to the new, and this year has really put us to the test – with positive results. Having met the complicated challenge of presenting a festival in the middle of a pandemic, we can honestly say that something new and wonderful has been born.

This year, we encouraged musicians to send their performances via video. The only rule was that winter and accordion must be represented in the recording. We left everything else up to the musician.

”The finished product consists of 13 videos. The collection is very interesting. There are solo performances, orchestras and compositions in different styles. Winter and accordion have been combined in many different ways – some played winter-themed tunes, while others recorded their performace with a wintry landscape as a backdrop – and some were even brave enough to perform outside,” says Raimo Vertainen, festival Artistic Director.

In accordion circles, the word spread quickly. This is probably why the lineup even features a contribution from Germany.

”Someone contacted me from Dresden wondering if they could take part in the festival. The answer was, of course! So we received a recording of a performance by a quartet. The other videos are from Kokkola, Lahti, Helsinki, Haapajärvi and Hämeenlinna,” he says.

Festival Artistic Director Raimo Virtainen would especially like to thank the media center Lime, who helped with the important task of compiling the recordings into a whole.

”We have also featured a short presentation before every performance. We’ve included English subtitles so that our international audiences can enjoy the performances,” adds Raimo Vertainen.

Video online, 11 February at 19:00 to 19:45 Finland time

Friday 12 February


Love and Poetry Club excites even when streamed


One of Kokkola Winter Accordion XXIII closing weekend's most captivating events is without a doubt Friday evening's Love and Poetry Club, whose Master of Ceremonies is, of course, Keke Lammassaari.

"Love and Poetry Club is where theatre, poetry and accordion meet and that means good music," says Mr. Lammassaari.

Four theatre students from Kälviä Arts have planned a solo performance especially for the evening. They've also chosen a poem that has inspired them on which to base their own text for the performance. Accordion artist Julia Hansson will serenade the show and interact with performers with a little musical improvisation.

"Julia hasn’t attended any practices. Nor has she seen the performance before. I have known her for more than 10 years and we have collaborated on many projects together. She has always been brave and good at creating soundscapes, and has tremendous talent and artistic insight. These already were her strengths more than ten years ago when she was a very young artist," says Mr. Lammassaari.

"One of the students is a dancer. She has chosen a poem that is really suited to dance," says Mr. Lammassaari, who has worked with the students during the past week.

"It's a great feeling. We have a positive and productive week behind us. The practices have gone well and it has been fantastic to watch their development," he says.

Pränttärit and Balalaituri

Lammassaari has worked with theatre students in Kälviä earlier and each time the projects get more and more impressive. During last year’s Winter Accordion Love and Poetry Club featured two students. This year there are four. Let's see what happens next year. The poetry performance with accordion improvisation will take roughly a half hour. Next comes more poems, this time courtesy of Pränttärit from Central Ostrobothnia. The one-and-a-half-hour performance ends with Duo Balalaitari, consisting of Eino Kolppanen and Jonathan Bonn.

"I'm going to perform vocals as a soloist in a couple of their tunes," says Mr. Lammassaari, adding about the writer association Präntärit:

"From the association we’ll have at least Mikko Malm and possibly also the chairman Joni Vähä-Lassila. Julia will also take part in Mikko's performance. Then will we really hear a conversation between poetry and accordion."

Maria Kalaniemi (accordion and vocals) and Eero Grundström (harmony)

Tulten Poiga, Flame Boy (Offial Music Video) from the album Mielo released 2020
Maria Kalaniemi (accordion and voice) & Eero Grundström (harmonium and modular synthesizer comp).
Take a musical journey with two musicians through their acclaimed album, Mielos (2020), where emotions occupy a powerful musical world. Maria´s powerful-yet-sensitive playing and singing and Eero´s passionate beats transport the listener through a moving musical odyssey. Mielo is an inspiring and multifaceted tale that lifts one’s inner emotional wings. Through the music, we’ll fly through the forest, over the water and into sunsets and sunrises.

Each composition has a backstory suited to every listener. The duo has performed together for more than ten years. Mielo, their last album, received positive reviews and stayed at the top of World Music Charts Europe for several months.

Starts at 30 minutes, Video online, 12 February at 19:00 to 20:00 Finland time.

Saturday 13 February

Kokkola 400 Years: The Grand Entertainment Concert of 2020 by Guardia Nueva

Musical Director: Raimo Vertainen

Vocalists: Virva Puumala, Matti Korkiala, Maria Autio and Jiri Tammilehto
Recorded in Snellman Hall at Winter Accordion 2020.
Video: Italian Song Il mio Mondo, sung by the leading
tenor from Finnish National Opera Helsinki Mika Pohjonen with Guardia Nueva.
Video: El Choclo
Video: Eyes

About Guardia Nueva

Raimo Vertainen founded the Guardia Nueva orchestra in Kokkola in 2001. Right from the start, Argentinian tango was the orchestra’s musical basis, and specifically Àstor Piazzolla’s music. Finnish tango music has also played an important part in Guardia Nueva’s programme, with performances of new arrangements of works by Toivo Kärki, Olavi Virta and Unto Mononen. Guardia Nueva’s arrangements of the best electrotango pieces (Gotan Project) and arrangements of Finnish popular music, international evergreens and custom-made tangos have created a new concept – a Guardia-like arrangement.

To create its unique style, Guardia Nueva uses arrangers who are the cream of the crop: Jaakko Kuusisto, Petri Ikkelä, Mika Paasivaara, Juha Yli-Kotila, Ilkka Kuusisto, Matti Murto, Marzi Nyman, Jarkko Riihimäki, Mikko Hassinen, Teemu Honkanen, Raimo Vertainen, Jarmo Tinkala. They have all contributed to the orchestra’s own, distinctive sound.

In the autumn of 2004, Guardia Nueva gave some hugely successful concerts in Buenos Aires in Argentina, where they performed on some of the most important tango stages. In the autumn of 2006, the orchestra toured Turkey where they performed in Istanbul, Ankara and Izmir. 2011 was an especially successful year for Guardia Nueva. In the summer, Guardia Nueva performed, for example, in Seinäjoki at the Cumbre Mundial del Tango event for the President of the Republic and at the Turku Castle Park Festival. That autumn, the Finnish national broadcasting company YLE showed two recordings of Guardia Nueva’s 10 year jubilee concert on Channel 2, plus a documentary of the orchestra.

In March of 2012, Guardia Nueva performed to a full house at the Helsinki Music Centre. It continued its concert tour in the autumn of 2012 in Lahti (Sibelius Hall), Turku (Logomo) and Tampere (Tampere Hall). In 2013, Guardia Nueva gave 13 concerts at venues such as the Helsinki Music Centre in March, the White Rose concert at the International Accordion Festival Sata-Häme Soi in June and the Jyväskylän Kesä Festival.

Berlin 2014

On the 6th of June 2014, Guardia Nueva headed for the concert halls of the Berliner Philharmonie. Once again, Guardia Nueva was making history as the first Finnish tango and popular music orchestra to perform at this venue. The Berlin concert led to the publication of the double CD “Tangokonzert im Berlin Philharmonie” and was also broadcast on the YLE Radio Suomi channel in December 2014.

Innsbruck World Music Festival 2019 and Arja Koriseva

Guardia Nueva played in Austria in World Music Festival in 2019 in Sala Dogana with singer Jennie Storbacka. Arja Koriseva is a leading finnish entertainment singer who has 30th anniversary jubileum tour with 11 concerts in main halls in Finland. This concert went to AlfaTV channel. Through years Guardia Nueva has made 7 tv concerts in YLE and Alfa channel.

All the best known artists in Finland have performed as Guardia Nueva’s soloists. The orchestra's programme also includes its annual church and Christmas concerts.

New website: www.guardianueva.fi

Guardia Nueva, discography:
Astor Piazzollan tangoja (Àstor Piazzolla’s tangos),
2002 Täysikuu (Full Moon),
2003 Häävalssi (Wedding Waltz),
2006 Tango Finlandia,
2011 Live in Concert,
2013 Tangokonzert Berlin Philharmonie, 2014


Guardia Nueva celebrates Kokkola 400 Years

Kokkola Winter Accordion takes place this year amid a global emergency. Unfortunately, this means that the popular Guardia Nueva grand performance can't take place on the last Saturday of the festival – a first in festival history. But luckily everyone can still enjoy a top-notch recording of last year's exclusive Jubilee performance for free.

"Of course, we feel terrible that we can't have a real concert this year. On the other hand, we're all in this together. No one can do anything about it. But when it comes to Guardia Nueva at least we can be happy that last year's show was a jubilee event because of Kokkola's 400th anniversary. We even made an extra effort to make a high-quality recording of it," says Raimo Vertainen, orchestra Conductor and Festival Artistic Director.

The concert was also the last large concert performed as planned before the pandemic shut down public events throughout Finland and the world.

To honor the anniversary we had four soloists (usually there are two) from different parts of the Kokkola region - Virva Puumala, Matti Korkiala, Maria Autio and Jiri Tammilehto.

"The music is surely known by everyone and is especially suited to the Kokkola people. There are melodies from Syksyn Sävel (Autumn Melody), compositions by Rexi and music with a sea theme," says Vertainen, who is already dreaming about arrangements for next year's performance.

"You can also enjoy an anniversary photo exhibition, starting the 15th of February. I urge everyone to go and see it if you haven't already," says Vertainen.

Guardia Nueva, Musical Director Raimo Vertainen

Guardia Nueva Program

Video online, 13 February at 19:00 to 20:00 Finland time.

Organising Committee

Back Row, left to right: Mr. Olli-Matti Airiola, Honorary Chairman of the Board Mr. Teuvo Lempiälä, Mr. Jarmo Nissi, Mr. Martti Eurola.
Front Row, left to right: Chairman of the Board Mr. Pertti Kuosmanen, Mrs. Harriet Jossfolk-Furu, Artistic Leader Mr. Raimo Vertainen

Main partners Co-workers Supporters
City of Kokkola
Kokkola Energy
Central Ostrobothnia Conservatory
KPK companies
Ministry of Education and Culture
OP Central Ostrobothnia
ActilifeCentria, City-Kokkola, FinnFami, KH Renlund MuseumKokkola JymyKokkola Trail, Traveling Poems, Ticket OfficeMedia Center LIMECity of Pietarsaari, Pränttärit, Finnish Accordion Association , Visit Kokkola, YTN KIP Service , Canorama Oy , Transport company Lindgren OyRosso , Hotel Kokkola , Kokkolan Laitevälitys Oy , Kokkolan Satama Oy , Sokos Hotel Kaarle , Oy Rauanheimo Ab , Adolf Lahti , Halpa-Halli Oy , Florist Maria Havia , Ab HUR Oy , Company FootPrint Harriet Jossfolk-Furu , Kokkola Travel Agency Ltd , Dahl Linjetrafik Ab , Kokko-Dent , Sightmaster , Dynamis ,Pigini Finland , Hotelli Nukkumatti , Svenska kulturfonden , Konstsamfundet .

Site constructed and hosted by: Accordions Worldwide at www.accordions.com.
© Copyright 2021 Accordions Worldwide. All rights reserved